One of my favorite Bible verses, Psalm 27:14, tells us to be courageous and to build strength through our faith in God. The courage and the strengthened heart both happen in His timing, as everything else does. A single sentence teaches a big lesson in patience but can offer much more when we apply it to our daily life.
As both sinners and followers, most of us are terrible with patience. As children, we are inpatient about the things we cannot yet do, innocently desiring to be older and wiser before it is time. As adults, we worry about the timing of our life choices, once again if they’re happening quickly enough or in the right order. And as the end of life approaches, the patience – or impatience – appears in a different form, as we decide whether or not we are ‘ready,’ and if we’ve accomplishment enough before we go.
The impatience usually leads us to manipulate our lives and mold them into what we
think will best suit what we want to happen. We force the hands, call the bluffs, ignore feelings, and sometimes even alter who we think we are to make a situation be right. “How can I make myself most available for the pathway of life I think I’m supposed to have?”
You already know this, but the impatience is rooted in ‘the fear of missing out.’ Accepting the mediocre out of fear that the ‘best’ will come along too late [or not at all] and if we have not accepted the mediocre opportunity, we will then have no opportunity. Simplistic things like Friday night plans or an outfit decision naturally do a disservice to the gravity of accepting mediocrity with big life decisions like employment and marriage. It’s like shopping online and the notification pops up that says, “HURRY! ONLY 3 ITEMS REMAIN!” Our entire lives are deciding whether to commit and put that pair of shoes in the cart or hold out for a sale price tomorrow or next week, risking the missed chance at the shoes all together.
‘If you want to make God laugh, plan.’
But even still, knowing that we aren’t to accept mediocrity, we are tempted to do it. Fear consumes us and fear clouds our judgment and we end up making decisions with the leading factor being concern of missing out. Be it over simplistic choices or big life lessons, these fear-based decisions often backfire and not only have we accepted mediocracy, disallowing the best for ourselves, we end up dissatisfied with the the mediocracy in the end. This undoubtedly impacts those involved and unless you’re a great actor, it’s hard work to pretend like you’re not unhappy with the mediocre.
All of that because we were afraid of ending up with nothing.
But is dissatisfaction with mediocracy something worth having? Is that even something?
I would argue it isn’t.
This isn’t to be confused with not being grateful for the blessings we are given. Of course we should be. But instead, it’s about asking yourself at what cost are you accepting mediocrity? What is the tradeoff? More importantly, what is it that you’re actually worried you’re going to miss out on? Is it what the world has determined you should attain and when? Is it that others have convinced you that you desire something?
It’s natural [and necessary] to have goals and earthly desires, but it’s also necessary for those goals and desires to be yours, rooted in your values and your faith and in the timing that is right for your life. The expectations the world has for you will never fit into the timeline of your own life.
This lesson, the lesson in patience, is about trusting your faith enough to know that God will not leave us with ‘nothing.’ If we feel like we have ‘nothing,’ our navigation is off.
It’s not an easy lesson and it’s hard to admit when something is outside of our control or won’t be happening in the time we set for ourselves. It’s admittedly a tough lesson for a control freak like myself and one I push and pull on daily, trying to find the balance between what I can do personally to avoid mediocrity and when it’s time to just give it all to God and wait, wait on The Lord. But it’s a lot easier to find solace in His timing when you know that your expectations are not the world’s, but yours and His.