Good things take time, so adjust your attitude to heed this truth

Good things take time.  Life teaches us that lesson over and over, but we're usually too impatient to learn it.

My brother is a woodworker.  He makes beautiful furniture from solid oak.  Dave knows all about wood, and he can tell you that it takes decades for an oak tree to mature, but once it does, it produces a hard, stable lumber that can last generations. On the other hand, poplar matures in just a few years.  Unfortunately, its wood is soft, weak, and not much good for anything.

As single people, we want our good things right now.  We want to get on with living happily ever after, so the sooner it starts, the better.  Too bad the real world doesn't work that way.

Reaching maturity takes time

We've all seen teenagers smoking cigarettes because they think they'll look like adults sooner.  Heck, maybe you were one of them.

In most instances, there's no magic formula for instant maturity.  Some young people have responsibility thrust upon them by tragic circumstances, and they have to learn to deal with problems far beyond their years.  The majority of us grow up slower.

If you grasp the truth that good things take time, you'll realize that as much as you try, you can't do anything to rush them.  Once you accept that, you find yourself with The Big Question:

What should I do while I'm waiting?

The answer is preparing yourself.  Often when we look at the goal, we can think our way backwards to see what we have to do to get there.

In the case of marriage, we can all take a hard look at our personality and start working to eliminate those irritating habits and poor character traits that will surely cause friction.

Along the way, you'll not only become more attractive, but you'll turn yourself into a nicer person that your spouse won't get honked off at so often.  A new marriage has enough adjustments as it is.  Your spouse shouldn't have to parent you by picking up your dirty clothes or scolding you about being late.

One of my goals was early retirement.  I realized two things early on.  First, I would need a lot of money socked away, and second, I would need to live very frugally once I did retire.  So I started saving and investing.  I stayed on a tight budget and did not live extravagantly.

I met my goal.  I retired at age 51, but only because I did those two things diligently.  FOR 20 YEARS.  Because I knew good things take time, I prepared.  I persevered.  I kept my eye on the prize and rarely had a setback because I didn't expect anybody to do it for me.  I was a grownup about it.

Be open to God's guidance over time

Besides preparing on your own, you also need to be open to God's guidance.  It's hard to change yourself, sometimes so hard it's almost impossible.  But that's God's job, if you're truly sincere.

God can turn you into the person you want to be, but only if you don't fight him.  I used to have a problem with being sarcastic.  I asked God to help me get rid of that bad habit, and over a period of years he did.  It didn't happen quickly because good things take time. 

Are you getting the idea yet?

I read the Bible every day to receive God's wisdom.  That's something I have to make myself do, but the Holy Spirit is gracious with me because he knows I'm serious about this.

When you look back over your own life, you'll begin to see a pattern of development.  You will recognize that good things take time.  Whether it's a musical or artistic talent you have nurtured through practice, an athletic skill, or a diploma or degree you have earned, you'll notice that the worthwhile cannot be rushed.  The Bible says we must sow before we can reap.

Write out a plan of what you, yourself have to do.  Work at it.  Make adjustments.  Ask for help from experienced, knowledgable people.  When you fail, pick yourself up, analyze what went wrong, and keep trying.  Never quit.

At the same time, pray to God for help.  If your goal will honor him, he will help you achieve it, or sometimes he'll steer you to something even better, as he did me.

Keep plugging away every day.  Each small step brings you closer.  Don't shoot for overnight success but rather steady, measurable progress.  And always keep this truth in sight:  Good things take time.

Return to top of good things take time.