Learning to Enjoy the Process


I put it in, then took it out.
Put it in, then took it out.
I parted larger, then started again.
And again.
And again.
Putting them in, and ripping them out just as fast.

Nothing worked. I was not satisfied with the five Marley twists I put in my hair. In fact, I hated them! Perhaps it was too early to tell what the masterpiece would come to be. When my full head was adorned in long, kinky, twists and ready to be styled, perhaps then I'd love it. Perhaps only when it all comes together at the end, would I be delightfully taken aback by the work that had been done.

I started, then stopped.
Started, then stopped again.
I tried. And stopped.
And again.
And again.

I finally gave up. I didn’t want the stupid twists anymore (I really did still want them) and I damned sure didn’t want to get carpal tunnel forcing myself to finish and be satisfied with them. That night, I quit. Over and over again. But the connection between that and my life (our lives), isn't the amount of times I quit—boy have I quit some things—it's the lack of time I allowed myself to endure the process.

Before I even got started, I stopped. Those five twists, couldn't turn into the 2,000 I planned to do, because I hated the lumps and bumps of them. I didn't care that the roughness of those twists would soon be drowned out by the many others that would soon accompany them. I didn't care that the 15th twist would look better than the 5th, because practice makes perfect. I didn't even bother continuing, because I hated the process so much - I hated where I was in that moment - that I decided to stop. To not continue. To walk out of my mother’s house in worse shape than I was when I walked in – entering with a bob, exiting with an unoiled afro.

As I sunk into my couch with disappointment in my heart and frustration in my eyes, I recognized that the true defeat came from myself. I simply didn’t want to go through the process. I hated the process. And I refused to waste any time continuing with the process, being unsure of what the finished product would be.

Doesn't that sound like life? Like change? Like transformation?

Like the many of us who want to become butterflies but refuse to spend time in cocoons. Those of us who want to be the flowers – roses, dandelions, tulips – but don’t want to be planted. Those of us who want to come out clean, but refuse to get dirty.

Nothing great ever just happens. Not my Marley twists, not that job you want, not that marital status; not healing, not growth – not anything. Everything has its process, and it’s through that process that things become. But how can you ever become if you refuse to go through the process? How do you plan to ever get there, if you refuse to start (or endure) the route?

So many of us want to be bosses without having ever been employees. We want to get to the top without ever having to climb. We want to just start there, ignoring the need for conditioning, transitioning, growing. We just want to be, without ever going through.

But if you choose to be something great; to achieve greatness; to be pressed, purposed, and promoted; decide to let the process happen. To let it begin. To not to judge the finished product by the process you just began. To not to rush through it. To not to hate it before it even starts. To embrace it. To enjoy the moment you're in at the moment you're in it. To take the bad twists and see them out to the end. Not because you want to, but because the process requires that of you.

And, in case you need guidance on how to enjoy the process (because, yes, it can totally be challenging sometimes), here you are:


1. Relinquish control. Many times we hate the process because we can’t control it. We try everything and nothing works how we think it should. Learn to acknowledge that everything won't always be how you hope. Learn to give up your need for control and let the powers at be work in the way they're meant to. Know that God is taking you on the best route, and trust that He’ll work it out beyond what you’re able to do yourself.

2. Shift your perspective. Much of your endurance is mental. When you change your mind, you can change your ability to achieve. Change your thinking to focus on the good things throughout your journey, not the bad. Instead of feeling defeat, recognize the growth that will occur from your discomfort. Instead of harboring on the challenges of this temporary state, recognize the good that will come of it. Think of effective ways to find the positive.

3. Stay focused. Instead of focusing on the troubles that lie ahead, keep your focus on what you're doing it for. Focus on becoming that butterfly you long wanted to be, rather than the cocoon you’re currently resting in. Focus on the outcome of your transformation, rather than the fear, thoughts, and insecurities of your current space. Stay focused on the end result and do what needs to be done to get there. 
Sidenote: I also spoke about this story (and this lesson) on my podcast. Listen below!

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