The Bible says a lot about waiting. Be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD! Patience is the fruit of the Spirit and all that. You know. You’ve heard it.
And it’s true. Waiting is a good thing.
Except for when it’s not.
Last weekend my six-year-old was having a rough day. She’d been sick, and I insisted she spend Saturday doing quiet activities. So she tried drawing. But her sickness combined with her fatigue combined with her clingy I-want-Mommy mood added up to whining (hers) and frustration (mine), neither of which is, um, quiet.
“I can’t do it!” She squawked. “I don’t know how to draw an elephant! I messed up the ears and now my picture is ruined and I HATE drawing forever!!!!”
“Let me see it.”
“NO!!! It’s terrible!”
“I’ll bet I can help you fix it.”
“NO!! I don’t ever want to draw again, ever! All I want to draw is animals and I don’t know how to draw them!” She crumpled her paper and tossed it on the floor in a heap of eraser crumbs and tears.
I just wanted peace. I wanted her to feel better. And I knew I had a solution. Something to make it all go away.
That solution was tucked inside a secret Amazon box in my closet with all the rest of the Christmas present stash. A few weeks earlier I’d ordered a book on how to draw animals—the perfect treat for my daughter whose fierce affection for animals is equal only to her love of drawing.
So I wrestled. I could give it to her that very moment. I could help her learn to draw. I could cheer her heart and—glory be—give myself a break from the whining.
But it was a Christmas gift! I was supposed to wait ‘til Christmas! Because that’s what parents do. Those are the Christmas present rules.
And yet. As much as waiting is a virtue, sometimes action can be, too. So I caved. I gave her the book.
“What’s this?” She turned her frowny face up to mine and her eyes glistened with something more than tears. It looked a little like joy.
“It’s a book on how to draw animals. I chose it especially for you. It was supposed to be a Christmas present, but I’m giving it to you early because I want you to know how to draw an elephant. I want you to know that you can be successful drawing an elephant. And a fox. And a crow. And look,” I shuffled through the pages, “here’s a pig and a hippo and a kitty cat.”
“Mom! Look! There’s a dragon!”
“Yes, there’s even a dragon. I want you to draw me this dragon.”
And just like that, her tears ceased. Her smile grew. She hugged me and told me again and again how I’m the best mom in the world. (Gifts are her love language, hey, I roll with it.)
And I have to tell you what happened next. She drew that dragon, alright. She drew the best dang dragon I’ve ever seen from a six-year-old’s hand. Then she spent TWO DAYS straight drawing every animal she could find in this little five-dollar book that was probably going to be a stocking stuffer at most. But—instead of getting lost in the pile of “more important” gifts, this book got primo attention. It generated hours and hours of contentment. It brought us both relief from the grouchiness and captured my daughter’s heart.
All because why?
I chose not to wait.
I chose to take action.
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act” (Proverbs 3:27).
See, waiting is good. Waiting is trust. Waiting is often required and rewarded in due time.
But there’s a difference between waiting and delaying.
Delaying is not an act of trust.
Who or what in your life right now is due some attention? What have you been putting off that might bless somebody, help somebody, grow somebody, or heal somebody’s heart? I know you might have other plans, other agendas, other schedules, just like my little drawing book was supposed to be given at Christmas—not some arbitrary Saturday morning weeks before.
But our timing is not God’s timing. Surely we know that from all that doggone waiting we’ve endured.
Just like sometimes He tells us to wait, sometimes He also tells us to go. Do. Act. Help.
Don’t put it off.
My little girl now has a stack of papers filled with about 30 different animals and twelve varieties of birds. She can’t wait to get home from school today to draw some more. She is learning and smiling and building confidence. All because I saw a need and I acted on it, in spite of my best laid plans.
Can you do that today, too?
The blessing just might be mutual.
Mine sure was.
What to Read Next: Why We Should Let Our Children Go
LOVE this one, Becky, my friend!
I fear I would have just been frustrated along with my child…. thanks for the reminder about options. But now I also want to know the name of this magical book that takes a child’s interest and results in beautiful pieces of art.
It’s Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals. So sweet! http://amzn.to/2glCDND 🙂