I've been guilty many times of "running faster than I have strength". Even though I still am guilty of this from time to time, I began to learn this lesson line upon line on my mission. Below are some of my thoughts I wrote down on the topic and quotes I found related to the subject...
May 21, 2005
How do you maintain faithful? When disbelief creeps in, when things don't go exactly perfect or when you see the task at hand will require even more patience or hard work? What do you do? Sometimes it's so easy to give up and settle for mediocracy. How do you avoid that? How do you keep that desire burning? Also, how do you not wear yourself out initially because your hopes are so great, you get to work, hard work, and then you begin to burn out? How do you avoid that?
May 28, 2005
I do think I've been running a little faster than I have strength. I've been super tired this week. On top of walking the streets practically everyday this week, I've also been getting up early to exercise longer and I've been eating healthier and less snacks, more veggies. So between all this, my body is worn out.
How do I expect to maintain such a pace? Basically I'm trying to cram everything in what should've been spread out over a long period of time. My trying to work hard to see quick results is basically a lack of patience. God's pace is one of nature. Things take time and by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. Basically me trying to do everything and more to see my desired results is more a demonstration of my trust in my own knowledge and lack of patience. Instead I should make permanent changes- those that through diligence, I can maintain. With patience I wait to reap the effects of my diligence. My faith in God should include patience and diligence. Not a burst of energy and short lived efforts. Moderation in all things, right?
May 31, 2005
I got to thinking about something I'd read in church news. "What we need are not short frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the steady and tranquil dedication of a lifetime". This set my thoughts off. By small and simple means.
I've been waiting this past few weeks for the sun tan line from my watchband to show up. You'd think with the sun and time spent in the streets that it'd be pretty prominent by now, but it's not. It's been a very gradual process. There hasn't been one significant day when I could come home and say, "Okay, after today I've finally got the tan". It's been a little everyday, so little I can't tell the progress.
I began thinking about how all the good things in life or those things which are more lasting take time, patience and diligence...suntanning, getting in shape, maintaining a clean house, growing a plant, spirituality, learning, musical talents, long distance running, and forgiveness.
This list could go on, but all these things require steady effort, not just a once and a while burst of energy or action. Our commitment and desire is shown in consistency.
It's been the little things I've tried to do throughout my mission consistently- like street contacts- that help me feel confident about my efforts here and the things I've learned and gained.
June 1, 2005
Hermana Lindsay asked (Lola) how her blood pressure was and she said it was doing better and made some comment how levels of stress affect it. I asked her how she copes with stress. Her comment was so simple yet it taught me something so profound. She said, "Siguo adelante haciendo las cosas con tranquilidad" (I keep moving forward calmly doing things). I like that. We have to keep moving forward because if we become idle, that invites the stress of tasks unfinished, but on the other end of the spectrum, it's also possible to run faster than we have strength. We can stress ourselves out with too fast of a pace. Lola went on to say, "life is like driving on a freeway. We can go fast or at a more moderate pace. Either way we will arrive, but one with less stress and more security." I made my own comment to that. "The one with the more moderate pace will also arrive with more gas left at the end of his journey."
It's not the one big suntanning session which brings the lasting summer tan.
The one time extra low-fat salad and hard once in a while work-out that brings good health.
The deep spring cleaning that brings the reputation of a clean house.
The drenching a seed with water once in a while that brings growth.
The emotionally born testimony once a year that brings the assurance of spirituality.
The crammed late night studying that qualifies one as an expert in a certain subject or brings sufficient preparation for a test.
The one time grand effort spent learning and practicing a song that brings musical talent.
The sprint at the beginning of a long race that brings the victory.
The one time pleading that brings forgiveness.
It is steady, consistant dedication to principle that brings preparation. Repetitive habits will form who we are and what we have done. It is through the small, repetitive things that we see and show our commitments and dedication. - Me
Adopt the pace of Nature: her secret is patience. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
My soul, sit thou a patient looker-on; judge not the play before the play is done, her plot has many changes, everyday speaks a new scene, the last act crowns the play. -William Shakespeare
What we need are not short frenzied outbursts of emotion but the steady and tranquil dedication of a lifetime. -Adlai E. Stevenson
Sometimes excessive effort that lacks prudence and patience drives us to mistakes.
-DC manual, pg 21
I always wanted to do something great, but I have found that greatness is achieved in little pushes and shoves. -Helen Keller
When I think of pioneers, tragic scenes come to mind: handcarts in blizzards, sickness, frozen feet, empty stomachs and shallow graves.
However, as I learn more about that monumental trek I am convinced that along with those very real and dramatic scenes, most of the journey for most of the people was pretty routine. Mostly they walked and walked and walked...So what does all this have to do with us in our current world? I believe it has everything to do with us. Most of our lives are not a string of dramatic moments that call for immediate heroism and courage. Most of our lives rather, consist of daily routines, even monotonous tasks, that wear us down and leave us vulnerable to discouragement. sure we know where we're going, and if it were possible we would choose to jump out of bed, work like crazy, and be there by nightfall. But our goal, our journey's end, our Zion is life in the presence of our Heavenly Father. And to get there we are expected to walk and walk and walk. This week-after-week walking forward is no small accomplishment. The pioneer steadiness, the plain, old hard work of it all, their willingness to move inch by inch, step by step toward the promise land inspire me as much as their more obvious acts of courage. It is so difficult to keep believing that we are making progress when we are moving at such a pace- to keep believing in the future when the mileage of the day is so minuscule...President Howard W. Hunter said, "True greatness...always requires regular consistent, small, and sometimes ordinary and mundane steps over a long period of time." How easy it is to want quick and dramatic results in exchange for a day's labor! And yet how happy people are who have learned to bend with the rhythm of paced and steady progress- even to celebrate and delight in the ordinariness of life. Don't be discouraged.
- Virginia H. Pearce (Keep Walking & Give Time A Chance, General Conference 4/97)
The people of the city of Enoch are remembered by us as good- so incredibly good- that the whole city was taken up into heaven. But if we read carefully, we see that the city of Zion was taken up into heaven "in process of time" (Moses 7:21). Just like the pioneers, just like you and me, it must have been a process of walking forward, step by step, over a long period of time.
The indra swallowtail butterfly is one of nature's most spectacular specimins. Laboratory scientists have carefully chronicled its life cycle. An egg is laid at just the right spot on the food plant. Within five days it hatches and grows into a black caterpillar with yellow-orange dots. When mature, the caterpillar creates its own chrysalis. Most emerge after two years. But some, and this is an interesting observation- have been known to remain in the chrysalis for up to seven years. Then, unexpectedly, within a few short hours the once-spotted caterpillar emerges as a gorgeous black butterfly and take flight. Did this caterpillar become a butterfly in a few short hours or in seven years?...Those who understand their own personal growth patiently continue to pray, do their daily work, and give time a chance.
The vernacular for this is "Just hang in there!"
-Virginia H. Pearce, Ensign 5/97