In the middle of the month of March one year, I grew tired of looking at my chewed off fingernails. It was a habit that began in childhood and carried on through adulthood. I had had small seasons of success where I stopped biting my nails, but for the most part, I reverted back to this long-standing habit. Desperate to break this habit, I reached out to a former student of mine, Leanne, who runs a nail salon in her home. In my text, I expressed an interest in a sculptured full set of nails essentially having fake nails glued to my little stubs.
Leanne texted me back with an open appointment time, but she also asked me whether I had any free edge or if I was a complete nail biter. Truthfully, I responded back that I was a complete nail biter. With that bit of information, she answered back stating that we had a problem. Because I was a nail biter, there was nothing to sculpt which would give them little chance to last. She continued by sharing that I would have a better chance with a gel polish manicure. This would allow me to break my habit of nail biting and give my nails the opportunity to grow naturally. Leanne asked me if this line of reasoning made sense, and I told her I liked the idea. Anxious to have lovely fingernails, I knew I needed to trust her since she was the professional. We set up a gel polish manicure appointment, and she stated we would at that time discuss some other options to help my nails grow naturally. And so began my new routine of having my nails painted with gel polish and the quitting of this life-long habit.
Three months later, my nails were well on their way to becoming longer. I had to quit going to Leanne’s nail salon because her place of work was near my place of work which I did not go to during the summer. Leanne gave me some advice and polished them with regular nail polish. As one who enjoys doing yardwork, I stopped at my local hardware store, and I bought myself a pair of gardening gloves. Week by week, my nails continued to grow to the point that other women were complimenting me on how nice they looked.
Wasn’t my initial suggestion just like us? We want a quick fix whether it is longer fingernails, weight loss remedies, physical fitness improvements, better relationship skills, or spiritual growth. It takes time to undo a habit that has a history of years even decades in the making. Breaking life-long habits takes lots of time. Thankfully, God is patient with us as we navigate through this life trying to love Him and His people better. He understands better than we do the importance of being patient with ourselves and others as we try to become more like our Savior.
Father God, thank You for Your patience with us. Help us to be patient with ourselves and with others as we journey through life. Amen.