Be Strong and Courageous!
Over the next 2 weeks, I am exploring principles of mental and spiritual strength. I will share characteristics that strong people exhibit and ways in which you can cultivate them in your own life.
Characteristic #10 – Strong People Give It Time
My dear friend, Sarah, is a master baker. Anytime there is a birthday at the office or opportunity to celebrate an accomplishment, we gather around one of Sarah’s cakes or breads and savor the moment. Sarah has a particular gift for making pies, which look as beautiful as they taste. When fruit comes into season, Sarah turns it into baked heaven to share.
Here is what is most remarkable about Sarah is that she makes her own pie crust. She has mastered the art of pie crust trifecta: flakey, buttery and delicious. Sarah can also form the dough into little cut outs for the occasion, such as balloons for a birthday or fall leaves for Thanksgiving. Sarah is also super generous with her time, offering pie baking classes in her kitchen for friends and family.
How hard can it be to combine flour and butter and make a pie crust? Let’s just say that my first attempt was a disaster. It was gooey, then pulled apart, and how in the world does anyone get those perfect crimps along the rim?
My foray into pie baking exemplifies a common misperception that we all share, which is that if I’m not naturally successful when I try something then it’s hopeless. We all want immediate results.
The reality is that achievements take time and progress is not immediately apparent. Sarah has spent hours and hours perfecting her art of making pie crust. The desire and goal to make great pie crust was perfectly lovely and doable. My problem was not the goal, it was that I gave up way too quickly.
Most of us abandon New Year’s resolutions before the end of January. The reason is not that the resolutions are bad but because change is really, really hard. Psychologist Jennifer Kunst, Ph.D, suggests that one of the reasons it is really hard to change is that we believe that we need the very thing we are trying to give up. For example, an alcoholic may believe she needs the drink or a worried parent may believe he needs to worry in order to keep himself or his loves ones safe. We hold very tightly to our misconceptions.
Success lies in small changes that we execute over time. It can be a very slow and painful process. For example, to lose weight he have to make small changes that help us to eat less and exercise more so that our bodies and minds can adapt to a new equilibrium over time. In your place of work or school, large changes require small incremental changes that every person can make, at every level of the organization, so that we can let go of the old and live into the new.
It was easier to get the people out of Egypt than to get the Egypt out of them. In other words, God needed to do a deep work in the hearts of his people before they could settle and rebuild. While it would have been nice if the minute they crossed the Red Sea they would be new people, but change takes time. The 40 years they spent wandering was used to bind them together as a new people in Covenant with the Lord. Change isn’t easy.
Emotionally and spiritually strong people know that while change isn’t easy it is possible. One of the keys to success is to set a clear, achievable goal. But keep it flexible so you aren’t tempted to give up and walk away if something unforeseen happens or you just need more time to get over the finish line. Instead, use the goal to keep focuses and motivated for the change.
In this season of disruption, we are all trying to work differently, go to school differently, find ways to be in community differently. Change takes time. Instead of being disappointed that you don’t have a magic wand, invest in the rhythms and practices that will deliver the change you desire. We all need to build our emotional and spiritual muscles day by day.
Journey 1 Bundle is a special offering of 4 courses to help you name the changes you want to make and create a plan to get there. Whatever your big dreams in life, you can achieve them step by step. Think small to win big. Map your steps and enjoy success!
I would love to hear you are making small steps to generate big changes. How are you moving past having unrealistic expectations? email@example.com. Be strong and courageous!