Joined.

Intimacy.

Harvest.

At home.

Maturity.

None of those words connote efficiency, none of them are indicative of speed, but all of them—every single one—are symbolic of time and patience.

When the Holy Spirit nudges, prompts, or prods us in areas where He wants to refine us and make us more Christlike, this development rarely occurs over night. Many of us would prefer for Him to just supernaturally zap us with little effort of our own, wouldn’t we? Because if we just pray that He magically makes us more loving, it’s much easier than daily dying to ourselves and abiding in Him.

With any spiritual discipline or the formation of our character—growth takes time. And here’s the thing: it’s okay.

It’s important to remember we don’t have to be the fastest or the most efficient. No one memorizes the fruits of the Spirit in Vacation Bible School and then suddenly becomes fluent in all things related to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

It’s okay that we’re only slightly more loving today than we were last week. As our walk with Him grows in intimacy, next week we’ll be slightly more loving than we were this week. But six weeks from now, six months, six years? As we become more and more “at home” with Him, we will see the evidences of grace in our growth process.

So let’s uncross the arms and chill with the self-induced pressure. That’s the way our world functions, not our sanctification. God gives us permission to grow slowly, to abide, to mature. Shouldn’t we give the same permission to ourselves?

A former junior high English teacher, Jessica Bufkin currently serves as Editor for SingleRoots, a website that encourages Christian singles to be intentional with their lives and offers many resources for to assist them, including a free eBook, When Will I Get Married?

Publication date: October 2, 2012