Here’s a shock: I’m impatient. I want what I want when I want it, on my time table. I hear myself telling my kids that waiting is part of life, and I know it is both intellectually and experientially, but sometimes I catch myself thinking ahead to what I’m looking forward to, that I don’t see what’s right in front of me.
This is especially true with my kids. At ages 3, 5, and 8, it’s not uncommon for me to think ahead to how much “easier” or “more fun” life will be when they’re older. Looking forward to milestones with them isn’t a bad thing, but dwelling on the future instead of being content where I am is the problem.
We grow with our kids
I’m not ready to be the mom of a 16-year-old. As my kids learn and grow, I learn and grow.
The thought of being the mom of an 8-year-old intimidated me before we had kids. I felt like I wouldn’t know how to help older kids navigate through their lives or how to prepare them to be out on their own in the world. But as we slowly put one foot in front of the other each day, I became more prepared. So now, while I may not always know exactly how to answer every question my 8-year-old asks, I’m not intimidated by it anymore.
What’s my point?
God is using your experiences now to prepare you for what’s coming up later.
I liked how Pastor Paul Sheppard explained it in his sermon, Lessons from the Pasture Part 3. He pointed out that what you do now, God will use later, and you get there through the process of obedience to God. God’s not in a hurry.
Looking to Jesus’ example
As an example, Pastor Paul referred to Jesus’ life. By the age of 12 he knew his purpose. In Luke 2:41-52 we read about Jesus’ parents accidentally leaving him behind in Jerusalem after Passover. When they find him, he’s in the temple, amazing the teachers with his understanding. He asks them, “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
Clearly Jesus already knew who he was. He knew his purpose. And he waited another 18 years to start his ministry. I like how Pastor Paul put it: “He spent 30 years preparing for a 3-year ministry.” I wonder how God used those years to shape Jesus into who he was–how the decades of carpentry prepared him for his ministry. I’m sure it wasn’t wasted time.
This time isn’t wasted
In the same way, our time now isn’t wasted. The day-to-day of life now is preparing us for the future God has planned for us.
Is this something you struggle with too? I drift back and forth between embracing my kids climbing all over me and feeling like I need space. I know they won’t always fight over who gets to sit on my lap, so in those moments of exhaustion, I pray God will give me the frame of mind to enjoy it and soak it all up, instead of being in a hurry to get to the next thing.