There she was, smiling back at me. I stood there in my bedroom doorway, holding a photograph of me from my 18th birthday pool party. You can guess it; I was wearing a bikini and the best smile. My hip bones poked through my skin, and lean muscles lined my entire body. Swim meet season had just ended for the final time, and my body reflected that of an athlete who clocked 10 plus hours a week in the pool.
I quickly got out my phone and took a picture of the picture so I could use it for fitness inspiration. Are you laughing? Because I am. In that moment I remember thinking, I wish I could look like that again. 28-year-old Amy said that about 18-year-old, quickly forgetting that 18-year-old Amy hated the way she looked anyways. That girl in the picture, with the hip bones poking through her skin wanted to be at least 10 pounds lighter. Sadly, it doesn’t seem like anything has changed in terms of my body-image issues, but I don’t want to settle for the “I’m a woman and will always struggle with that.” No way. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Back to the present. Today, I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a post from a friend who I haven’t known long. She was bragging about her very talented husband releasing a new song. I immediately got excited because I remembered recording violin and viola parts in the studio with them.
As I began listening, I found myself feeling proud. It was one of those moments, as a musician, where I was happy with how my parts sounded. Actually, I was more than happy, I was impressed. “Could that seriously be me?”
I’ll get back to all of that in a minute.
I’ve been in a season of waiting. I was telling a friend today that I know God is near. I’m not stressed, I’m not frustrated, but I am definitely waiting. And as I wait, I’ve found it increasingly hard to remain productive. For those of you who don’t know me or my story, I’m pursuing a full-time career as an author, a self-published author specifically. This is the first time in my life where my schedule is what I make it and my boss is me. It’s awesome, but it has definitely been a big shift.
As I wait, I’ve found it harder and harder to keep writing. On the daily, I’ve found myself “blocked,” not being able to focus on which direction to go with what I have been working on. It only takes a little bit of writer’s block for the doubt to sweep in, and with that comes the impatience.
Thankfully, God’s grace is transformative, especially in seasons of waiting.
2 Peter 3:8-9 says, “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you…”
God is patient with me. How profound, yet simple? When I read this, I immediately had this perspective change on waiting and patience. I’ve been sitting here thinking that I’m waiting on God, but He’s waiting on me too. And as He waits, His grace is working as He transforms me. I felt this wave of relief and gratitude fall on me as I read those words from 2 Peter. God cares for me so much that He is willing to be patient with me as I learn and grow. So, how do I apply this to my daily life?
I’ve realized I’m an impatient, patient person. I know transformation takes time in any capacity. Some things take longer than others, but time they take, nonetheless. I’m patient because I know I should be, but I practice patience very begrudgingly. Yet, I’ll pray and declare miracles and boldly speak life over people at the drop of a hat. It just doesn’t line up. If His grace is sufficient, and my weakness is His strength, why am I still struggling with doubt? Why can’t I find peace? Why can’t I be content? Why can I declare the promises of the Lord so boldly over other people’s lives, but not keep my eyes on the Promise Maker and Keeper myself?
Here’s the revelation – I’m not very good at long-term consistency, but I’m in a season of life where consistency is key (I think most seasons are this, really). I’m a creative. As a writer, most things I do provide instant gratification. I write, read, edit, and repeat until it’s done. Then it’s time to write something new and the process continues. But unfortunately, not every part of life brings instant gratification. Most things in life require a process and time, and I’ve allowed my own impatience to affect my ability to trust His process.
I didn’t become a good violinist from just practicing a few times. I became great because I literally practiced all of the time, as a developing musician and beyond. I know that I’m naturally gifted in music, but I still had to practice, play, and repeat for years upon years to develop the skills I have now that I can use in studio sessions. I was consistent with my violin. I was also consistent with my exercising in high school. I swam 4-5 days a week almost all year round. Practices were usually an hour and a half. I was skinny and fit in high school because I consistently swam and worked out. My body transformed as a result of the training. This consistency lead to growth. This consistency lead to transformation.
So, if I want to get fit, I’m going to need to be consistent for more than just a week. If I want to lose some weight, I’m going to need to be consistent with how I eat for more than just a month. If I want to become a better writer, I need to consistently write. If I want to learn more about God, I need to read my Bible and pray consistently, not just twice a week. Insert whatever it may be, consistency will lead to that transformation (thanks to His grace)!
2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 says, “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am constant with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
In our waiting, He is working. As He waits on us, He is working. He is transforming us, and His grace is our hope. Whatever your “thing” is, I pray you become aware of how you can be consistent in your daily life to achieve the things He’s called you to do. I pray you don’t let fear and doubt cripple your productivity. I pray you don’t allow comparison and competition to hinder your ability to grow. I pray you will have discernment of His wonders, big and small. I pray you will seek Him consistently and allow His grace to fall upon you in a new way today. I pray you take heart as you wait and seek change. Just as He shows grace for us, show grace to yourself. Growing is hard. Change requires work. But, if you’re seeking to grow or change as He calls you, He is surely going to have the patience with you, and He will give you the grace for transformation. Whatever it is, you’ve got this. Trust His process. Remain patient. Take a deep breath and keep going.