Our favorite meal at home these days is carne asada. The secret to this flatiron steak is the four-hour marinade in the perfect combination of spices and juices. Any cook knows that the recipe wouldn’t work if it marinates only five minutes. In order for the marinade to do its magic, it needs time to seep deep into the center.

Time is such a fickle friend. A library could fill its shelves with books written on time management, all written in the last few decades. I have read a slew of them. In all of my reading, I have never come across one that teaches me to take longer to do a particular task or project.

We dramatically underestimate how long most tasks take us. As a consequence, we rush about because we don’t take into account traffic or losing our keys or that last-minute conversation as we walk out the door. Constant rushing and chronic busyness define our times. We may get more done, but I believe we are diminished by busyness.

My new mantra these days is “give it time.” Just like that marinade, the most important aspects of life take sufficient time, which in most cases is more than we initially think. I am on vacation now as I write this, and I find myself frustrated that it takes me so long to relax and get into “vacation mode.” I tell myself to “give it time.” My internal motor takes a while to slow its idle.

The more important the issue, the more we should be willing to give extra time. I don’t believe that important habits are changed or formed in twenty-one days, regardless of what the science says. Growing in love for another person takes time. Think back to your deepest connections with those you love, and you will likely find that it occurred when time was unrushed.

Where time is most critical is in the crucial inner work of our lives that shapes our happiness, addresses our pain, and controls our thoughts. Inner change takes time. Looking back through decades of journaling, I see growth, but not nearly as quickly as I would think possible. Learning to quell anxiety takes time. With each new season, new challenges arise testing the lessons learned the last season. Grief takes time.Others may think that one or three years should be enough time to “move on,” but should we ever move on from someone we love deeply? Maybe grieving is the process of learning to love someone differently. I am still learning this one. But what I know is that grief takes time.

If there is an area of your life where you are frustrated or impatient, give it time. Double or triple your time estimate, or better yet, remove the internal deadline completely and just let it happen in its own time. 

The most important things in life cannot be rushed. Relationships cannot be rushed. Growth only takes permanent root when watered with adequate time. Emotional healing is the slowest and most difficult healing of all. Life is not a race. Give it time! 

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  • Mom says:

    Tommy, this is such a good one. I think of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland running in circles chanting “I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!!!!!!that pretty much sums it up.

    Your thoughts are really really good. I am enjoying them a lot. Funny, how we don’t think about the most basic of things. One of the words I have heard you say so often – Relax, relax relax. It covers a lot.

    So glad you and Weezie had a good week at the GB. I think of that gorgeous porch nesting in the greenery. Ganny Peg used to say “I don’t mind missing my children if it’s a good miss. I think Dad and I have the most wonderful family and feel blessed every single day over God’s gift to us. Love you more than you know. Mom