He had just delivered a baby in the room next door when he came in to speak to me. A couple of nurses had scurried in and out of my waiting room, me sitting on that rolled-out white paper on the examination table, legs and flip flops dangling, engrossed in a book and enjoying the quiet. They hadn’t said a word as they gathered supplies with a hustle and a bustle — one nurse went so far as to tell me she couldn’t tell me what was going on when I asked.

Finally another nurse came in to explain that the doctor would still be a few more minutes because the woman in the room next door just delivered her baby. I was at 32 weeks — she was perhaps at 38 or 39, arrived for her routine appointment although she had been “feeling some pressure” and in the room next to mine, she’d gone into labour so quickly the doctor knew he couldn’t send her away in an ambulance or she’d give birth on the way to the hospital.

When curiosity got the better of me and I joined the team of staff members in the hallway, I heard the first cry that baby would ever cry. It blessed my soul. She arrived in her own perfect timing.

{18 Months Ago, in Perfect TigerTank Timing}

Maybe his eagerness to deliver babies got the better of him, but on this, our first conversation, he immediately mentioned the idea of inducing me when the time came. I decided since this was our first meeting that I didn’t want to start an argument, but my heart was whispering “over my dead body!” Unless there seems to be danger to the baby or me, I would much rather let nature take its course.

Perhaps I couldn’t write a book about prenatal care, but I know a thing or two about Perfect Timing.

I’m confident of this: there are times in life when the right thing to do is to wait for that perfect timing. The Hubs talks about it in photography — not being too eager to shoot shoot shoot every second, but watching with expectancy so that when that moment comes, you don’t miss it.

I’m also confident of this: there are times in life when the wrong thing to do is to wait for that perfect timing. Waiting for the perfect timing to make amends in a relationship, for example, is a bad idea. Waiting until it seems like the timing is just right to jump into something that has been burning in your heart for years — that thing in your soul that you just know you have to do — is wrong.

And when it comes to making sure you are living your life in community, welcoming the people around you and engaging in meaningful relationships — loving the people on your path who are waiting for love — there will never be perfect timing. You cannot afford to wait.

It happened twice in the last couple of weeks, that we had friends over for a meal and things didn’t feel perfect. In one case I was hoping to do an exciting and special meal but I couldn’t find one key ingredient. As we scooped chili into our bowls and just enjoyed each other’s company, I was reminded that it was never about the meal to begin with. It is always only ever about the relationships, really. Loving and blessing and building each other up — aren’t these the right reasons for coming together?

Then again a few days later — I extended an invitation at the last minute, it was just on my heart to do it. And when our guest commented on how beautiful the salad was, I smiled on the outside and on the inside. I didn’t feel like I’d taken the time to go to special efforts I would’ve liked for a new guest — but we ate together and by the end of the evening our hearts were full, and I pray that she left knowing how very welcome she is in our lives, already so present and welcome in my heart.

And this is the thing about all relationships — it’s not real if it’s not messy.

When another friend of mine joined me for coffee the other morning, her little ones and my little one played together while the Bear was at preschool. She brought along a coffee cake and my only goal for the morning was accomplished — I deeply wanted to ask the question How are you doing? in a way that would give her an opportunity to share her heart, tell the truth, and know how much I care. To me, that was what mattered most.

A few hours (maybe a day) after she left, I spotted some crumbs around the table from where her girls had enjoyed coffee cake and I smiled, inside and out again. Those, I thought, are beautiful, wonderful crumbs — the results of choosing to live life together, knowing it will always be more messy if we try to live together, but it will always be better to take the risk of messy, for the sake of the together part.

There are some times in life when it’s good to wait for the right timing. My Mom likes to say “When the apple is ripe, it’ll drop.” But we need the wisdom and discernment to recognize those times in life where we are leaning on the illusion that there will be perfect timing as an excuse to put off doing something that needs doing.

My house is not in a particularly tidy state, and it doesn’t really look how I want it to. My kitchen is small and messy and some of my favorite bowls have big chips. But the thing that is really making this place a home, a place I want to be, and a place I want others to be, is the decision that relationships are more important than holding out for the illusion of perfection. Making sure the people around you know they are loved and welcomed and important is a much more valuable use of your time than scouring Pinterest for ideas that you’d like to implement when that perfect timing finally arrives.

The Bible puts it this way:

Where no oxen are, the trough is clean, but much increase comes by the strength of an ox. {Prov. 14:4}

So, if you want to keep your stables clean, you don’t want an ox in your barn — but if you want an abundant harvest, you’re going to need that ox to pull for you. Translation: The messiness? It’s worth it.

It’s good to let people see the real you, and not just the you that you’ve had the perfect amount of time to put together and get ready for them to see. From the life-changing decision some women face when they’re pregnant and don’t want to be yet, to the simple question of whether to have some folks over for dinner, the principle is the same: Life is messy and always will be. Don’t be fooled into thinking you ought to wait for perfect timing.

And don’t let the opportunity to love those around you pass you by because you were busy waiting for conditions to be just right. Like when Jesus stopped on His way to a sick Lazarus, because other ministry was tugging at his coattails, sometimes, when things absolutely don’t look like the right timing to us, they are absolutely perfect timing in the will of God.



Remember: Don’t confuse the urgent and the important!