“Scratch off now to win $5, $10, $100, or $1,000 instantly!”
“Just add hot water, stir, and your _____________ will be ready in minutes.”
“Drink this and you’ll get instant energy!”
These commonly-heard phrases are just a few of many “get results now” advertising pitches that bombard us every day. They condition us to want – no, to expect – instant results, and with little or no effort on our part. That’s fine for some things, like fast food at a drive-thru, instant messaging, and digital photography.
But instant results will never happen in the growth of our character or the shrinking of our waistline.
Godly character and good health don’t happen overnight, but we expect them to. Then we become unjustly impatient when our expectations are not met.
- We want to start eating right on Monday and see pounds of weight loss by Tuesday.
- We want to start jogging for the first time in 10 years and be immediately able to run a 5K.
- We want to pray for patience and be instantly transformed into Patty Patient, calm in all situations.
- We want to pray for God to heal our hearts, and immediately stop hurting.
For many years, I was lured by “take this and you’ll feel better in 7 days or less” advertising jargon. I went to health stores, watched infomercials (I hate to admit that one!), and attended seminars. Sometimes I was even told to eat whatever I wanted, didn’t matter because the supplement was SO powerful.
When I didn’t see the promised results, disappointment and discouragement drove me to eat more junk food. I found myself on a never-ending roller-coaster of unhealthy eating habits, not to mention having a cabinet full of useless pills and an empty wallet.
I finally discovered something (for the hundredth time):
the only thing that works is work.
And work takes…are you ready for this…TIME. We need:
- Time to learn, and then time to process what we learned.
- Time to gain understanding through experience so we know what works for us…and what doesn’t work.
- Time to replace old habits with new ones.
- Time to let God grow us and change us at His pace.
I would imagine none of what I’ve written here surprises many people. In fact, most of you were probably saying, “I know, I know” as you read it.
But if you’re like me, you needed this reminder. Give yourself grace. Let go of those pesky unrealistic expectations.
And celebrate the results you’ve already seen in your life. They may not have been instant, but weren’t they worth the time and effort you invested?
TODAY’S CHALLENGE: In what area(s) do you need to have more grace for yourself – where change is happening but not as fast as you’d like? Ask God to show you what expectations need to change.
If God spoke to you through this post, I'd love to hear your comments.