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.

 

The gift of our diversity

the-gift-of-our-diversity

I am ignorant. I am naïve. My mind is narrow and my knowledge is limited. I see the unfamiliar as threatening. The unknown as alarming. In my bubble of consistency and uniformity I am safe.

 

But I’m slowly learning what lies beyond the unfamiliar, uncertain and uncommon is extraordinary.

 

If we always colour within the lines, if we only stick with what we know, we risk missing out on the fullness of life.

 

When we step outside our comfort zone, when we sit and listen to those who look and sound nothing like us…we experience something beautiful. We realize that we really aren’t that different after all.

 


 

We’ve recently moved into a new neighbourhood and I decided that I would like to take this fresh start as an opportunity to get to know my neighbours properly. Previously, I’ve missed that acceptable window in which to become acquainted with my neighbours and so I lived beside them for years without ever knowing their names or their stories.

 

This time had to be different. So I started small. I baked a batch of apple and cinnamon muffins, nothing flashy or obnoxious and we went over to introduce ourselves.

 

We were greeted by a smiling Chinese woman and her daughter. I rambled an introduction nervously before realizing that she didn’t speak English and couldn’t understand a word I’d just said. Fortunately, her daughter translated for us and kindly ushered us in for a cup of tea.

 

We stepped into their lounge and sat gingerly on the edge of their couch while they boiled the kettle and pulled cups and teapots together. The TV was blaring in a language foreign to my ears. There were strange figures forming a shrine on the mantelpiece. The cup was tiny and made of glass which burnt my fingers as I picked it up.

 

I felt myself shuffling uncomfortably as one who has traveled infrequently and only to countries which speak English.

 

But as we sipped our tea, breathing in the sweet scent and sharing in this sacred ceremony our guards started slipping. Our differences became less noticeable. Our exquisite humanity knitted us together.

 

We began to share our stories, where we came from, what we love to do, what makes us unique and what makes us the same. We sat and chatted in broken English and messy Chinese and came away an hour later with two new friends and a dinner invitation for later that week.

 


 

And it was over dinner that I realized the significance of food and friendship in our lives. That something as simple as a batch of muffins can enable two families to build bridges and forge a relationship.

Because gathered around the table with the pink plastic cover, the mismatching chairs, the delicately painted bowls and thin wooden chopsticks, we were a picture of heaven. Regardless of our nationality, native tongue or chosen religion, we gathered here.

It is around a table that communion becomes real.

 

“Here we break bread and receive one another. We set aside our differences, our grievances and we are one.  This is love. This is Jesus. This is heaven touching earth.”

 

There’s a lot of talk these days about right and wrong. We search relentlessly for answers, for truth, for the moral high ground.

But all of this seems to just lead us further into segregation. We are divided by our opinions and our pride. We can’t see past our narrowminded views and we can’t step down from our high horses.

 

There are plenty of people who go through the motions, who obey the regulations, who colour within the lines.

But when we’re so busy polishing our church shoes and pointing fingers, we miss the big picture.

 

We are all the same and infinitely different. We carry separate dreams, fears and failings. But we are bound to one another in love. That’s the way it was always meant to be.

Beneath all of our arrogance, insecurities, doubts and fragility is a beating heart seeking connection.

 


 

Too often we let things stop us from reaching out, from crossing the street or baking a batch of muffins. But I’ve tasted and seen that God is good. I know now that this way is the best way.

 

“Welcoming strangers and making friends. Picking up the stragglers and inviting them in. Humbling ourselves and letting others go first.”

 

That’s what Jesus did and that’s what he’s asked us to do too.

 

And as much as I’d like to keep my head down and my blinds drawn… I simply cannot ignore this call. And now I’ve got a taste of it I really can’t stop.

 

I keep getting these heart nudges to be the one to say hello, to ask someone to join in, to give without getting anything in return.

 

And what I’ve found is as much as I give, it’s returned to me pressed down, shaken together, running over. That’s the way it is, we give the little we have and get immeasurably more in return.

 

So we can play it safe, we can colour within the lines and do only what is necessary or we can move beyond our bubbles of consistency and uniformity. We can move towards the unknown, uncommon and unfamiliar because it is there that we find one of those delightful thin places where heaven meets earth.

 

That’s the gift of our diversity.

the-gift-of-our-diversity

P.S. Welcome to the new blog! I hope you like what you’ve seen so far. In this space I’m going to be writing about living intentionally, building relationships and finding encouragement for your everyday life and I’d love to have you stick around for more. Feel free to Follow my blog with Bloglovin, connect on Facebook or follow along behind the scenes on Instagram.