growing up as a dancer, i grew up with the ability to understand that things take time. i worked two years to perfectly nail my double pirouette simply because i was scared to turn just one more time. months of dedicating 10 minutes of my day sitting in the splits finally gave me the flexibility i was working towards. the summer before my junior year, i balanced cross country practice and a 3 hour dance private every day. why? because i had a goal and was willing to work for it. however, i knew that the work wasn’t simply going to bear its fruit overnight; instead, it was going to take months or even a year. i was willing to wait that long because i knew the end result would be worth it. i learned to be patient with my progress and vowed to never be too hard on myself.
the other day i was working on my online schoolwork and was really struggling. (side note for all those wondering: i have suffered from a concussion ever since the beginning of january and my doctor didn’t allow me to begin classes until the end of march.) i am not some sort of genius who doesn’t have to touch a school book and still makes a 4.0; however, i have always had the ability to learn well and study hard. i thank God for the ability to study and learn every single day, well maybe except for last wednesday. ever since my concussion, my ability to focus has become extremely difficult and doing homework seems impossible most days. due to the fact that i never have really struggled with the ability to focus, this new found obstacle has weighed my confidence and heart down immensely. in high school, i was the girl who could go to school all day and still spend six hours at starbucks the same evening and study, study, study. some called me crazy, but in all honesty, i was that nerd who enjoyed studying. the confidence i gained by applying myself in school allowed me to stand tall amongst my peers who were also very gifted and smart. anyways, the point to all of this is that i have seemed to find myself in a race in which i feel like i can’t finish. (& by the grace of God if i do, i’ll be crawling over the finish line no doubt.) with all these emotions, i was left to feel inadequate, dumb, and frustrated.
some of you may be sitting here asking me why on earth i am really letting an online statistics class beat me down THAT hard; well, i’ll tell you. since i was born pre mature, i struggled keeping up in school up until about high school. i was the last who seemed to learn how to walk. i struggled with reading and was at the bottom of my classes the entirety of elementary school. i pronounced certain letters wrong, leaving me to sound pretty funny when i said quiet a few words. as i could go on, the adversities that came along with being born a preemie were something i found myself fighting through my entire life. in high school i had tutors who gave me the extra inch of confidence i needed to strive and by my junior and senior year, i finally felt as if i had caught up. i was in the race too. the same goes for my first semester of college. i knew how to study and time manage; therefore, i was rollin. yes, i may sound a bit dramatic in the fact that i feel so defeated over the inability to focus, but to me, its way more than that. it is as if i am running a race and finally caught up, but now i am roughly about a mile back, or so it seems.
i sat in my car last wednesday after spending six HOURS at a coffee shop to only finish two stats assignments and let it all out. i cried, called my mom, cried more, and then called my mom again. that seems to be the natural order of a mental breakdown, right? after i calmed down, my wise, always correct mother told me that it was going to be okay and that i had the strength to finish, like i always have. (ah, moms always know the right things to say, right?!?!?!? im convinced they have a lil extra room in heaven because jesus just blessed them with ALLLL the wisdom.)
“like you always have, kirsten.” i think that simple statement rings true in all of us. fill it out yourself. “like you always have,___.” i stand boldly in the truth that is this: we all have the strength in us to finish, because we are His and He is almighty. the same God who has the strength to perform miracles is the same God who created you with His strength. the same God who defeated death can sure as heck help me defeat this statistics class, RIGHT?!??! i believe strength and patience go hand and hand. if one wants to be strong, they usually would find themselves in the gym, being patient with their bodies, waiting on results. imagine if we applied that same concept to all aspects of our lives. imagine if we slowed down and stopped being so hard on ourselves. imagine if we simply were patient. imagine what would happen if we practiced immense patience with ourselves, every single day.
i believe that having immense patience with ourselves means to not always act like everything is fine at all times. let me tell you, i am the queen of quick fixes. i want the smallest problem to become even smaller as fast as possible. however, we must not go through life sweeping everything under its own rug instead of allowing our hearts to grow, heal, and bear the good stuff while fighting the bad. it is so easy for us to look at a task and say “eh that’s too big, it’ll take too much time.” and simply go the easy way out. this is because we do not have patience. it could have been easier during all those years of dance to not work every summer day and instead settle where i was. but life requires patience. life is not a quick fix. walking with the Lord isn’t something we sweep under the rug and hope for the best. instead, life is a marathon rather than a sprint. life requires a humble and PATIENT heart.
when we dwell with Jesus, i think it’s safe to expect times where we must rely on His goodness alone because we do not know where our lives our headed. i believe God intends for us to not live our lives in constant knowledge of our next five year plan so we may rely on him, so we must be patient, so we must be kind with ourselves. adversities will come of all different shapes and sizes. frustrations will come and go, and goals will be reached in their own time. whether it takes you two years or two weeks to nail your triple pirouette, take heart and have patience. whether it takes you two hours more than the average student to finish a test or it takes you twenty minutes, have patience with yourself. no matter if you are in a time of singleness and independent growth, or if you are growing in a two year relationship, be kind to yourself.
God did not create us to live a life, running around with bandaids half- fallen off all over us. instead, He created us in His own timing as we are made for His will, not our own. take heart. be patient. have patience in your walk with the Lord. let us not patch up our own bruises quickly because we feel as if God isn’t fixing it quick enough; for i am confident that His timing is perfect and we will learn from it. working that extra couple of months to nail my turn in dance class may have taught me to be humble. maybe once my online classes end, i will see that God wanted me to rely on His mind instead of my own. maybe, just maybe, God intends for us to practice immense patience so we may learn to be like Him.
the things we work for, struggle for, pray for, and inevitabley become before for are the things that produce a faithful heart within ourselves. and with faith we must practice immense patience. spend time working on yourself. do not beat yourself down, for God did not create you so you may sprint to the finish line. i believe with all of me that God wants us to embrace the valleys and mountaintops of life with the same pace. instead of wishing the valley away, let’s spend time in it, soaking up the growth we can gain from it. instead of rushing towards our award on the mountaintop, let’s forget the award and bask in the Lord’s presence just a little bit longer. live your life in all capital letters, but practice it slowly. the sun will rise and set all the same, just as God’s presence will never forsake us; it is us who have to be aware to not sweep past God.