This week, I felt like God wanted me to write about a weakness in my life. I’m really impatient. There, I said it. I tell the kids in my ministry all the time that I struggle with being patient. Impatience can become a huge hinderance in following God. I believe we are all becoming more and more impatient because of the culture we live in. Our culture is an instant gratification culture. We don’t just want coffee, we want it now! Starbucks came out with a feature on their app that allows us to order ahead of time, skip the wait, grab our coffee, and go! That’s just one example of culture feeding into the “I want it now” mentality. We can get music, money, food, and just about any product instantly or within a few hours.
Not everything in life works that way, especially when it comes to ministry. Think about it. What do you want right now for your ministry that you just can’t seem to attain? Is it resources, money, space, time, volunteers, paid staff, your own sanity? If I had to guess, we all want one or more of those things for our ministries. Why can’t we have it right now? It would just be so much easier, right? Of course that’s how it feels to us, but God has something different in mind for us and our ministries. So, how do we overcome the “I want it now” attitude that is so deeply engrained in our minds and in our culture?
5 Steps to overcome the “I want it now” attitude:
1. Wait patiently.
Ok, I might still be stuck on step 1. Those two words sound so simple, but they are so hard to put into practice. I have to constantly remind myself to be patient and wait. The struggle is real (at least for me)! I love what Romans 8:25 says: “But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.”
2. Trust in God’s timing.
God’s timing is usually not the same as ours. This is the main reason we can’t have what we want, when we want it. God has reasons behind why He is making us wait. We may not see those reasons now (or ever), but we must rest assured that God is always at work behind the scenes. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”
3. Ask, “What is God teaching me?”
This is an important step. We may be in a season of waiting because God is trying to teach us something new. I believe that God is trying to teach me to rely on His strength and power right now, rather than on my own abilities and talents. I like to believe that I can fix any situation if I just work hard enough. I can brainstorm and worry myself to death over a situation, and then realize I never prayed about it. God wants us to bring our needs and concerns to Him first, not after we have tried everything we can think of to fix it ourselves. What is God trying to teach you while you wait?
4. Listen to His voice.
I find that it is hard to hear God’s voice when I am constantly busy talking and working. Sometimes we just need to be still and listen to God. I definitely struggle with stopping and being quiet. I’m certain there have been many times when I have missed something God was trying to tell me because I wasn’t listening. James 1:19 says, “You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” If you aren’t spending time being still and quiet before the Lord, start today. Start small and take five minutes each day to just listen to God.
5. Follow His plan.
Notice the key word in that sentence is “His”. We love making our own plans. Anyone else love to-do lists as much as I do? Just like our timing is often not the same as God’s timing, our plans are also a bit different. If we aren’t intentional about doing the first four steps, we probably aren’t following God’s plan. When we follow our own plan, we miss out on a bigger and greater plan that God has for us. Proverbs 3:5-6 is still one of my favorite passages in the Bible, and the NLT version says it so well: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” We don’t need to depend on our own ideas and plans. If we just turn to God, He will show us the steps we need to take.
What is God asking you to wait for? How are you learning to say no to the “I want it now” mentality?