Let me tell you a story.
Two farmers went out to plant crops. They both painstakingly prepared the ground, removing rocks and debris or weeds that could hinder growth. Then they carefully arranged the seed, making sure to plant them in the most productive patterns. The sun shined down on the ground and the rain fell to water the soil.
Then the two farmers went to bed.
As time went on, the first farmer diligently went about his business, making sure the ground was free of rocks and debris or weeds, watering the seedbeds daily, and going to bed each night. The second farmer did the same, but every night he would go out to his seedbeds and dig up the earth. He pulled the seeds out and examined them in the moonlight, gauging their growth from the previous night, before returning them to the soil.
After a few months, the first farmer’s crops were growing and would soon give him great abundance at harvest times. His silos would be full and his family fed. However, the second farmer’s crops never grew. Because he was digging up the seeds every night they never had a chance to firmly establish in the soil. The farmer had no crops at harvest time. His silos were empty and his family starved.
Now, let me tell you about that story.
Any long term goals take patience and perseverance. When you’re doing what it takes to reach those goals, you often wonder “Am I doing this right? Is it going to work out?” But just like the first farmer, you have no idea what is happening below the surface. You have no idea how your seed is doing – how it’s growing or maturing.
If your long term goals involve networking, you have no idea what others are saying about you when you’re not there. You’ve done all you can to make the right contacts – planting seed as you go – now it’s up to the soil of good intention to do the rest. You may go weeks without a contact, but the seed is still there, working its way through the earth.
If your goals are long term, then you can’t stare at the short term.
If your long term goals involve getting into shape, you can’t measure the success on a day-to-day basis. It’s what happens over the long haul that counts. If your long term goals involve education, you can’t complete that degree in one day. If your long term goals involve writing a book, learning a craft, or moving up the ladder at work, you have no idea what your short term patience and perseverance will gain you since you can’t see the future.
About a month ago I was frustrated. I felt like the wheels were moving a lot slower than I had hoped. Then God whispered to me one short sentence that made all the difference – “You don’t know the size of the seed you’ve planted.” You and I have no way of knowing the future, just like those farmers. They both prepared the soil, arranged the seed, and kept watering. But one was anxious while the other was patient. One worried while the other trusted.
When you’re in the middle, it’s impossible to see where in the middle you are. You may be a lot closer than you think but a lot farther away than you want. But you’ll never know the size of the seed until harvest time. Any worrying between now and then will only lead to disappointment.
What are you trying to accomplish right now that seems to be taking forever? What can you be doing now – through patience and perseverance – while you wait for the harvest?