Trust the Process

Spring Unfolding

Spring Unfolding

In a society focused on results and end products, it is easy to forget that you can’t create without going through a process of creation. You may say you have a certain goal or end result in mind, but often the actual work may take you in another direction. And many times a seemingly messy detour becomes the path to something unexpected and wonderful.

Sometimes the process includes unexpected time out. That time out may be a business setback that plunges you into deep waters as you work to survive and pay your bills. A layoff or hiring freeze means that the bright career plans are put on hold. The collapse of the music industry or tremendous changes in the book industry can mean that even successful writers and performers find themselves without a livelihood, having to reinvent not only their careers, but who they are and how to offer their gifts in a chaotic marketplace. Sometimes it’s a family emergency, and you may find yourself in the role of caretaker, putting your own life on hold while you walk with a loved one through the valley of the shadow of death. It might be a mistake you or someone else made, a change in market conditions, an unexpected emergency or health crisis. It could even be as simple as a creative project that didn’t come out the way you hoped, leaving you wondering whether you should try to salvage it or start all over again. 

Take it one day at a time. Instead of trying to second guess the future, look at what you have right now. What can be accomplished today? Concentrate only on what you are able to do today. Do what you can and let go of trying to control the outcome. All you can do is do your best and leave the rest up to God. In most of the important things in life, we are dependent on the nature of creation and time, the grace of the Life Force flowing in us and carrying us through the events and processes of living.

In the larger perspective of life, eternal lessons teach us that trust and patience are required for the things that are really important. It takes time to raise a child, write a book, nurture a relationship, grow a career, and create a community. Think of a farmer patiently waiting for seed, soil, sun, and rain to do its work. The field must be plowed, the seed sown, the land fertilized and watered, the soil weeded, and the crop tended before it comes to full fruition. So it is with us. 

Trusting the process is a form of letting go. You can try to predict and control life, but life is larger and more gloriously complex than the calculating planning part of the human brain can comprehend. When some plan or project is on hold, trust that it, too, is part of the process. It has been said that we make our plans—and God laughs. So why not laugh along? Or at least stop resisting and open your mind to receive new insights. 

Trust that the goodness of life itself will lead you if you keep going. Trust the process of its unfolding. When a butterfly is working its way out of its cocoon, it is no kindness to cut the cocoon to make emergence easier. The struggle itself is an essential part of the process. When a human hand interferes with the process, the butterfly’s wings are undeveloped. It cannot fly. It dies. When the butterfly’s struggle is done in nature’s time, the emergence may last longer than our impatient hearts can stand. But when the butterfly finally emerges from this birthwork, it spreads its wings to dry, and then flies into its destiny. When you are stressed because your own process seems to be one of struggle and delay, remember the butterfly. Trust that a greater process is happening; that all this is working together for your good and your growth. 

Whether you are creating a work of art or a life, trust the process. Let go of your expectations and let what you are doing lead you from one step to another. Do your best and leave the results to God.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart. Don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go.
Proverbs 3:5-6 THE MESSAGE

By going a few minutes sooner or later, by stopping to speak with a friend on the corner, by meeting this man or that, or by turning down this street instead of the other, we may let slip some impending evil, by which the whole current of our lives would have been changed. There is no possible solution in the dark enigma but the one word, “Providence.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sometimes providences, like Hebrew letters, must be read backward.
John Flavel

One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. 
Eleanor Roosevelt

• Do a creative project, such as building model airplanes or knitting, and watch the process unfold. Meditate on the processes unfolding in your life.

Life on the farm is a school of patience; you can’t hurry the crops or make an ox in two days.
Henri Fournier Alain

I find that it is not the circumstances in which we are placed, but the spirit in which we face them, that constitutes our comfort.
Elizabeth T. King

Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.
Chaung Tzu

Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps, for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they might have been.
William Hazlitt

The greatest and most important problems in life are all in a certain sense insoluble. They can never be solved, but only outgrown.
Carl Jung

The chief pang of most trials is not so much the actual suffering itself as our own spirit of resistance to it.
Jean Nicholas Grau

Teach us, O Lord, the disciplines of patience, for to wait is often harder than to work.
Peter Marshall

Nature magically suits a man to his fortunes, by making them the fruit of his character.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

On every level of life from housework to the heights of prayer, in all judgment and all efforts to get things done, hurry and impatience are the sure marks of an amateur.
Evelyn Underhill