Monday, December 15, 2014

Not in a Single Year (In fact, not in 25 years)

I've heard that my generation expects success to come early and easily. We expect to have everything our parents have as soon as we get a job following college graduation. The problem is that our parents have been building what they have for 25+ years while we've been at it for a year or two, so the expectation is unrealistic.

In some ways, I'd like to argue that I haven't done this. I didn't expect a big house or a job that pays what my dad's did after he was over 20 years into his career. But, actually, I'm guilty, too.

When I was in college, one of my professors said of a star writing student, "He could be published by age twenty-five."

I had a couple problems with this statement.

First, of course, the professor was talking to me but not about me. Talk about a blow to the ego. Why wasn't I a star??

Second, I fully expected to be published before age twenty-five. I had finished book-length manuscripts and was querying literary agents (meaning I was approaching publishing professionals with my writing, for anyone not in the industry). Why was it so amazing to the professor that a star could be published by twenty-five? And if I was not the star, what age would she estimate for my publication?

Well, as I sit at my keyboard this morning, I'm thirty-one and still haven't gotten that book contract. And at my twenty-fifth birthday, I was pretty depressed about it.

But somewhere between then and where I am now, I let that go (mostly...). I was successful in other areas, and I was proud of that. And, having traveled six years past the magical age of twenty-five, I can see that there's a journey to success.

It's made up of successes and mistakes and setbacks. I've made ground and lost ground, and along the way, I've learned a lot. I'm more prepared for success in skill and experience now than I would've been, had I reached my goal earlier.

That's why these verses stood out to me when I came across them this morning: I will send terror ahead of you to drive out the Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites. But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply and threaten you. I will drive them out a little at a time until your population has increased enough to take possession of the land. (Exodus 23:28-30, NLT)

God is mindful of what we can handle, and He knows that even success can overwhelm us. (Just look at lottery winners and child stars.) So, often, He brings us on a journey toward it instead of giving it to us overnight-or in one year... or in twenty-five years.

Love,
Your Sister

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