My mom recently shared some research for a school project she is doing with my sisters. This research (centered on growing techniques) revealed that advancing the growth of plants causes them to lack necessary nutrients. In other words, when plants are forced to grow faster, they don’t receive all of the benefits they would if they were allowed to grow at their natural rate.
Just like a plant forced to grow by a certain time, many people put pressure and deadlines on themselves to become who they think they should be.
Women feel like they must find a man in college and get their “MRS” degree. College freshman sense the urgency to claim a major. College seniors must frantically find a calling before graduation! Wow. Just thinking about it is enough to bring on a panic attack.
But in all seriousness, what is it with this culture? Perhaps the need for speed is inspired by our technology, which delivers instant information and entertainment anywhere and anytime. Or maybe it’s the way you can drive up to a building, stay in your car, order, pay, and receive food in usually under ten minutes.
Whatever it is, something has caused people to feel like they have to rush to become who they are.
I kind of feel like this sometimes, but recently, I’ve realized that becoming who you are is only found in becoming one with God.
In his book Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller says, “Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so. You feel like running, but life is on a stroll. This is how God does things.”
My inclusion of this quote may seem ironic coming from someone who is graduating with their Bachelor’s degree in 2.5 years, but I can assure you that our idea of growth is most likely different than God’s. We think we know who we want to be (and even who God wants us to be!), and we expect to reach it by a certain time.
This assumption comes from the immense culture of trendy ministries, engaging preachers, hip youth pastors, best-selling (and sappy) authors, godly women who blog about blessings and the goodness of God in all seasons, those hipster worship bands of bearded, tattooed men in their plaid button-downs, and people who are cool enough to do the World Race.
I’m not invalidating these people’s obedience to God. However, the assumption that we haven’t reached spiritual maturity until we resemble something like them is absurd. God is making us new whether we realize it right away or not, and the goal of obedience is fellowship with Him, which produces fruit and transformation.
Unless we are willing to submit to God’s pace of time, we will miss out on nutrients- just like the plants.
Remember those board games with the little shortcut bridge? Maybe it saved you some time, but you could have missed out on drawing a card that would have helped you win the game. When we try to shortcut our life around the valley God may be leading us through, we could miss out on blessings and will definitely miss out on experiencing the fullness of His grace. (If you want to explore this idea further, I recommend the book Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard).
I used to struggle with contentment because I really wanted to get married, have kids, and start homeschooling them as soon as possible. Since then, I’ve realized that after I have kids, I may be wishing I could be back in college, studying what I want.
While we sometimes wish for a different life now, when it comes someday, we could easily be wishing we were back to where we started. Growing may be slow, but don’t take it for granted because growing at God’s rate always includes nutritious benefits.