Over the past two weeks, during seemingly random conversations, my pastor has been talking to me about marriage. I should probably state that on any given day when I’m around the church, she and I do our share of laughing and joking…it’s my nature, but there is always a bit of truth even in a joke. One of the things she stated to me yesterday about dating and marriage really stuck with me. In short, I was talking about going out with a friend after service…being who she is, my pastor and another one of my mothers (who has decided that “he has to get her approval first”), she asked me why I didn’t invite this guy to church. While I certainly could have done so, I explained to my pastor that I don’t usually bring people around my “circle of parents” unless there’s long-term potential, and I don’t know if there is long-term potential with this gentleman at the moment, hence the reason why he has not been invited to church yet. My pastor made this ordinary, yet interesting statement, “Respect the process”! She was urging me to take my time and avoid rushing things…to appreciate, understand, and respect the process of dating and later on, marriage.
This statement is so fitting, especially for my life at the moment. As usual, I’m always in a rush, always overextended, always irritated about having too many commitments and too little time for myself to just think, read, write, RELAX, and have fun. But, in every area of my life, it seems like there’s always something to do…there’s no rest even for the weary. In my day job, I’m in a cohort of passionate people who are all seeking to climb the career ladder immediately. Sometimes I admit that I get caught up in the hype, and want to move to a higher pay grade and a more powerful position right now. There are times when it seems like I’m at work (physically and/or mentally) more than I’m anywhere else…and I believe this is in part because our society has become one where we are praised beyond belief when we move through the “process” at lightning speed. We feel that mastering a task or impressing our superiors over the course of a single week is the way to get ahead. So, in turn, we no longer step back and learn things in time, we no longer appreciate that there is a process involved in moving to the next level, instead we’re off to the races before we can even spell our own name.
But for me, this statement caused me to step back and think, why is there a need to rush through life? Am I not more stressed when I’m always rushing…rushing to the office, rushing to fix a meal, rushing from meeting to meeting, rushing to the gym, rushing to clean my house, rushing to buy a house, rushing to get married, rushing to have babies, and the list goes on! Why is it so appealing to rush through life, and not find joy in going through the process? Do we not learn valuable lessons in the struggle of the process? I think we learn how to survive and even thrive when we go through the process because oftentimes the process is filled with both low and high places, good and bad times, famine and harvest seasons…the process makes us better and certainly more appreciative in the end.
I can find a reason to be grateful for every process I’ve gone through in life. I’ve actually found myself recently being more open to going through processes. My 101 list is a perfect example of that…for me it’s a process of personal transformation. It’s an intentional effort to push past some tough things in my past…to choose to no longer let them be a part of my present (my pastor has been preaching a series Press On, in which she talks about constantly forgetting what has past and moving forward…that’s what my 101 list is all about), to embrace each experience I’ve had up to this point and build on them, to go out and about and experience life with purpose.
Until next time…respect, but equally important, enjoy the process!