Everyone likes ‘before and after’ photos. You know the ones. The before the diet and after the goal is reached; the empty canvas and final painting; or the blank page and the completed essay.
You know what’s not so popular? The photos that show the road between the start and the finish. That’s where the real work is done. It’s the day to day struggle to become healthy or create a work of art. Those days aren’t very flashy. They don’t spark rounds of applause. They’re messy and sweaty and sometimes they don’t show much progress at all.
But to Our Father they are beautiful.
He can see us working; putting up with the pain, the challenge and the rewrites. We are his beloved children, and all he sees is his children learning and working hard to succeed. It just warms his heart.
I remember a college science project that had to be completed to pass the course. I had to get two kinds of microorganisms on one slide. Everyone else seemed to breeze through it. Oh how I tried. Day after day I’d mess up again and again. I’d get one on there, and then flood it right off the slide trying to add the next.
On the last day of class I finally got it right. My teacher reviewed it, said “Good job”, and promptly smeared the slide with his thumb. (I suppose that was so no one else could use it?) I didn’t care, I was so glad to be done.
I didn’t see it then, but the time between the clean, empty slide and the smeared one was holy. I was using my skills, staying on task and not giving up. I know that the Lord was looking down on me, smiling and cheering me on. How he loves to see his little ones use their gifts!
The fast-paced, “get it to me now” mentality encouraged me to skip the joy and beauty of the creative process. I got too caught up in the assignment and the end result. I had no patience or appreciation for the stories and lessons that the middle steps want to tell.
If your project is in progress, try to enjoy the process. If you are frustrated, take a step back. Look at all you’ve done to get where you stand today. There is a holiness and beauty in every step you’ve made. It might not seem like anything is coming along very fast or very well, but that’s okay. Your Father thinks you are doing a great job. Your determination and perseverance reflect his own his own Spirit, and the things that you learn along the way will serve you well.
We all want to finish our projects. We want to complete the job or project that has been given to us by God. I agree that the beginning the project is exciting, and reaching the goal is thrilling.
I just don’t think God wants us to miss the journey. There’s beauty in becoming.
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