“Proactive Patience”: One of the best tricks I’ve learned

Okay, so maybe it isn’t so much a “trick” as it is a truly effective way to a successful, satisfied life. If you’re like me, you don’t always (or ever!) have a lot of patience. But it’s when you’re trying to force things to happen that they don’t end up working out the way you want them. When I wanted to be in a relationship in the past, instead of waiting for the right person, I ended up with a very much WRONG person for a very long time. It wasn’t until I learned how to be patient that I found the love of my life.

However, I don’t think you should EVER just sit and “wait” for something to happen, either. Hence the concept of “Proactive Patience”: You have to do everything you possibly can to make something work–everything that’s within your control–and then, when you’re done doing that, you have to have faith that everything will work out the way it should.

I was reminded of this concept when I made cookies the other day. I found a recipe that promised the “best” chocolate chip cookies (because the recipe was actually called Best Chocolate Chip Cookies“). I followed the recipe to a tee, as you usually need to do if you want really good cookies. While they were in the oven, I read a review that suggested you leave the cookies on the hot cookie sheets for about 10 minutes after you take them out, so they can set up properly. As a non-patient person, I knew this would be a test for me.

I had divided the recipe in half, so I ended up with two cookie sheets full of cookies. After I took the first pan out, it bothered me that the cookies still seemed pretty doughy, but I put the second pan in and made myself leave the first alone. Sure enough, by the time the second pan was finished baking, the first cookies had set up perfectly. I mean perfectly.

That still didn’t stop me from picking at the second pan of cookies as I tried to analyze (and over-analyze) whether or not they would set up as beautifully as the first. I had to leave for a meeting soon, and the more and more I poked at the second pan of cookies, the more their doughiness began to annoy me. I hated the idea of leaving without really knowing how the cookies were going to turn out (I know–a little silly). Finally, I put them back into the turned-off oven and left, knowing that by the time I returned, they should definitely be baked all the way through!

They absolutely were completely baked by the time I got back–to the point where they now need a long dunking in milk in order to get soft enough to eat without breaking a tooth. Even though the first cookies were perfect, it was because I couldn’t just leave the second cookies alone that they ended up turning into the less-than-delectable snacks that they are now.

This lesson applies to not only baking, but also your life. When you create a plan (recipe) for yourself, follow it as best you can. Then, once you’ve completed all those steps, be patient in the process. Have faith that it will work out as long as you’ve done everything you needed to do along the way. If you try to control every little thing that happens, it almost certainly won’t turn out the way you’d like. I believe that God has a plan for all of us, and part of the beauty of life is seeing how it unfolds in ways that we could never try to control!

Keep in touch, and keep it real!

Justine

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