Inspiration can sometimes come from the least expected places. I hate country music. No, it’s more than that; country music makes believe it is physically possible to be allergic to sound. The moment it hits my ears, I get all head-achey and nauseous. Considering my strong aversion to twang, it might surprise you to know that one of my favorite quotes came not from a philosopher, or a scripture, or even from Oprah, but from a woman who is as country as they come. Explaining her ill-received statement that she thought Taylor Swift was experiencing too much success at such a young age, Wynona Judd clarified, “Time is God’s way of keeping everything from happening all at once.” It’s a quote I often turn to when I find myself discouraged or with wavering faith.
We all have things we want to accomplish and goals we are driven to achieve, but more often than not, anything worth having has to be earned. Whether your dream is to finish a triathlon, climb the corporate ladder or make your dream house a reality, once you’ve set your eyes on the prize you must expect AND accept the challenges you will inevitably face along the way. Sure, minor setbacks will be encountered in any path to success and in the beginning your enthusiastic energy will carry you over those hurdles….but what about the obstacles you face when you’ve been going at it for awhile? Maybe you’re getting tired or you don’t feel like you’re making as much progress as you should be and the finish line seems further away than you’d originally thought. You can see the peak in the distance, but it feels like you’ve been climbing forever – you feel like you’re climbing Mt. Never-rest.
This is where Ms. Judd’s words serve as a reminder to not get frustrated by the challenges on the way to the top, “Time is God’s way of keeping everything from happening at once.” What if all in one day you finished the triathlon, got that raise then opened the newest Coastal Living to see photos of your home, wouldn’t that be great!? That would be one fantastic day, possibly the best day of your life! But what about the day after that? I bet it would seem pretty empty and soon after you would find yourself setting new goals to replace the ones you already achieved; a longer race, the corner office, crown molding! The truth is, while the end result of hard work is rewarding, it’s the work that makes it so. I don’t think it’s human nature to want a triathlon medal, a 401k and stainless steel appliances, I think it’s human nature to want a purpose. Though we all might have different versions of the finish line, everyone wants to feel like they are moving towards something substantial, not just wasting time jogging in place in the great human race.
No matter what your end goal is, no matter what high point you’ve decided to work towards, you will face setbacks and proportionately, the loftier the goal, the more difficult it will be. You will get tired, you will wonder if it’s all worth it, you might even get scared that you will never make it. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you can do it, whatever it is. When you get tired or lose enthusiasm, turn to the people who believe in you and let them be your cheerleaders. They will motivate you to keep going. When you are frustrated at yet another valley on your way to the top, look back at the pitfalls you’ve already conquered and see how far you’ve already come, see that though you may not be at the top yet, you are still higher than where you started. Expect the obstacles, they are tests to see how bad you really want the prize. Accept the obstacles, they are what make the prize valuable. And who knows, once you finally make it to your top, you might discover an even higher goal beyond that and decide to keep on climbing so you might as well learn to enjoy every minute along the way. Time is God’s way of keeping everything from happening all at once on your journey to summit up.