My son is now 22 months old and it is that age where he really is not big on being patient or sitting in his car seat. Every time we have to go somewhere, I say a prayer first that Joshua won’t get tired of the ride too soon and start crying which would be a distraction for me.
I was not so lucky today.
10 minutes into a 30 minutes journey, my son starts to cry profusely because he just wasn’t feeling the ride anymore. I kept reassuring him that the ride was nearly over but clearly that fell on deaf ears when he started to demand that he wanted to “COME DOWN”.
Let me just confess now that his crying and constant “come down” requests got to me and I heard myself telling him loudly (read: yelling); “YOU CAN NOT COME DOWN NOW. WE HAVE NOT REACHED OUR DESTINATION. YOU HAVE TO BE MORE PATIENT AND NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU CRY, IT WON’T MAKE US GET TO THE DESTINATION QUICKER”.
As I said those words, I could almost hear the Holy Spirit snicker. The words He said were something like “that is rich coming from you” and I just had to smile.
The truth is that in my relationship with God, I have been my son many times. I have complained profusely about how long some journeys take and I have demanded to get to the destination quicker. I have not cared if it was the right time or the right place, all I have cared about is getting to the destination NOW. And I would find myself crying in frustration because the journey was taking much longer than I expected. I have been so fixated on the destination that the journey frankly was not my cup of tea.
I remember how much I hated being a stay at home mum for over a year because I felt I should be doing MORE. God had led me to leave my job 3 years before so after 4 years of being at home, I felt God should be opening more doors and opportunities. And every time I asked for MORE, I could hear God tell me I was where I was supposed to be and I HATED IT. For a long time, I cried, I complained, I whined but nothing changed because that was part of my journey.
I did not start to appreciate the blessings I had until I stopped focusing on my grand destination and decided to enjoy my journey. The moment I accepted where I was and understood that there was no fast track was when I really started to be at peace in my life. I started to see what a privilege it was/is to enjoy being present for my son and what an incredible blessing it is.
One of the things I do to distract my son when he gets tired is to ask him what he can see from the window. I tell him to look at all the cars. And then I tell him to look at the birds. We sing his favourite songs and we count. I also help him to visualize all the fun things we will do when we get to our destination, we talk about the people we will see, the things we will eat and the games we will play. All of these things help immensely as it forces him to enjoy the journey instead of letting his desperation to reach his destination make him miserable.
I wonder if we can also apply this to our personal lives as we wait for whatever it is we have been waiting for.
- Enjoy the journey more. Look around you and be grateful for what you see. The daily blessings and the beauty around you. One of my favourite hymns has the words that go “morning by morning, new mercies I see, all I had needed, thy hands have provided” and I choose to enjoy God’s blessings Morning by Morning as I wait.
- The journey is often just as important as the destination. You are never at one destination for too long and you spend more time on journeys moving to new destinations. (Read stories of Abraham, Isaac, the children of Israel, David).
- Sing and praise God for where you are. Choose joy and gratitude because no matter how long it takes, you will get to where God has promised you so you might as well enjoy being where you are. (psalm 47:6)
- Why bother crying? God’s ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts either. We often think maybe if we cry and complain, it’ll change something but just as I told my son; “crying won’t get you to your destination quicker so why bother? (Isaiah 55:8)
- Prepare for the destination: write the vision down and as you wait to see it physically, you can begin to OWN it spiritually. (Habakuk 2:2)
By the way, an hour after we got to our destination, my son had a new request: ‘LET’S GO’. That is how we are too. Even when we get to our destination, we start thinking of the next thing. After being at home for over 4 years, I wrote and published my own book and then I started to ask God “what next’?
You will get to your destination because God is always faithful and just and he alone knows the plans he has for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and it is left to us to trust that those plans are good with an expected end.