I like to get things done.
Historically, I haven’t liked to wait. I want the task complete. I want you to move swiftly, talk fast, act with urgency, and if you don’t, I would like you to move out of the way so I can do and say what needs to be done and said. Of course, I have had to refine my methods over the years, recognizing my behavior was not always gracious or pleasant and was sometimes downright rude. With children, I’ve had much practice in slowing down and getting things done eventually. I have had to teach how to zip coats, button shirts, tie shoes, eat neatly, walk with care, speak kindly, use manners and a whole host of things kids just don’t know. Primarily being a homemaker and home educator for the past eight years I have had intense home training in being “quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger” (James 1:19). Parents, you know how we have to settle arguments, assess feelings, count to 10, and allow for mistakes so lessons can be learned. This full-time training has been extremely challenging for me, like boot camp, but now I am fit to love others outside my home more graciously, patiently and watch the Lord work instead of my haste.
I saw this in action Sunday when a potential member of a committee I was recently elected to chair finally confirmed that she would not join the committee as we had agreed. After following up with her a few days ago after our initial talk weeks ago, she stated she was going to continue to work where she was. Had I pressured her to make a move weeks ago, she may have simply gone with how she felt then and not given deeper, consideration to her decision. Likewise with a present committee member who told me she didn’t think it would be good for her to remain on the committee after expressing weeks ago her willingness to remain. My initial reaction was that her continued service would not be good for the transitioning administration and I didn’t see how she couldn’t see that, so the Lord shut my mouth. I didn’t have grace-filled words or a disposition to speak and knew I had to be “quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” After praying I now knew how to season my words with salt, but before I could share, she told me that she believed her remaining on the committee would hinder the transition in administration. Had I spoken in haste, we may not have had this moment of seamless consensus. I’m not saying that not speaking in haste will always yield such great outcomes, but without a doubt you’ll avert some conflicts.
As seasons have shifted in my life, the change has not always been easy and I’m sure the same can be said for you. We may be in seasons we’d rather not be in but we must remember that all things work together for our good if we love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). So being a stay-at-home mom, working that low-paying job, working that demanding job or working on that committee may just be what you need for your good, to help you love others as they need. Think about this: Love is learning what you can in every situation so you can use whatever you can in any situation, doing all to the glory of God. Don’t despise where you are. It may just be the place you need to be to help you and others get to where they need to go.
Take a Risk Challenge: Be conscious of being quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. Doing so truly is a radical act of love.
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