Where’s my Treat?

Every day, I walk my shih tzu “Paisley” in the morning &  evening as part of her daily ritual. I like to think of it more for her than me since (1) it’s her restroom time outside of the house and (2) it’s a surefire way to get her a doggie treat. When we return from potty time, she stops at the front door, turns around politely and waits patiently for her doggie treats. It boggles my mind how she has become accustomed to this being the spot where she will receive her treats for being a
good dog and going outside.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and the daily walks have become the walk of dread because I now have a sinus infection.  I have no desire to walk Paisley, let alone even move sideways in the bed to blink my eyes because it hurts so much. I do what I
can and slide out of bed with a sweatshirt over my pajamas because if I don’t, she will take it personally and let it out on my carpet and floors. How ironic that she taught me a valuable lesson about expectations while I could barely breathe.

When you are sick, you go on autopilot because everything seems to take so much more effort.   My goal with Paisley was to cut it to five minutes outside, rush her to go for five more (don’t judge me) and hurry up so I can get back in the bed. Because I’ve forgotten the deal, I jumped back in the bed after setting my pillow back up for maximum comfort and went back to resting. It took me 30 minutes to realize that Paisley was nowhere to be found.

I got out of bed, a bit delirious since I can’t remember if I locked her out accidentally and roam around to find her at the door. She’s sitting perfectly, quiet, and waiting expectantly on the rug for her treat. Ain’t that something? She didn’t move from her spot because she hadn’t gotten her treat yet. Instead of pouting, giving up, barking, or even lowering herself by going in the garbage to find her own treat, she simply waited patiently at the location she was used to receiving her reward for doing what she was supposed to do. I was sick, but I couldn’t help seeing a lesson that sometimes is easy to forget. How often do we start whining or plotting our own way of getting what we want when we get tired of waiting for our “treat?”

My ten pound dog reminded me of the need to be faithful in waiting on God’s promises, to continue to do my part, and not to move out of position while waiting for my blessing. She could have easily gone in the garbage, but that still wouldn’t have gotten her the treat she really wanted. According to Paisley, some things are worth waiting for. So says the Lord God as well. Stay in position and don’t get weary. The blessing or “treat” Paisley would say (if she could speak), is on the way.

6:9 Let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time, we will reap a blessing if we don’t give up.


Trusting His Timing

Do you ever have those moments where you just not willing to wait anymore?   Maybe you want a new car after you see a two door Mercedes blaze by you on the freeway.  In a split second,  you’ve convinced yourself it’s time to get rid of the paid in full, reliable means of transportation to pick up a car note you promised yourself you’d never have again. Or, perhaps it’s the latest Gucci bag that your favorite celebs have been seen running around town with that sparks your next splurge at the mall.  And of course, I can’t leave out the die-hard romantic that has to meet, beat and greet their deadline for marriage, baby, and the white picket fence all before the age of thirty.  You may say yes, I must have what I want when I want it regardless of the outcome. But here’s the caveat: God gives us free will to do whatever we choose at anytime, but being impatient and unwilling to wait can create more chaos than you bargained for whether it’s bills, heartache, or just unnecessary stress.  

For the record, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having wants or desires. When God created us, he took time to create unique individuals whose wants and needs would vary from one person to the next.  So of course, he delights in blessing his children with their heart’s desires as long as they don’t become wacky, unhealthy obsessions that consume our every waking breath. Even so, there is also something to be said for putting in the work, the very HARD and necessary work to develop the patience and maturity  needed to maintain the things we claim to want (or need) so badly.

Here’s my true confession lesson on learning to wait.  I shop so much at the BCBG outlet to the point that I’ve become a “client.” The sales reps greet me by name, even know where I work,   and “miss me” when I’ve been away from the store too long.  While some would be flattered by this attention, it’s not a good thing since my personal goal was to stop shopping so much to help pad my savings.  Anyway, I noticed a pattern while stalking a fabulous black winter coat for a couple of months. First, it was priced at $450, eventually dropping to $250 after a couple of weeks on the rack. Another month passed and I was stunned as the price of the coat was down to $175. Although I wanted to, I didn’t buy it at first sight and learned a simple, powerful lesson. The more I’m willing to wait, the more I’m going to save in the long run. I could have easily been stubborn and inched my way to the register, but three things would have happened. (1) My credit card bill would have been higher than necessary taking much need money from my savings. (2) While I would look cute on the outside, I’d be broke on the inside since I wouldn’t have the extra money to take care of other needs that were much more important. (3) I take two steps backwards in learning to trust that what I truly need,  God will provide. Now, I’m not saying I’m 100% cured of impulsive shopping purchases, but you get   the point.

A dear friend of mine struggles with another form of waiting, and that’s for the perfect job.  We all know we can’t come out of high school with a six figure salary, but what happens when we develop our skills, get the degree, certifications, and the experience, and still aren’t rewarded by the company we have been faithfully devoted to serving? While most people grasp the concept that their strengths are valuable and can be used in another setting, she’s stuck believing this is the only company that can validate her worth.  How so? She calls human resources. Yup, she calls just to see if they have changed their minds about NOT offering her the position. Side note: Constantly calling human resources to make sure they haven’t forgotten you, is a surefire way to get them to forget you!!  A wise mentor once told me when people choose not to see your value, it’s time to shake the dust off your feet, and move to a place where they will.   I’ve witnessed time and time again that the very door that’s closed in our face is often the shove we need to move forward and into the ideal place.  I think my friend would benefit more by opening her eyes to the path that God is directing her towards instead of pursuing the human resource office. The real hazard is that she loses confidence in herself each time she tries to force herself into a situation she’s obviously outgrown.  It reminds me of a size ten foot being squeezed into a stiletto meant for a size eight.  Imagine how many corns your toes would have from constantly walking around in shoes too small.  And nobody I know likes corns……

My final example is something everyone has seen up close and personal. Everyone knows a friend or family member so ready to get to the finish line of marriage that they focus more on the venue and the flowers instead of preparing for the day-to-day experience of living together. Since there is a credible 50/50 chance of divorce in the United States, it just makes sense to take advantage of the many opportunities for pre-marital counseling as preparation. Honestly, it would give more folk a fighting chance to survive the grim statistics if they took the time to wade through discussions of sensitive topics like “how many kids do you want?” and “how many times will we have sex a week?”  Maybe it would even cut down on waking up some days and wondering, did I really marry a creature from the Black Lagoon? I have heard it over and over, and I will say it here for those who don’t know. Marriage is incredibly hard work. And I strongly believe that sometimes, waiting and having the difficult conversations before you set a date is really a part of the process of knowing whether you are truly ready to commit to a healthy relationship. One of my favorite scriptures about the beauty of waiting is wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart. Surely, since he loves us, wants the best for us, and knows that marriage will sometimes try our hearts, he simply ask for us to learn to wait on him for the things we want because he truly knows the things we will need to sustain them. And let’s face it, I don’t think there’s a person around can sustain anything with a weak heart.

And yes, I know several couples who went through pre-marital counseling and divorced. But I know far more who chose to ignore the signs, pushed past the red flags, because they were more consumed with the idea of being married instead of being committed in a meaningful relationship. Again, there is nothing wrong with wanting and desiring love, but wouldn’t it be nice to be ready financially, emotionally, and spiritually, even if it means I miss my deadline of having it by age 25, 30, or 35? With the sting of divorce affecting even those who always said “I will never leave my spouse”, it might be worth it to work through legitimate concerns before getting blinded by dinner menus and the all-inclusive honeymoon packages on your wedding day.   

Whether it’s the patience to handle the ups and downs of a relationship, the discipline to live debt free,  or simply doing what you love and being justly rewarded for it, it all requires that we put in the work, but also that we value waiting for the right time as well as opportunity. It would be a shame if the things we desire fail because we have no idea to maintain them.

I used to be one of those women who had to have a relationship, the clothes, regardless of the warning signs or consequences. Thankfully, I’ve learned the value of working while waiting. Not  saying that I don’t mess and make a poor choice now and then, but the drama, the stress, and the headaches keep getting smaller day by day. Whatever the goal, it’s worth the work. Whatever the want, it’s worth the wait.  Let’s just make sure whatever it is, we know how to keep it once we get it.