I’m reading David Jeremiah’s book Daily in His Presence for my daily devotion times this year. A couple of weeks ago, in a devotion entitled Waiting, he wrote the following:
Everyone is familiar with the “count to ten” rule. When tempted to speak impulsively or rashly, walk away while counting to ten — ten seconds or possibly ten minutes. Waiting before speaking can often calm one’s emotions. Likewise, when tempted to make an impulsive purchase, wait ten days, then decide if the purchase is something you really need. Often you will decide the item is a want rather than a need, and the money you save will be most welcome.
While I had heard about using this rule in regards to seconds, what struck me was that Dr. Jeremiah extrapolated it out to ten minutes and even ten days. For that matter, I suppose we could keep going and carry it out to ten weeks, ten months, or ten years. That would definitely be playing the long game with the rule.
As Dr. Jeremiah pointed out, the value of using the “count to ten” rule in any of these forms is that it will keep you from using your impulsiveness foolishly or sinfully. It should be noted, however, that some situations really don’t require any waiting. For example, when the drowning Peter cried out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately stretched out His hand and caught him (Matthew 14:30-31). Likewise, Peter, Andrew, James, and John immediately left their fishing businesses behind when Jesus said to them, “Follow Me” (Matthew 4:18-22). With such exceptions in mind, though, I trust that we all understand that many situations in life do lend themselves quite nicely to the “count to ten” rule.
So, where does this find you right now? Are you currently debating whether or not you should do a certain thing, say a certain thing, or commit to a certain thing? Well, I guess the fact that you are still debating it shows that God hasn’t give you a clear-cut peace about it yet. And if that’s the case, you would be well advised to employ the “count to ten” rule. Maybe God will just want you to wait a quick ten seconds before committing yourself to that course of action the next time the opportunity presents itself. Then again, maybe He will want you to wait ten weeks, ten months, or even ten years. Please understand that I’m not trying to talk you out of that idea you are rehearsing in your mind. I’m just trying to get you to slow down long enough to do it in God’s timing. As for the specifics of your case and how you apply the “count to ten “rule — or if you even need to apply it at all — that’s something you’ll have to hash out with God.