Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

 It was a Monday morning (Mondays. I know.) and I was feeling particularly unsteady, dashing around trying to catch up on things that had fallen behind.  Megan had wet her bed. There were party trays to put away two weeks after the party.  Mount laundry towered high yet again, despite my efforts to keep up.  Several reminders later, Adam continued forgetting his manners at the breakfast table.  While schooling the kids (late start, no less) Luke wrote backwards Ps, an old habit popping in like an unwelcome guest.  Yes, it was just one of those days.  So, I did what I often do in response to those days; I tried to fix it. In a tornado of manic energy, swirling round and round I tried to the fix the Ps, fix the manners, fix the bedding, the party platters, mount laundry...fix, fix, fix. Trying to make all clean and tidy, as if long-term projects could be fixed in mere minutes, and Rome could be built in a day.  But a tornado leaves just one thing in its wake--utter destruction.  I felt it in my heart and worse yet, could see it reflected in the eyes of the kids: I had failed.  Instead of restoring peace and order, my whirlwind of "fixing" had left me completely spent and a tree bearing no fruit.

Sitting down, wallowing in my own defeat,  I then remembered the prayer I had read earlier that morning:

Divine Teacher, I can be rather picky sometimes, setting up the circumstances and paramenters within which I think you must work.  I can be so self-obsessed, seeing myself as central to all, ignoring what you are doing, slowly and patiently, in this world of human hearts and lives.  The fruits of your spirit are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Today I will live these in gratitude.  Help me be patient with myself and with others when we seem to bear no fruit.  I trust that you are with us and know how to bring about growth in each one.  Amen.  --Ordinary Grace

This.  This is what I had been doing all morning--ignoring God, relying on myself to try and DoItAllRightThisMoment, sprinting like a flailing fool toward the proverbial finish line. Like the classic story The Tortoise and the Hare, I had read to the kids a few weeks back.  The tale that leaves me feeling like a big fat hypocrite, knowing full well that I'm that hare.  But God cares nothing for the fruitless business of hustle and bustle, of hurry and worry and lack of endurance. In His infinite wisdom, He moves slowly, patiently, steadily plodding along in our hearts, working in mysterious ways Ever-present, never failing, God is the tortoise walking inside each of us.

And when I feel like that barren tree, picked clean with leaves all shriveled brown on the ground, I know that He is there, working within me, teaching in slow and steady whispers.

 Slow and steady wins the race.

Though I cannot see the finish line, nor when and how the race will end, I can rest in the knowledge that He is here, beating out a path of growth within.  Revealing in bits and pieces His wisdom, alleviating the need to sprint and scurry and spin.  We can rest in Him.  And on the days I feel all wrong, like a backwards P in child's scrawl,  I know that slowly, steadily, He is growing me.  Though the growth is often too slow to see, that Wise Tortoise goes right on walking, performing micro-miracles, day by day, within each of us. It's all just a matter of trust, my word for 2013.

I trust that you are with us, and know how to bring about growth in each one. Amen.

So maybe there's hope for this harried hare, after all?  I continue to trust He will keep on plodding along in my heart, encouraging me to, one day, reach victory.

 I am confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Phil. 1:6 

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Imperfect Prose


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