We live in a society of instant gratification. Twenty-four hour news. Microwave ovens. Instant messages. Smart phones. Email. Wireless transmission of everything from money to books. If you want it now, there's a pretty good chance that, somehow, you can have it.
Our kids especially, I think, expect things to happen right away. They're not used to waiting for much of anything. And, to be honest, I'm finding myself becoming more and more this way. I get impatient as I'm waiting for the traffic light to change. I twiddle my thumbs when I sit in a restaurant and wait for the waitress to bring me my food. I check my watch as I anticipate my microwave popcorn. And I get frustrated when my writing and/or editing doesn't flow quickly out my fingers.
But there is great value in taking the time to do something thoroughly. I spent much of this month trying to improve the 30,000 words of a novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo last year. It took me 30 days to write those words (not QUITE instant gratification, but closer than I usually am!). As of today, I've made it through about 7,000 of those words, in basically the same amount of time.
I'll be honest. I've gotten pretty frustrated a couple times with how slow this process is. I have A LOT of work to do to make this manuscript shine. And in this world of instant gratification, maybe I wish I could snap my fingers and make all the fixes I'd need to make it a bestseller (or at least get the attention of an agent).
But if I did, I wouldn't learn. It wouldn't be my journey - my book. That's the problem with instant gratification. We may get what we want - but not necessarily the knowledge we need for improvement - to do better the next time. For when we don't want to put the effort into making something right, we're being lazy - and settling for second best.
There is great value in working hard, taking it slow, and struggling for the things we get. Not that I'm planning to give up my computer and write my novel on a stone tablet or go back to drawing my water from the local river - but I do know that ease isn't always easy in the long run, and instant gratification can just as easily be instant disappointment. And the Lord's timing is always best (and rarely is it "right this moment!").
Do you consider yourself a patient person? How do you, in this modern world of fast food, instant messaging, and constant connectivity, slow down and wait on God's timing? Are you often tempted to take the easy way out, even if you know it's not best - or worse is against His will?
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Traveling Rough Roads With God's Strength