Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Are you a Smurf or an Ark Runner?

Does anyone remember the little blue cartoon characters called the Smurfs? Well, the other day I was enjoying watching them on television with my two toddlers. One of the Smurfs was growing impatient as Papa Smurf was leading them on this long journey. The irritated Smurf piped up and asked Papa Smurf, “Are we there yet?” I chuckled to myself as I heard this question because it reminded me of myself as a youngster. Patience was never my strong suit growing up and I still struggle with it today! Papa Smurf graciously replied, “Be patient, in a little while!”.

So many times throughout my life I wanted to complete projects or assignments at school as quickly as I could because I didn’t have the patience or self discipline to work at them properly.  By doing this, I ended up taking short cuts that would cost me in the long run. I would make careless mistakes or worse than that I would end up having to start all over again because I didn’t learn the lesson properly the first time.   I can still hear my dad saying to me, “Work smarter not harder!”  I wasted so much time because of my pride thinking I could cheat the system, when in reality, I was cheating myself.  For some reason my goal was to just finish as quickly as I could and that meant success. Much later in life, I learned that success was not always about finishing but more so in persevering and learning through the process of completing something. Wow, that was a huge lesson for me and still is today!

As humans, we want to take those short cuts. We tend to think shortcuts are going to get us to our end result faster and easier but ultimately it only delays us that much more. A friend of mine and I were joking about how we both tend to be “Ark Runners” ,meaning that we’re similar to the  old servants of God who would  run ahead of the Ark of the Lord in the Old testament and get killed for it! Sure, we laugh about it but it holds some truth!  Running faster or taking short cuts is not always the best way to compete, just look at the  Aesop’s Fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare.” Bottom line in this story-  be the Tortoise!   However, God does not physically kill us but He definitely kills or rather  humbles that pride in us  that allows us to think  we can just take short cuts or run ahead of the process of life.  Timing is everything to God!  He has nothing but time in His hands because He is the author of  it! Hello? Too bad some of us don’t take into consideration that God’s daily planner is not bound to earthly time but rather eternal time.

 Cutting corners is a lack of impatience and self – discipline.  Albert Gray once said, “The common denominator of success lies in forming the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.” Let’s think about that for a moment. Can you think of some things that you didn’t want to have to work at because you didn’t have the patience or self-discipline to persevere through them? What were the consequences to that?  It might be a failed relationship, finances, school work or a job. Whatever it was, did it cause an obstacle for you?

Self discipline is a quality that is acquired through practice.  In order to be successful you have to be willing to do what does not come natural. You must be also willing to be held accountable to standards.  Real success is in the experience and process of getting to the end result no matter how you feel.  So many times, we are focused on the end that we miss out on all the wisdom we can gain by facing our fears and challenges through it.  God is met in the middle of the process! Suffering consequences for not following through is a great reminder to help you stay on track, so don’t fight the failures, embrace them!
We can’t be impatient Smurfs and we definitely can’t be “Ark Runners!”. Ask yourself today, have I cut corners or ran ahead in something that I should have taken the time to work through with patience and perseverance? If so, it is not too late to just sit back and enjoy the scenery and take in all the bumps in the road. Each bump has its purpose.  Eventually, you will get there and until you do, remember what Papa Smurf would say, “Be patient, just a little while longer!”

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