By Matthew Piling
I grew up in farm country in Alberta, Canada. Though we weren’t farmers, I spent enough time around farming to learn a few of its inherent lessons. One of the most important lessons that I learned from it was this–in a land with a very short growing season and fairly extreme, harsh conditions outside of that season, 2 things were critical–1) plant at the right time, and 2) harvest at the right time.
I think both of these rules apply to our application of the Law of Gestation, as well. We often talk about giving things the time that they take and not uprooting things before they (or we) are ready. We understand the idea of harvesting at the right time. But, in regards to our goals and dreams, I believe we could do better at understanding and applying the first rule of planting at the right time.
Gestation of any desire has a preset period. It takes a specific amount of time for anything to transmute. But, if the process of transmutation is started at the wrong point, gestation can’t happen correctly. If farmers planted crops too early, it wouldn’t have the warmth and sunshine that it needed and the young, frail seedlings would not thrive. They also ran the risk of late freezes killing off the fragile plants. And, if they planted too late, there wouldn’t be enough time left in the season for the plants to bear fruit. When the cold of fall came, strong, healthy stalks would often die before fruition. Either case felt like a large waste of time and investment.
Not all ideas have a long gestation period or a specific growing season. But, most of the large important ones do. We’ve all known someone who applied for a job that they weren’t yet ready for and watched as one of two things happened–either they felt devastated when they weren’t really considered for the job, or they felt incredibly overwhelmed if they somehow got the job. Neither is an ideal situation and neither bears their desired fruit. Both can lead us to believe that the whole system just doesn’t work. But, when a person who is ready steps into the job situation that God has been preparing for them, it is breathtakingly amazing to watch the orchestration of doors opening and connections being made, ushering them along to success. If we hold our treasured ideas up to God and ask for His blessing and guidance, He will let us know when the time is right.
When I first met my wife, I felt the magic immediately. It wasn’t infatuation or puppy love. There was just a feeling of compatibility that I had never experienced before. We were at a social function and we talked for hours. As we talked, I noticed that two older ladies kept cautiously glancing at me and smiling. “They’re just sitting there watching us fall in love,” I thought. There was no confirmation that this was the person I was to marry or anything of the sort. Just a unique and a familiar feeling.
A few weeks of dating passed and we both felt incredibly comfortable with each other in all the right ways. Then, one evening, my bride-to-be let me know that, at that point she wasn’t ready for marriage. She had been proposed to multiple times before and each time, it had been a frustrating experience for her. At that point I had to trust that, if she was the right person, the time would eventually come, and that, if she wasn’t (though I already knew that she was), then a better plan was already in store for me. Either way, when she expressed her concerns, I was so glad that I hadn’t rushed things out of concern that someone else might snatch her up or that with time, she might get to know the real me and determine that she wanted something better. Not rushing things allowed me to enjoy the blissful moments along the way, rather than fill them with off-putting anxious energy, and to be even more sure that things were right when the time did come. 22 years later, I’m still glad that I was patient in planting the seed.
The funny thing about the important seeds we plant in our minds–though we can hinder or halt their purposeful growth through our neglect, once they take root, we can never unplant them. Oliver Wendell Holmes taught that a mind stretched by a new idea can never regain its original shape. By that logic, once an idea has caught hold in our mind (especially when it has reached the subconscious), it will eternally have a place there. If, in our impatience, we decide to no longer nourish an idea and help the process of transmutation, that thought will still draw on our resources and grow to be something. Regret, feelings of not being good enough, and fear of engaging in bigger and better things all stem from this problem. It is important, probably more so than we generally realize, that we be selective about the ideas that we plant and that we patiently nourish them to fruition. And, once we’ve selected an idea as worthy of planting, we need to be willing to hold the seed until the right moment. Holding the seed in our heart, we can imagine and enjoy the harvest that will come. Then, when the spark comes, we need to act. As the plant grows additional sparks will come, guiding us in when to water and to fertilize and to wait. The more adept we become at following those sparks of inspiration, the more natural the Law of Gestation will become to us and the easier the waiting period will be.
God holds all things in His hands and orchestrates the movements of the universe. He is aware of our desires and will play all of the right notes at all of the right times for us. Patience then, is less a game of simple waiting and more a game of trust. He has given us the seeds and He intends that we will grow a bountiful harvest together. Work together with Him and the harvest cannot be prevented.
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