September is harvest season for wine in California. We were in Napa Valley, for my Godson’s wedding. Prior to the wedding, we toured a winery. I was fascinated by the wine making process and learned the grapes were monitored constantly until just the right time when they would be harvested.

I witnessed that timing the night of the wedding, which took place at a Bed and Breakfast across the street from a vineyard. After sunset, during the reception, we suddenly noticed lights moving slowly in the vineyards, which at a distance appeared to be like something from a Star Wars movie. I asked one of the staff what was happening? Her response was the timing was right, the harvest had begun on a Friday evening, after sunset. The pickers had been on standby ready to go, waiting for the call that the grapes were ready to be picked. Those wine makers knew from experience the importance timing, and they were ready.

I struggle with timing, maybe you do too. I want timing to be when I’m ready. I don’t want to wait.

Yet timing is tricky.

If you are too soon on something, you may not be ready. I remember a young executive who managed a senior living community and was struggling. I wasn’t in the organization when she was promoted, so I asked how she made it to her current role. She was very successfully managing a single department in a different community, catching the eye of senior leaders. They offered her a chance to take on the most senior role in a different community. She was flattered and excited and said “yes” to the big jump. In retrospect she knew she wasn’t ready to make the move and the organization didn’t provide enough support. It was too soon. She left the organization, not on her terms.

If you move to soon, your target audience might not be ready. My “Uncle” Al opened an antique store called The Tin Rooster, a decade before they became immensely popular. His vision was the right one, but his timing was too soon. Buyers weren’t ready. After struggling for several years, he closed the shop. Not long afterwards, the boom of shops just like his became popular.

On the opposite end, we can be too late, which usually happens when we are waiting for the “perfect conditions”. We want to control it, assume no risk, and create our “perfect timing”. The result tends to be “analysis paralysis”, and we miss the opportunity before us.

I believe there are 3 P’s to timing.

Prayer – if you want great timing, bring God into the conversation. Let him know your needs and concerns about what you want to accomplish. Invite his wisdom and vision.

Preparation – For whatever you want to accomplish, you must prepare. Don’t cut corners on your preparation, do the hard work of getting ready.

Performance – It’s important to do your best, to perform as well as you can with the gifts God has given us. Performing is about action, you aren’t sitting on the couch waiting for God to say, “get up and go”, get out there and get moving. He rewards action for those who brought him into the conversation.

But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day! Habakkuk 2:3 (TLB)

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