Honestly, it has been a life-long battle of mine to stay focused on the process opposed to the progress of life! The truth is, I am an executer by nature so I’m always aiming to accomplish good results in any given situation. It is pretty much the exact opposite of a procrastinator. And where that can be a positive virtue, where people know they can rely on me to complete my work and do it with excellence, it has its downfalls, too. The negative side of being the perfect soldier is that it’s caused me to put results above relationships more often than I would like to admit.
Interestingly enough, the Lord brought me from “hurry up and wait” to “abide”. From early on, when a teacher would give assignments informing us we had three weeks to complete it, I would have it done that very same day! My concern was that more projects would always arise later, and so rather than wait until they pile up, why not knock this one out now?
Unfortunately, because I rushed to finish tasks with the goal of… well, finishing the task, I cut myself short of valuable, organic creativity! And creative people take time to brainstorm and revise and review and well… create! Funny enough, I believe I married the most creative person I know, so change of perspective was prevalent in our union on both sides! Undeniably, God has used my marriage to teach me to appreciate, and even come to admire, how my husband operates. Miraculously, as if Martha was turning into Mary herself, I too have been learning how to slow down, smell the roses and “choose what is best”. I mean, inevitably things will get done, even if they don’t get knocked out in my time! It’s called abiding over activity!
Pridefully, I used to believe that my way was the best way because, after all, I got things done instead of just talking about getting things done. But with that mindset I missed so much in the form of time spent with people contrary to merely doing things for people! I came to realize that just as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ desires our hearts and not our servitude alone, it’s the same with people who are made in our Father’s image and likeness. At our core, each of us want to know genuine, real love. This must come from God first and then each other. Hence, His command “Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself.” Alright, so you may have guessed that my love language is “acts of service”- (big surprise!) But if people do things for me with a cold, callous attitude void of love, the purpose is meaningless. Over the years, with the Spirit’s help, this epiphany has changed my entire trajectory of how I serve others! Caring for one’s heart- be it our spouse, children, friend or neighbor, must proceed and accompany fulfilling the physical demands of the day. To quote author Steven Furtick from his “Sun Stand Still” book: “THE PROCESS IS THE POINT!”
Admittedly, where it may be ingrained into the deepest fibers of my being to continue on as an laborer for the Kingdom, there is no doubt He has grown me in my appreciation of how God made each of us different with unique gifts & graces. Romans 12:3 says “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” And 1 Corinthians 12:12 “There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body.”
So, whether you’re a starter or a finisher; a postponer or proactive, leave no regrets. Sometimes that will look like waiting on a child to finish talking when we’d rather run off to tackle tasks. Or it may be that when our husbands return home from work, we ask them how their day went while attentively looking them in the eyes instead of rushing off to the next “to do” list item. Truthfully, I am writing to myself here when I say: focus on the process not the progress because relationships trump results every time.