Originally posted October 2010

Has Timely Love ever come to you?

Sometimes I just get stressed out. Believe it or not, I can be a pretty intense person at times (feel free to go ahead and get that “NO! Really??” off your chest right now), and I very often put myself into situations that are outside my comfort zone. On purpose. I like the challenge of getting into things that are too big for me, over my head. I often wonder why anyone would ever want to take a job they can already do – where’s the growth potential in that? There’s a quote I once read that I’ve come to live by: “I want to get into something too big for me and live in a way that costs me something” (Anon.).

However! Even though I enjoy the risk and challenge taking on giants represents, I find that I can sometimes get totally intimidated and overwhelmed when I’m out there all alone, swimming with the sharks. In these moments, Timely Love comes to me.

It happened recently. I was in a situation in which I was not an expert, but was having to speak on behalf of an expert to another expert. The expert to which I was speaking did not consider my expert to be an expert, or at least not to his own degree of expertise, which made my need to represent my expert well more imperative, and my own lack of expertise more pronounced. Confused? So was I. Or maybe not confused, but certainly scared spitless. Our delegation had heard rumours from many credible parties, all telling us that we were going to be faced with some heavy opposition, and that it was likely going to be accompanied by some significant belittling.

There I sat, shuffling my papers, getting ready for this big meeting to start, feeling smaller and smaller, mentally growing my own “giant” just like one of those dinosaur pills you put in water. I  tried deep breathing, self-talk, smack-talk (inside voice), but no matter what I did, I continued to feel more and more intimidated and out of sorts. The minutes dragged tortuously. Then my Blackberry, often a handy distraction, mercifully chirped an alert, and when I opened the message, everything changed.

It was from my brother-in-law. He and my sister, neither one knowing what I was doing or how I was feeling at that moment, had been talking about me that morning. “For some reason” I’d come to their minds as they sat, thousands of kilometres away, having a leisurely breakfast. He just wanted to send me a word of encouragement. The note he sent contained the exact words I needed. The message, in essence, was: “you have what it takes; you know what you’re doing; you’re built to last.” The words had the effect of a pin on a balloon; the pressure of anxiety diffused immediately. I thought, “God sees me and wants me to see what He sees. If he thinks I can do this, and if my family believes in me, then who am I to disagree?”

The situation came to naught. No showdown, no face-off, no attack. Not that I minded! But the impending confrontation became beside the point. The lesson I came away with was two-fold:

1) I must never allow anyone, not even my own imagination, to disqualify me from confidently engaging in something I have been duly authorized and appointed to do, and

2) No matter where I am on this earth, Timely Love will find me in the perfect moment and deliver to me precisely what I need.

This Thanksgiving, it is this for which I am most grateful.