Last week, I shared about embracing my unique flavor. You probably want to read last week’s blog before continuing: Learning How To Embrace My Unique “Flavor”.
This week I want to discuss a new process I’ve learned observing tea. I hope you’re ready! When we think of our lives, we think about the end goal. We are preoccupied with the destination, and we tend to skip discussing the journey. Social media doesn’t make it any easier as we see people highlight the “good parts” of their journey. Rarely do they discuss the tears, the questions, the fears or the bruises along the way. When we miss telling the complete story, we are giving people the impression that obstacles mean they are “less than” or have done something wrong.
The challenging parts of our journey, the areas we try to hide, is a part of the steeping process. To steep means to soak for the flavor of something to come through. When tea isn’t appropriately steeped, you notice a difference in taste. If you’ve ever watched tea steep, there is a lot of heat involved and some waiting as well. We will experience times when the heat is on in our lives. We feel that God must be punishing us for something, but He is allowing the challenges to bring out the best in us.
One of My Failures
I remember my senior year of college and I was ready to graduate. There was one class standing in my way: Organic Chemistry. I attended class faithfully and at the end of the semester, I failed. I wasn’t too worried because I had a plan b since other students mentioned failing this course also. I went to summer school at another university. I attended every class and tutoring session and at the end of the semester, I failed by five points. This time I was crushed. When my parents tried to encourage me, I didn’t want to hear it. I sure didn’t want to hear how God was going to see me through the process. Failing this final class meant that my senior year was extended by a semester and this time I needed to pass. Guess whose class I retook? The same professor who I failed Organic Chemistry with the first time!
One of the things that God brought out of me was pride. I’ve always been very proud of my learning abilities, and I never experienced “not” being able to succeed in something. I also needed to learn how to be compassionate towards other people’s needs. During the steeping process, I ended up teaching my classmates simple ways to grasp chemistry from the techniques I learned during summer school. My third time taking organic chemistry I passed! The most humorous part was receiving my diploma from the same professor who I ended up taking Organic Chemistry with a second time.
Although the process wasn’t easy, I learned many valuable lessons about how to endure while you are being steeped.
- Don’t Avoid the Process
o When you are being developed it doesn’t always feel good. Failure and challenge is a part of the learning process. Ask God to show you the lessons He has for you.
- Don’t Avoid the Heat
o It may seem comfortable to avoid all obstacles to avoid being steeped in heat. The heat brings out God’s goodness and will not damage you. Even your best efforts to live a challenge-free life will not result in avoiding further challenges. Allow Him to bring out the best in you, even if you don’t always understand why you are facing a particular obstacle.
- God is with You As You Develop
o I didn’t feel God was with me when I failed Organic Chemistry. I felt pretty forsaken because I thought I had done everything for God as He allowed me to endure shame for failing twice! I didn’t see His plan to use even my failure for good then, but now I see He had more in mind.
We often want to get to the “good stuff.” We want the immediate raise. We want instantaneous weight loss. We want to find ideal partnerships to achieve our next big goal. The list goes on and on. We think that the good stuff is getting what we desire. It is indeed in our processing. That is where we are being developed into our best form.
If you endure the steeping, there is some good that will come. Let my story be an encouragement to you that steeping will produce something valuable in and through you.
Question of the Week:
Are you going through the steeping process at this moment? What is one question you have about enduring this process?