“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,Jeremiah 17:7-8
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
We live in this instant gratification, “hustle” culture. We seem to measure success by how much we’re doing and how quickly we’re doing it. And lately I’ve been feeling the pressure to adopt this mindset. I’ll think to myself, “my blog and social media would be seeing more traffic if I spent more time on it. My child would be “better off” if we enrolled her in all of the programs and activities. I should really volunteer more and attend all the extra events at church.” Do you ever feel this way? Like you’re never quite doing enough and never quite measuring up?
But the Lord whispered to my heart that instead of doing more, I need to rest in Him.
Instead of filling my plate with more tasks and busyness, I should be looking to Him to fill my cup. That I’m exactly right where I need to be and I need only to be surrendered and still before Him- allowing Him to work in and through me.
And so I’ve decided to daily set aside the pressure to “hustle” and lean in to the principle of slow growth. I’m finding that this is not so easy to live out though.
I can guess that whatever season you’re in, you’ve had moments of chafing against the slow growth. Impatience towards the time it’s taking to move to where you want to be and where you feel God has called you. But perhaps in the waiting, God is doing His deepest growth in your heart.
“The secret of his public life was his private life. Show me a man or woman who is effective in public, and I’ll show you a person who is effective in private. This is the hidden life–that part of a person that develops in apparent obscurity, the part that the Spirit quietly grows up in each of us if we allow it…Each season of life is important and leads to the next.”Jill Briscoe, Prayer that Works
Slow growth is the molding of your character in the quiet.
I recently heard a sermon by J.D. Greear on Acts 9:13-31. One of his main points was that “Paul was chosen yet God took many years to prepare him”. He provided some other examples of individuals in Scripture that were called by God but went through a season of waiting first, a “delayed preparation”:
Paul, 17 years: Scholars agree that there were at least 17 years between his calling in Acts 9 his missionary commission in Acts 13.
Moses, 40 years: God chose him to lead Israel out of Egypt. Instead of doing that right away, he spent the next 40 years tending sheep in the desert.
David, 15 years: God anointed him to be King of Israel but then he went back to being a shepherd.
Joseph, 20 years: God told Moses he would use him to save Israel but then sent him off to slavery and prison first.
God used those periods of waiting to soften them and prepare them for accomplishing His purposes.
And this isn’t just about “waiting”… Slow growth is the embracing of the quiet sanctification that God accomplishes in your heart AS you wait.
It’s the painfully small, necessary steps towards Christlikeness.
Because maybe slow growth looks like slow death…
This is the hard part. Slow growth requires death to self, the surrender of our will, and the letting go of our expectations and allowing God to do His work in and through us.
So don’t be afraid of the wait. Be OK with the fact that maybe God isn’t asking you to do more. Be OK with the fact that maybe God is just asking you to be still and surrender to His sanctifying work in your heart. Rejoice in intentional growth. Take a cue from nature– slow and steady growth develops deep roots and rich fruit.
“That they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”Isaiah 61:3
read more on God’s timing in seasons of life: “When Life Brings change, but you’re not ready”