I am a product person. I don't know about you, but I love a finished product. I love the satisfaction of a task completed, a goal met or a dream reached! There is something so satisfying about the product.
On the other hand, I've not been much of a process person. I may want a job done well, but if it takes longer than the average popping time of a bag of microwave popcorn, it is inconvenient and not worth the effort. I've been trained well by a society that loves the instantaneous. Everything I could possibly need comes in the quick and easy. Or so I've been told.
I've even, at times, applied this to matters of faith. It would be so great if I could simply staple the fruit of the Spirit on my life's tree rather than actually take the time to see it grow. Psalm 1 encourages me to be like a tree who is planted by streams of living water that yeilds much fruit in season. In season? What does that mean? Am I really to wait for the season to come to bare fruit? Can't I simply do it on my own, and do it now! Process.
Jesus invites us to remain, abide in Him and we will bare fruit, fruit that will last. This whole analogy of fruit really messes with my need for instant gratification. I'm sure Jesus was not referring to obtaining fruit by means of a grocery, but rather by means of growth. Again, Process.
Each and every one of us is invited to live a life of process. As I walk along side of men and women in his/her faith journey I expect process. I get excited when i see growth and change take place, but some how with my own self, I've assumed I should be product ready at all times.
This idea has been challenged for me. It was in November that i decided to do something that I've always told myself I could never do, run a marathon. I've tried running before, but since I'd get tuckered out within the first minute I made the assumption I was incapable of running. This year, I decided to challenge that notion and set my eyes on a goal, a product. The fist step to reaching this goal was to commit myself to a process. Step two came in the form of inviting others to join me. Step three, a gracious friend gave me a fabulous Christmas gift and paid the entry fee for the race (The San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon). Step four, start running and just keep going. I found a training program and have stuck to it with diligence. I began by running in 30 second intervals. I continue to run/walk running 85% of the time. This weekend I will run/walk 14 miles! Miracles never cease! If you would have asked 10 weeks ago how far I could run, I'd say, "oh I'm not a runner." Today, only 10 weeks later I'd get to answer by saying, "I've run up to a half marathon!"
Ten weeks in the grand scheme of things doesn't seem to be that long, but if I was only concentrating on the finished product, I'd probably given up 9 weeks ago!
Reflecting on what it has taken for me to get where I am today, I realize that the process for training for a marathon is quite like the walk of faith. First step, commit to the journey of faith and the process of growth. Step two, invite others to journey with you. Step three, know your need and the needs of others, continually give out of your personal abundance and receive from those who desire to give to you. Step four, practice, implement, put on, and walk. Who knows where we could each be if we treated our walk with Jesus, the walk of faith like a process, not a product.
I will keep you posted as i continue to learn by running. My prayer for you is that you too will commit yourself to a process. Plant yourself by streams of living water, and when the season comes, you will bare much fruit! Fruit that will last.