Michael Hyatt wisely pointed out in his recent podcast of This Is Your Life that one of the keys to successfully blogging is simply keeping on when others quit. Not flashy, but effective. After a weekend saturated in WordPress HTML, I am convinced it must be true.
I spoke the other day to a group of 14-16 year-olds at Cornerstone Christian Academy on Walking by Faith in School. We explored the Biblical claim that Abraham was waiting eagerly for God’s promises (Heb. 6). I referenced it in an earlier post about Abraham, but made the point with these teens:
You are almost there.
Almost driving. Almost done with childhood. Almost off to college. Almost ready to find Mr. or Mrs. Right. Yet the most critical thing they can do in their eager state is to patiently wait. To be candid, most teens – ourselves included back in the day – don’t do that great a job of waiting in those years. They often pay for that lack of patience for the rest of their lives.
But are the rest of us any different? Sure it is more obvious that teenagers are nearing the top of a pretty significant hill. They’re eagerly racing to the top of a challenge that is easily measured in predictable years. When they reach the top of that hill, what will they find? The Next hill. A little bigger than the one they just climbed to be sure. But a hill nonetheless. College? Career? Then what? Next hill. Marriage? Next hill. Children? Career goals? Hill 23. Dreams? And so it goes.
Here’s the secret I shared with these teens who are almost there:
You will always be almost there.
Even though I’m a few decades ahead of them on the journey, I find myself often eagerly waiting to reach the top of the hill before me. So what can we do to avoid the inevitable temptation to become frustrated? Or to quit? A few simple thoughts:
1. Embrace the process. John Maxwell calls it the Law of Process. Growth simply takes time. Complaining about having to plod uphill at times doesn’t change the fact that the only way up the hill is – well, up the hill. If we think the process is a good and necessary thing, it will be. If not, it can frustrate us. As a man thinks….
2. Recognize where you are in the process. Take the time to identify what hill you are presently climbing. What do you need to patiently endure to complete this phase of the journey? Where have you not been exercising the courage to patiently forge forward or prepare for the next phase of the journey? Or have you been lounging under a shady elm complaining to your fellow travelers about the quality of the benches along the trail. In the words of the typical teen: well, duh. You weren’t supposed to be living on them.
3. Commit to continuous course corrections. Steven Covey gives the classic illustration of the airplane that is almost always off-course at any given moment. The pilot needs to continuously correct course or the plane will never reach its destination. We must do the same. Every day. Every week. Every month. Nothing like wandering around the side of the hill in the dark to frustrate us all. Take the time to get your bearings. Ask for help from others who have climbed your hill before.
Above all, keep on keeping on. You’ll find a lot of loafers in the valleys between the hills. It takes no effort to stay there, provided you’re willing to trade your soul.
We’re all waiting for something. Always. Are you Ok with that? Are you willing to eagerly wait?