Overcoming life's treacherous plateaus

Galatians 6:9 says, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."

Anyone who dabbles in the creative arts will tell you about plateaus that occur throughout the course, be it music, art, literature or life. These long, elevated, yet flat areas of terrain might feel unending, and they will do their best to discourage our efforts to continue the practice of our skills. Refusing even small glimpses of their far edges, they are certain to appear along our mountainous ascent through life. By embracing them, we shall find a genuine reprieve from wondering whether our labor will ever bear fruit.

One of the most important lessons I received in music school encompassed the "plateau," during which I perceived that my daily practice of piano and voice was taking me nowhere. In fact, I thought that I was indeed getting worse instead of better. The devil knows how to use these plateaus to his great advantage, at least until we catch on to their valuable reality. So instead of giving in to discouragement - some of us might even quit altogether at this juncture - I learned to step up my practice during long stretches of seeming lack of progress. Then "suddenly," with no forewarning, my skills would begin to soar, and I would resume my upward progress. Of course, the breakthrough was not sudden at all, but the result of not fainting in the well doing.

I planted a helicopter seed in the front yard of a home we owned in the early 1980s. My children have driven by the house a few times in the recent past, and they marvel at how that tiny seed never stopped growing, and how it has flourished into a shade-lending maple tree of enormous proportion. Yet that little helicopter seed will never see the beauteous tree.

It is by faith that we plant seeds along the way of our well doing. In our daily response to God's call upon our lives, we may not see the fruit of our labor. We believe, however, that if we perform the tasks that our Lord has placed before us - whether of sitting quietly to rest in Him, or of boarding a plane destined for a third-world country to feed starving children - then good will come of our well doing, as long as we keep going. Remember God's promise from Romans 8:28: "... all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose."

His purpose - if we are truly leaning upon God's direction - our plateaus will not weary, but refresh us. Have I grown weary in well doing? Shall I find refreshment in Him and keep on keeping on?

Lord, today I choose to believe that I will reap, in due season, all that you have manifested by my well doing through you.

Adapted from "Finding the Flowers in a Prickly World." You may email Ms. Wilson by visiting http://www.pensepublishing.com.