Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Delayed Gratification

The advertising industry works very hard to promote a culture of instant gratification in America. If you want something, go out and buy it today. Live for today and don’t worry about tomorrow. Sometimes we become so impatient that if something is taking a lot of time, we’re inclined to just give up. If a dream seems too difficult to reach, we become discouraged and consider abandoning it. If a relationship takes too much time and effort to foster, we’re tempted to just walk away.

Still, delayed gratification can be a really beautiful thing. Sometimes the longer we have worked for something, the more we value it. Long struggles can end in profound joy. In fact, my Christian journey is an exercise in delayed gratification. While I am benefiting from God’s love and blessings right now, I still have to deal with imperfections, struggles, and pain. Eventually I will be perfected and live in complete harmony with God and my neighbors in a world without pain, but that won’t happen for a long time. I have to be willing to wait. But eternal bliss is a pleasure well worth waiting for!

In the meantime, I’ve discovered that I can also enjoy many beautiful things on Earth if I’m willing to wait for them. I have a chance at having the career I’ve always wanted if I am dedicated enough to spend years working toward it. I can raise Godly, well-adjusted children if I am patient with them and willing to make nurturing them the primary focus of two decades of my life. Right now I am fostering a friendship that I have been working to develop for more than a year. Progress is slow, but the results are worth it to me. I am willing to invest long-term in the things that my heart wants because they are worth the wait.

Sometimes I feel that my efforts aren’t worth anything until I see results, so delayed gratification can be really frustrating. I’ve realized, though, that I am building character and learning skills through the process of working toward a goal, and those benefits are independent of the end result. For example, even if I never manage to get another book published, my efforts toward that goal are building professional skills and a work ethic that I could use in other areas of my life as well. Likewise, my efforts to connect with others are teaching me lessons about kindness, patience, and love that I will be able to keep no matter how those particular relationships turn out in the end.

I’ve discovered that some things really are worth waiting for, and some journeys are as rewarding as their destinations. I do like to have instant gratification sometimes, but I don’t want everything to be easy. I want to have the chance to grow and develop through dedication and perseverance, and I want to be able to really appreciate the value of the things I’ve worked for.

1 comment:

Sweet Stacks said...


Ok, so you've got a new reader :)
Not kidding--at first I saw on facebook that you had a post to your blog (didn't know you had one)--anyway, I decided I'd check it out. Well, I read the this one at the top of the page, then the next, then the next...Well, you get the point! You have such great insight, and it's refreshing to read something that someone has written other than a status update. That, and this post kind of "hit home" with me right now. I enjoy reading your blog, so just keep writing dearie! Hope you're doing well!

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