“I would’ve gladly taken lemons! Lemons?? Are you kidding me?! I would’ve gone above and beyond lemonade, made lemon pie or lemon cookies or just eaten that refreshing lemon by its awesome self. There’s nothing so bad about lemons! But, no, I didn’t get lemons this time. This time, I got lentils. Those tiny little bean-like things that look like seeds. In fact, I’m pretty sure they are just seeds. They’re supposedly good for you, but they’re kind of annoying to eat cause you don’t know what they’re doing in your meal and they have no taste. Lentils are boring. And that’s what I got.”
What do you do when life gives you lentils? These are the circumstances that produce yawns. These are the years that seem like a clone of the previous boring year. These are the sleep-inducing moments in life when nothing seems to be happening. And they always seem to occur when everything is happening to everyone else. No one new has entered your life, that job opportunity didn’t pan out, everything’s exactly the way it was. When nothing’s changing or we’re stuck in a rut, and we desperately want to move on in life, what perspective should we take? How do we view these times?
1. It won’t last forever…speaking from experience, I know that while it feels as though your life will never change and you’ll still be in the same spot 10 years from now, it’s not the truth. You’ll be wishing for the slow times soon enough. Except at that point you probably won’t refer to them as “slow” or “boring” but as “calm” and “peaceful” and maybe use phrases like “the good ole days.”
2. It’s good for you…lentils are healthy, remember? If nothing wildly exciting is currently happening to you, it might be a sign that you need a rest. Perhaps, you need to gear up for something soon to come. Focus on how you can put this time to good use. Maybe, you’ve been given a chance to do some maintenance.
3. Internal change is still change…often we tend to measure the changes in our lives with a yardstick that others can see. When we get to the end of the year and have very few things to tell our friends about in that Christmas letter, we might feel a little ashamed, right? But, that doesn’t mean we haven’t experienced change. It’s just change no one else can see. Be kind to yourself.
4. Change yourself!…so, as I was writing this post, “Man in the Mirror” popped up on Pandora radio (not kidding). If there’s no change in your life and you’re ready for one, make it happen. What can you do to affect your circumstances? Often there’s nothing happening to us and we can’t do anything about that, but sometimes, we have the ability to affect change. Thank you, Michael Jackson. (That’s the last time I’m ever saying that on this blog.)
5. Maybe someone needs you…If everything is happening to everyone else, maybe your service is needed. If everyone’s going crazy all at once, who’s going to be the voice of reason? Be on the lookout for ways you can be strong or wise for the people going through upheaval right now.
6. Learn patience… I’m not going to expound on the virtuous qualities of patience (we’ve all heard it), but I will say that we have tons of opportunities to learn patience and we often pass them by. Soooo many times in my life, I’ve felt like waving my hand in the air and yelling to God, “My turn! My turn!” And, what I’m really supposed to do is wait for my turn quietly. It’s hard. But, if you practice it every chance you get, it’ll become easier.
7. Thank God my life’s boring…If your life is calm, if your routine is still routine, that means you’re not living in the war torn middle east, you’re not frantically searching for your missing child, and you’re not battling a deadly disease. Take a moment to remember the sweetness of peace.
I say these things to you because I need to say them to myself right now. Viewing slow times in a positive way is not my natural inclination, but I must try. Being hopeful for whatever it is we’re waiting for is the only thing to do. We should do it with thankfulness for the present and trust that God has a reason for everything, including the seemingly boring phases of life. Do you have thoughts on this topic? Please share them!
And don’t forget to eat your lentils! 🙂