I spent about half of my graduate school career struggling with thinly veiled misery that I pretended was just typical student angst. My dreams for my life felt incomplete and disconnected. I was working into the wee hours of the morning, spending my Sunday afternoons in the graduate computer lab, and attending study groups and tutoring sessions (something I never, ever had to do until grad school)—but I couldn’t see where all that work was leading. My progress was invisible.
My thinking is that you’ve been there, maybe we all have—working toward something that just isn’t happening fast enough. A waist line that doesn’t seem to be shrinking despite the sweat equity you’ve invested at the gym, a credit card bill that feels so far from $0, a string of good dates that still hasn’t developed into the relationship you really crave. No matter what your “it” is, I want to encourage you to persist.
When I think about our well-laid plans that have yet to become dreams realized I think about this nugget of wisdom that has given me peace for the past few weeks:
“A plan (motive, wise counsel) in the heart of a man is like water in a deep well,
But a man of understanding draws it out.” -Proverbs 20:5
See yourself at the well, sweat beads accumulating on your upper lip and across your forehead, hands starting to go a little numb under the strain of the bucket of water that you are drawing. A few things have to true.
The more water you draw, the heavier the bucket, the harder and slower the process of drawing the water out of the well. Do not be discouraged by the length of the process, nor by the intensity of the labor required to execute your plans. Long, hard labor yields meaningful results.
Just because you can’t see the bucket of water yet doesn’t mean that you aren’t advancing. Gradual progress is often difficult to perceive.
The people who have enough energy to gossip about your seeming lack of progress or to discourage you are doing so because they’re too afraid to get to work at their own well.
I’m thinking of you and praying your strength, as I pray for my own. The payoff is coming.
Write to me at email@example.com to share how you’re applying this wisdom to your life. I’d love to hear more about what you’re drawing out of the well.