By nature, I’m an “all in” sort of guy. One of my favorite mantras is “The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” So when I set an objective, I’m always looking for the quickest and most direct route to get there.
Lots of us guys are like that. We don’t just want a new car that can get us to our destination, we’re looking for how fast it can take us from 0 to 60 mph.
But not everything in life works like that…
- If it took you two decades to put on those extra pounds, you won’t be able to remove them in two days.
- If you’ve been on a downward spiral of debt for years, you’ll have to be patient as you make the necessary changes to dig yourself out.
- If you’ve allowed your muscles to deteriorate since the beginning of the century, a week at the gym isn’t going to immediately turn things around.
I know, it’s hard to accept the reality that some things take time. Ever since the invention of the microwave oven, our understanding of goal-setting has been skewed. Why can’t we make the changes in our lives as fast as it takes to cook a bag of microwave popcorn?
As another year begins, I find myself (as always) trying to figure out my objectives. You probably have been doing that too. As we dive into 2016, I’m trusting that we’re right on the brink of some wonderful changes and progress. Today I feel the same kind of excitement the Israelites must have felt when they were about to enter into their Promised Land.
But I’m also reminded of a word of caution God gave His people as they prepared to enter into their place of new beginnings (Exodus 23:28-3). Even though He had prepared a great land for them to enter and enjoy, He made certain things clear about what they would experience in the process:
- They would encounter enemies and obstacles (v. 28). No matter what you hope to achieve in the new year, it’s certain that you will have to overcome some hurdles along the way.
- They would have to view possession of the Promised Land as a long-term process, not a quick and easy event (v. 29). As Christians we’re sometimes so wrapped up in one-time events and breakthroughs that we don’t commit ourselves to persevere for the long haul. Let’s remember: We’re in a marathon, not a sprint.
- Although God would help them in this journey of faith, they would have to recognize that their progress would come “little by little” (v. 30). I’ll admit, I don’t really like this. I would prefer God to always give us progress as a quantum leap. But that is seldom how things work. Yes, if you starve yourself for 40 days, you can say you’ve lost weight. But the “little by little” plan is far healthier and works better in the long run.
So, my friend, I hope you’ll be patient and persistent as you pursue your objectives for the new year. Little by little, the Promised Land can be yours.