We live in a culture of microwaved food, vitamin supplements, and exercise programs promising to burn our fat faster.
You want to grow your hair faster? There’s a shampoo for that.
Now that my son is a toddler, he loves to run as fast as he can (not usually paying attention to obstacles obstructing his path).
Why would we want to do anything slowly if we can get a similar result faster?
Growing up, I measured my nine-month schoolyears by twice a year report cards.
I went on short-term mission trips.
When I got pregnant with Isaiah, we waited the designated nine months to meet him, and then he was here.
There was no putting him back where he came from.
There would be no days off unless they were carefully arranged.
For the first months of his life, he would even receive all his sustenance from me.
No Test to Ace
I realized that in motherhood there were no periodic evaluations, final exams, or times specifically devoted to reflecting on my performance.
It was just . . . doing life.
No one was telling me if I did a bad job.
When we felt the Lord redirecting us from the goal of moving overseas (you can read more here), I spent time questioning my purpose.
What if I couldn’t see how God was choosing to use me?
What if He didn’t choose to use me at all?
My mentor Natalie reminded me that “Being used by God is a byproduct of my relationship with Him.”
God wants my heart.
If I use my performance or relationships with others to make me feel significant, I will always be disappointed in the end.
If my contentment in Jesus is based on how I can or cannot see Him using me, it will be easy to fall into the comparison trap (you can read more here).
Mothering Like Jesus
At the height of Jesus’ ministry, He often went to quiet places to be alone with His Father. He blessed children when He could have spent the time healing more people and seeing immediate results. (Mark 10:13-16)
Do I want my son to see a mom who is obsessed with evaluating performance?
What might he conclude about my love for him if that’s my highest concern?
Melissa Kruger, in her excellent biblestudy on Walking With God in the Season of Motherhood, wrote that our “hope is to have God impact our own lives in such a way that His imprint on our hearts makes a lasting impression on our children…. If we want peaceful, hopeful, kind, and compassionate children, it is essential that we grow in these graces ourselves. In the beauty of God’s design, He is in the process of parenting us as we parent our children.”
A Patient God
If we look at God’s plan of redemption, we are reminded again and again of His patience.
He is not in a hurry.
If He were, He wouldn’t have made Sarah barren for so many years.
He wouldn’t have put up with the Israelites flailing around in their sin and choosing to remember Him only when they were in trouble.
He wouldn’t have preserved a remnant when conquerors came, one after the other.
He wouldn’t have come to earth as a baby and then entrusted the message of the gospel to a small group of disciples.
If God were in a hurry, I’m pretty sure none of us would have had the chance to be born.
God wants us to abide in Him as grapes on His vine Jesus (John 15). He wants us to enjoy Him, ready to be squeezed into a precious bottle of wine when the time is right–so that if visible results do come, our first response won’t be to feel good about ourselves.
It will be to worship Him.
Here are seven snippets of truth my mentor Natalie shared with me for when I struggle to see results.
1. Submit your time table to God.
2. Remember that only Jesus brings true satisfaction.
3. Rejoice that His burden is light. (Matthew 11:30)
4. Realize that you don’t need to have all the answers at once. (He’s got it under control.)
5. Recognize that God’s kingdom almost always looks different from the world’s view of success.
6. Invite Him into every part of your life (even the boring diaper changes and laundry).
7. Ask God to help you rejoice in the beautiful works that are being done by others.
Will you ask Jesus to help you enjoy Him today?