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Living intentionally

I’m not in a hurry

i'm-not-in-a-hurry

When I think about patience, I think of the process of making bread. From start to finish, it’s a method that requires a lot of waiting around and restraint.  

It starts with the awakening of the yeast. The warm water and sugar solution that gently coaxes the yeast to life. The bubbles that form on the surface signify a readiness to begin the work of being made into something beautiful.  

Flour and salt are added and gently incorporated into the smooth mixture. The dough is clingy and remains in clumps, unwilling to let go and be its own entity.  

But left in the warmth of the hot water cupboard the magic begins to happen. The yeast works its way throughout the sticky dough and pockets of air transform the mixture slowly. The dough rises and rises until it grazes its’ tea-towel ceiling.  

You take it out and gently begin to knead it with your palms, fingers, knuckles. The dough is fragile so you must treat it lightly. You pull and stretch and caress the dough.

This work is messy. Your hands are caked in flour. And flour hits the floor, the bench, the ceiling and clumps under your fingernails.

But you lovingly pour yourself into the process. You see the progress and you feel the gratification.

You know that your patience will be rewarded.


 

This week I decided to make my own bread. Because there is something wholesome and sweet about homemade bread which is lacking in the commercial kind. I think it’s the connection to the past, our heritage, a time where life was slower and simpler.

The smell alone is familiar and comforting, like being swept up into your mother’s warm embrace.

 

But bread, like humans is very needy.

 

It requires much time and effort. Rest and working before it becomes something great.

 

I hate waiting.

 

I want answers now. I want recognition now. I want the reward now.

 

And our culture feeds that insatiable appetite for immediacy. We have created machines that do our hard work for us. We’ve manufactured food that can be consumed instantly. We’ve got devices that distract us so that even in the waiting, we never have to be silent.

Our world is undeniably impatient and if the cap fits we wear it too.


 

But I don’t think we were designed for instant gratification. I think we are part of this bigger narrative of patience, eager anticipation and hopeful expectancy. We were called to wait.

 

The seeds are waiting for the gentle rain of springtime. The bears are waiting for the thawing of the winter snow. The birds are waiting for daybreak and the world is waiting for a Saviour.

 

Waiting is a natural rhythm on this earth, however much we fight it, it will always be so.

 

waiting, faith, trusting God, hope, promises, truth, waiting on God, not in a hurry

 

God has been teaching me a great deal about waiting.

I’m driven, passionate and focused. I see a goal and I work until I accomplish it. In fact, I’m very proud of my ability to power through a to-do list. I hate to sit idle when I could be making something, anything better.  

 

And not only that, I need to accomplish it all now.

 

I expect to be best friends as soon as we meet. I want to master a recipe on my first attempt. I think I should have my life figured out at twenty one.

 

I fall into this trap of exhaustive productivity constantly.

 

Because waiting is painful. It’s boring, empty, dark and unknown. Sitting still just causes me to fidget.


 

But there is something beautiful about taking things slowly. This is a truth that feels especially relevant when it comes to cooking. There is a depth of flavour, an earnestness of texture, that can only be achieved when you take the time to labour over the food you are preparing.

 

Sure, you can open a jar of pre-made pasta sauce and it will complement your spaghetti and meatballs just fine but real foodies understand the pure, unadulterated joy of making your own sauce from scratch.

 

The flavours are built layer upon layer and the result is something quite spectacular. 

 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that marinated steak is more tender, day old cheesecake tastes better and homemade bread is simply divine.

 

When we have the patience to devote ourselves to the process, the reward is great.

 


This is the heart of living intentionally. It’s being aware of our surroundings, it’s appreciating the goodness and resting in the stillness.

 

We have to slowly build trust with people as we have conversation after conversation. We have to practice our skills before we will master a complicated recipe. We have to learn from life as we journey through it, rather than knowing it all before we set out.

 

In the waiting we are refined, transformed and restored. Much like the dough in the hot water cupboard, as we rest, we rise. 

As I’ve been thinking about waiting I was reminded of 1 Corinthians and that familiar verse which speaks of love. Funnily enough, love’s first characteristic is patience.

 

Love is being present. Love is showing up again and again. Love is waiting.

 


Our world is scared of waiting because in this quiet place, all of our deepest fears are revealed. Our need for control, our desire for approval, our fear of rejection.

The lingering dread that bubbles away beneath the surface is exposed and we are forced to deal with it.

 

However, I take comfort in knowing that we don’t wait in darkness. 

We have this hope that everything we have been promised will come to fruition.

 

If I trust, believe and keep tracking onwards, life will unfold. The sun will rise, the snow will melt, the leaves will turn green to gold.

 

Our purpose is not to strive ahead and reach some pre-determined destination. If we are constantly in a hurry, we will miss out on the very best bits of life.

 

The beauty of life lies in that stretch between what was and what is to come. The challenge we face is making peace with the waiting. To find hope, courage and our true selves here.

 

“Everything is interim. Everything is a path or a preparation for the next thing, and we never know what the next thing is. Life is like that, of course, twisty and surprising. But life with God is like that exponentially.” – Shauna Niequist

Resources:

Books: The In-between by Jeff Goins, Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13, Isaiah 40:31 

Songs: Not in a hurry by Will Reagan

 

There is enough

there is enough. God's grace is sufficient for us, abundance, life in fullness, goodness, grace, mercy, forgiveness

It’s the best time of the day.  

Where stillness and dew on the grass have yet to be broken.  

Where the light is soft and floats in  

This moment, this space, is all mine.  

And I inhale it selfishly.  

 

Because soon the world will wake up.  

The lights will turn on, the cars will rev their engines.  

The tranquility will be broken.  

My worries will weigh down on me.

 

But for now I savour this moment.

This moment gives me room to breathe.

Rest for a weary soul and hope for a heavy heart.

In the stillness I find peace.

In the quiet I find my strength.    


Most mornings I jolt awake as my alarm blares loudly from across the room. I fumble around to find my glasses case and the light switch and then I stumble to my feet. I go through the motions of getting dressed, making breakfast, pouring that absolutely essential cup of coffee and gathering the things I require for the day.

 

It usually feels as though I am scrambling to fit it all in. My head is spinning trying to remember all the dates, appointments and events. Before I have even stepped out the front door, my feet are weary and my soul is drained.

 

I feel like there is never enough. I feel like I am not enough. Like I’m spread too thin. Scraped out like the end of a peanut butter jar. Barely managing to reach the ends.

 

I suppose it’s because scarcity is the mindset running rampant in our modern lives. Time, money, and resources are limited so we have to be the best to secure it all. We have to outsmart everyone else or we will miss out.

 

We need to be smartest to get the promotion. We need to be prettiest to get the guy. We need to be the busiest to prove we can do it all.  

We live in this war against ourselves because we are never enough.

 

This scarcity anguish runs deep in our veins. It’s venom that corrupts all peace, pleasure and purpose. It’s what makes us jealous when we see others succeed because if they get a bigger slice of the pie, it means our piece is smaller.

 

It’s difficult for us to share because we’re so afraid we’ll run out. We only have enough energy to listen to one friend’s struggles. We only have enough time to feed our own family. We only have enough patience to make it to our mailbox in the evening.

 

If we give to this person then another is just gonna have to miss out…that’s how it works. There just isn’t enough. We just aren’t enough.


 

But what if we are wrong?

What if there is another way?

What if we don’t need to try harder or do more… what if there is enough?

 

It seems that so many of us are forgetting the simple truth that Jesus came so that we could have life, and have it in all its fullness.

 

Jesus came so that we could live in abundance…not scarcity.

 

That means that there is enough for you, for me, for your family, your neighbours and every other human being on this planet.

 

Scarcity puts a high price on commodities. Abundance breaks down barriers of inequality.

Scarcity turns us inward. Abundance sends us outward.

Scarcity creates fear and distrust. Abundance produces community and love.

 

When we live from a place of abundance, it changes everything. If we aren’t lacking…we can give everything. We have nothing to lose and so much to gain.

 

When we understand that it is God’s grace alone that enables us to live we are free. It takes the pressure to perform away from us. We no longer need to prove ourselves. We can just be.

 

We are no longer in competition…we are on the same team. We cheer one another on and build each other up. We give and give and give and still we never run out.


 

I don’t want to spend any more of my mornings rushing around with this sense of dread and inadequacy. I want to live in this space of abundance.

Where I can slow down long enough to appreciate the gentle light of the morning. Where I can pause at traffic lights without ranting about how much time I’m wasting. Where I can sit face to face with someone and listen when they are talking to me.  

 

We can rest. We can stop fighting one another. We can share what we have with the assurance that there will always be more.

 

When we wake in the morning we can rise and give thanks because there is enough time in this day and we are already enough.

 

This is amazing grace. This is the fullness of the gospel. This is the good news that we have the privilege of sharing.

 

You and me, our yokes are easy and our burdens are light. We are walking under the wings of grace daily and we know this is the way it is supposed to be. When the world sees us, let them be awestruck by our patience in affliction, our willingness to serve,  and our generosity of spirit.

 

We aren’t like the rest of the crowd hooting out of impatience, shoving to get to the front of the line or taking the last piece of cake greedily for ourselves.

 

We are the fragrance of grace, the essence of abundance. The reminder for this weary world that there is enough.

 

And when we fall short ourselves…we can rest assured that His unfailing grace will be sufficient for us too.