Focus On Process, Not Outcome
Most people have something about themselves they wish was different. We want to be more patient, more kind, more loving, less temperamental, less procrastinating, more productive, better time managers, and a long list of other ideals.
It is good to desire these changes, but it can be frustrating when we just can’t seem to reach our desired result. We often just try harder or look for a new technique to achieve these changes. But is that approach to change the right one?
I recently listened to a podcast that God used to reshape how I think about process. In the podcast, Graham Cooke said that “God loves to be with us in all the small actions of building us up. It’s the process that makes us rich, not the outcome.” I hadn’t realized how much I just thought about waiting for the outcome, rather than the process to get there.
This concept made me take a step back and see how much we need to value the process God desires to use. All the little things that come up can be used by God to shape who we are. They can be used to make us more like Him and into what He wants us to be.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are the fruit of the Spirit. They are the FRUIT of the Spirit. Not the ROOT of the Spirit. They are the result, not the origin. What we need to do is focus on our relationship with God and trust Him to make the changes. These changes are made from the inside out, not the outside in.
If we really want our lives to produce fruit for God, the key is to carve out the time with Him. It’s part of the process. Whether you read, worship, reflect, journal, or whatever else you want to do, God will use whatever is in front of you to take you deeper with Him. Whatever you’re going through, whatever you’re trying to accomplish – God will use it. We need to stop thinking only about the result and we need to let God use the process He designed uniquely for each of us.
God doesn’t just want us to get everything done asap. Rather than thinking about how we are so far behind on what we planned to do, we should focus on our need to spend time with God. If you’re behind on that Bible reading plan, just start again and let God meet you where you are. While we need to become familiar with God’s Word, often times, we can get more out of reflecting on just one verse than we can from speed-reading through five chapters.
To be clear, I’m not saying that we have the freedom to be lazy. The key is to have a deeper experience with God, not just consume information. Jesus said that a tree is known by its fruit. He doesn’t expect fruit to just show up suddenly because we really want it to. Fruit comes through a process of spending time with God and letting Him shape us.
For a garden to flourish, it must be given regular attention. It needs to have water added and weeds removed. It’s the same with us in our walk with God. Focus on the process and enjoy the process. Let God use these things to facilitate growth with Him. Don’t just wait around for the outcome.
What process might God be using in your life today that He wants you to enjoy? Try taking a step back and realize that life is inside the process, not only in the future outcome.