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December 08, 2012

some things take time

It is 2:30am in my strip of the globe, and I am having trouble sleeping again. Perhaps my body clock is entirely confused or my mind is too busy processing new information. Whatever the case, today will be my sixth day in Asia; there's so much to take in.

Between business meetings, interviews and cultural introductions, I have been itching to write again. Aching for quiet stretches of time when I can use written words to think about life and God. Writing seems to help me make sense of living with Him, and I've lived so much life over the last month or two that I feel I have a lot to write about. Right now.

But most blog posts pass through a process. They've known previous lives as fragments of documents on my computer, Post-It notes on my desk or journal entries on my bedside stand. Raw ideas which I fear to leave unattended lest other eyes see them before the refining process takes place. Many drafted posts never make it into the real world or at least not in their originally-intended shape. I cannot "just post something" in this space. It takes time. 

We don't like things that take time, do we? We are accustomed to instant access to anything and everything. We want to know how quickly we can get through school, which company offers faster internet or which radio station can direct us to the quickest route home. Our phones respond to voice commands—because unlocking your smartphone and typing in a question (which would have been considered high-speed technology only a few years ago) is so passé. Instant coffee, Devotions for Women on the Go, pre-peeled garlic...you get the idea.

We're forgetting the joy of quiet and of waiting.
This greatly affects our ability to grow as beings made in the image of God. Life-changing ideas are often steeped by time, by the Word, by prayer, through circumstances and through relationships. There is a enormous difference between having access to facts and learning to compare and contrast ideas, to push the boundaries of our thinking, to come up with new-to-us connections and associations. A vast expanse lies between a simple Facebook friend and a true friend who has history with you, challenges you and reaches places in your life that few have reached. And the big Book's ideas illumine us but sometimes it takes years. Powerful ideas need time to disseminate.

One of life's simple pleasures is watching tea steep in a glass mug full of hot water. It's a quiet moment that contains such beauty. Have you watched it happen? The water goes from being clear to being completely coloured by the tea leaves in a matter of moments. But not instantly. Those few moments as the colour transfers are my favourite moments of the process. Ideas, too, need time to steep.

When I browse my own blog, it is a journey through what God has taught me over recent years. As I read it, I realize that God has been teaching me the same lessons for a long time. A few themes echo over, and over, and over. Because there's so much to take in. And some things take time. 

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