When I last took my Pomeranian to the vet, I was told he was a couple pounds overweight. For us a few pounds over are hardly noticeable. But for a three-year-old pom, it could mean joint problems in a few years. So I did what any sensible pet owner would do. I put him on a diet.
The vet prescribed him weight loss food and recommended that treats be limited for a while. I was suffering for him, but knew this was the best decision. After a few days of switching out his prior food for this new organic (and high dollar) kibble, I felt like we were making progress. Until we went back to the clinic a few weeks later, only to find out he had gained half a pound.
Where is the Reset Button?
You can imagine the confusion that went through my mind. Something was terribly wrong. For sure someone was sneaking him treats while I wasn’t watching. That’s when I took a step back and realized… I was expecting results in a few short weeks for what had taken a few years to put on.
The same can happen to us. We can expect abs overnight after only putting in work for a few days. Or we want to see a change in our lives when we’ve spent decades following the same patterns of behavior. I blame the microwave. It has formed us to believe three course dinners can be prepared in 15 minutes. And that water can boil in less than a minute.
Where did we get off thinking the things we want don’t take time to achieve? It boils down to one word: Patience. Do we want to put in the time to see the results we truly desire or not? Ask yourself that question. Before you answer, consider the end goal you have in mind and consider how long you are willing to wait for it.
Patience at its Core
I’ve heard the word patience depicted more accurately. It is long suffering. And that is exactly what it feels like. Patience is our capacity to accept a delayed response without losing our temper. But in reality, we’ve been nurtured to the opposite. We want that instant gratification (aka avoiding the delay).
So if we really want to see those pounds stay off for good, or that temper controlled, or whatever it is that you want changed in your life… it’s going to take time. That is the bottom line. We need to change how we perceive the waiting. If that perception does not change from our core, we may not see the long-term effects because we are not willing to take the small (repeated) steps every day.
The End in Mind
I recently picked up a book from the back of my shelf titled The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. One of the chapters in the book gets into this idea that effective people function with the end in mind. That means they see their goal, they know what it takes to get there, and they persist. While it sounds like a very practical way of working towards our goals, it is one that we most often skip.
When we live with the end in mind, the waiting (or delay) almost becomes more bearable. We trust that the small decisions we make today are working towards that end. And somehow it all adds up nicely. That piece of cake you didn’t eat will show in a few weeks. And that harsh comment you kept to yourself will help you control an even worse reaction sometime in the future.
The Watched Pot Never Boils
Water is in the pot. The outcome will be boiling water. So why are you still watching? Let the heat do its job. And by all means, don’t put the pot in the microwave! The waiting will surely test your patience, but how wonderful when the bubbles break the surface.
Verses to reflect
“Endings are better than beginnings. Sticking to it is better than standing out.”
Ecclesiastes 7:8 MSG
“But the seed in the good earth–these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there’s a harvest.”
Luke 8:15 MSG
“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”
Habakkuk 2:3 NIV