| from Lauren Roman |
Intellectually, we know delay and denial are two different things. Experientially, it’s easy to conflate the two.
Human beings, as a whole, are not fond of waiting. On top of that natural tendency, we are all under the influence of our modern-day microwave mentality. We want what we want, as quickly as possible, and preferably without much effort.
Fortunately, God provided the prefrontal cortex to help us manage this self-centered aspect of our humanity. The prefrontal cortex is the part of our brain responsible for “executive functions” like attention, motivation, impulse control, emotional regulation, and planning.
This crucial part of the brain is also the last part to fully develop – which is no surprise to anyone parenting a teenager!
The less functional the prefrontal cortex is, the more difficult self-control is. And this reduced functionality certainly isn’t limited to our youth. It can also be caused by conditions such as physical or chemical impairment (which you understand if you’ve ever over-imbibed, or witnessed such behavior in others), and neurological differences like ADHD.*
For those of us who are human and part of this microwave society and have an under-functioning prefrontal cortex… Lord, help us!
Waiting can be downright painful. Delay might feel like a denial, when we listen to our emotions.
When delay is perceived as a denial, it’s easy to lose hope. Why would we keep hoping for something if we know it’s not going to happen?
But we don’t know. We think, we feel… but we don’t actually know.
Each of us has to process our thoughts and feelings to reach that realization. And if we don’t know what is or isn’t going to happen, why not keep hoping for the best?
In the absence of knowledge, we can exercise self-control and choose to fill in the blanks with hope. But we can’t do this on our own – at least, not for very long!
As we renew our minds with the Truth of God’s Word and the intimacy of prayer – talking with Him and listening – we are transformed. (See Romans 12:2.) As we follow Christ and live each day in the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to change our thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors.
Any time our feelings tell us the waiting is insufferable, the delay is interminable, it must be a denial, we should give up hope and move on… we have the power to choose not to listen.
When God truly gives us a no, then it’s a denial. But a delay without a no… isn’t a no. A delay that drags on doesn’t morph into a no just because we’d like to be done waiting.
If you’re persevering through a delay that feels like a denial, seek God. Really ask Him. He may be using that delay to test and develop your determination. If your spouse, child or another loved one is the lucky person enduring the delay, encourage them to do the same.
Whenever God gives us a test, whether it’s the first time or the hundredth, we know one thing for certain: He will provide everything we need to succeed.
*For more about the ADHD brain, this article explains the “Intersection Model” – a simple, helpful way of understanding the neurological differences involved: https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-brain-prefrontal-cortex-attention-emotions/
Lauren Roman is an enthusiastic encourager, creative communicator and truth teller who captivates audiences of all kinds. Her eclectic career began as a “soap star” in her teens (ABC’s All My Children) and now encompasses speaking, singing and writing – all to inspire others toward true identity and counter-cultural freedom in Christ. As Lauren shares from her own life with bold transparency, emotion, humor and humility, interweaving practical biblical insights, hearts are engaged and stirred to change.
In addition to her work as an Associate Writer and Speaker for Celebrate Kids, Lauren keynotes live and virtual events for women, youth and multi-generational ministries throughout the US and beyond. For more information, visit: laurenroman.com