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Trust in the Slow Work

You've heard it said, "all good things come to those who wait." But is this phrase helpful? It is supposedly penned by Lady Mary Montgomerie Currie(under her pseudonym, Violet Fane). Abraham Lincoln was known to have said something similar but he added to it. "Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left behind by those who hustle."


So which is it? Wait or hustle?

It's probably a little bit of both. I've long loved a poem by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Regardless of one's belief system, I think there is a helpful concept embedded in this work. My favorite line is the last one.


"....accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete."

I'm weird. I like this phrase. Why? It encourages me to give myself a lot of permission. It reminds me that in my pursuit of a goal/competency, whether it be a hard competency (skill) or a soft competency (character), patience towards self is required. But so is trust! For me, it's trust toward God.


If I've written a development plan, I do so knowing that my ongoing effort is a part of the equation. I also do so knowing that even just one degree of change should be celebrated as I wait for more significant change. I need to give myself the benefit and "accept the anxiety of feeling myself in suspense and incomplete." I also need to be alert and pay attention to the tiny changes. Otherwise, I might eschew intentionality towards needed competencies and deliberate action steps.


If this phrase also resonates with you, perhaps you can print this out and hang it in a place you see every day. Consider the wisdom of both waiting and hustling. Learn to embrace the anxiety that sometimes comes. Let it do its good work. Consider also the value of having a mentor as you seek to grow in your profession and life.


Trust in the Slow Work of God

Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.
Yet it is the law of all progress, that it is made by passing through some stages of instability, and that may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you.
Your ideas mature gradually. Let them grow. Let them shape themselves without undue haste.
Do not try to force them on as though you could be today what time - that is to say, grace - and circumstances acting on your own good will will make you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new Spirit gradually forming in you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
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