“I’ll get that fixed in a jiffy,” the plumber said. “That’s great,” I replied, “I can’t afford to pay for a big project.” Little did we know that a corroded water line was about to break just beyond our view.

So how long is a jiffy? I’ve learned to respond to requests that come with “this shouldn’t take long” by pointing out that everything takes time. Nothing happens with human effort that takes zero time. And usually, something else has to give, be delayed, or not happen at all.

But how long is a jiffy? I turned to the internet library known as Wikipedia. I discovered that before jiffy was a muffin mix or a place to get my oil changed, a jiffy was sometimes used for units of measure elsewhere. For example, in quantum physics, a jiffy is defined as the time taken for light to travel one fermi or about 3 × 1024 seconds to cross the diameter of a proton. That’s really fast!

An oil change at a Jiffy Lube takes at least 15 minutes, even when there is no wait. Muffins made from Jiffy Mix need to bake for 15 to 20 minutes. So some jiffies take longer than others.

So how long is a jiffy? Perhaps a jiffy is fast enough that we’re not annoyed by the wait. So how long are we willing to wait for something really important? Such as something that frees us from emotional harm that persistently interferes with our happiness?

According to Aundi Kolber, a licensed therapist living in Colorado, this sort of work takes a long time. Let’s call this wait a “Jiffy plus” to represent anything we want to occur in less time than it actually takes. Long enough to push our buttons, cause us to sweat, and annoys us. A jiffy plus is how long it takes to accomplish something worth doing.

Creating a masterpiece takes a jiffy plus.

Welcome to episode one of our new series, Masterpiece. This series is about you and your work on the masterpiece that God created when God created you. You are a masterpiece that takes a Jiffy plus to make.

But how long is a Jiffy plus?

A long time. Long enough to annoy you, make you sweat, and create just enough anxiety and impatience that you’ll want to find any shortcut you can. Spoiler alert! There aren’t any shortcuts to creating a masterpiece.

In her book Try Softer, Aundi Kolber reminds us that in creating the masterpiece that is you ‘the true work is slow and deep.” Aundi shares her struggles with wanting to push through emotional pain rather than face the hard work of healing. However, she recommends that we let go of looking for the quick fix and try softer rather than trying harder to push through.

Psalm 13 offers a universal question that many of us want answered but are afraid to ask. The writer asks God, “How long must I endure trouble?” In other words, the writer of this Psalm asks God, “How long is a jiffy plus?”

There’s a story in Isaiah about a time people were feeling the same way as the writer of Psalm 13. It’s understandable. They were following the rules, showing up at church almost every weekend, and even fasting for the most part. But God didn’t seem to notice, or so it seemed.

Their snide remarks and persistent whining got God’s attention alright. But instead of coddling them, God called them out.  God pointed out that they go through the motions without putting in the hard work of getting along with and taking care of each other. God put the answer to “how long” back into their hands. “You tell me,” God responded, “How long you’ll fight with each other rather than doing the hard work that allows you to work together in harmony?”

There are plenty of reasons we struggle to get along with one another. But we don’t need to agree on politics or solutions to work together. Unfortunately, however, arguments frequently break out after a response that seems out of place or unwarranted. And we take it personally, not knowing that what we said struck a nerve we didn’t know existed. Nor can we know, mainly if our antagonist isn’t aware that their outburst was caused by deep-seated hurt they chose to suppress.

It’s complicated. This is why God gives folks like Aundi Kolber the capacities and passion for helping folks like you and me deal with our deep-seated emotional problems. Our emotional and mental health is just as important as brushing our teeth.

The problems in our community are solvable. But the solutions require cooperation and finding common ground. Instead, I’ve witnessed continued bickering leading to personal attacks and threats over the past decade. Do you wonder what God is thinking?

“The truth is… you pursue your own interests …and you quarrel and fight. Do you think this… will make me listen to your prayers?
Isaiah 54:3-4

There is good news. We are the ones we’re waiting on.

Our Savior already came, offered each of us salvation, and gave us the power to choose for ourselves. Do we want heaven on earth? It’s simple. Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.

The question is, how much do you love yourself? And this is where hard work is needed.

In the first chapter of her book, Aundi Kolber offers a way to help us examine how we arrived at whatever point we find ourselves. Take a sheet of paper, place the paper on its side and draw a line across the middle. Label the left side of the paper “born” and write your birthdate. Next, label the other end of the line “Today.”

Start listing significant events in your life, paying careful attention to place them in the order they occurred. Start with your favorites, such as the birth of a child or a wedding. Next, include other key events that significantly impacted your life. Finally, pay attention to how your body responds to the events. Are there a few things that you’re not sure you can even write down?

Hold onto this. We’re just getting started and it’s going to take a Jiffy plus before we’re done.

I invite you to join us each week for our series called Masterpiece. Our goal is to learn how to let God help us find joy, but not by trying harder.

You can join us each Sunday online by going to the button on the homepage of our websiteClick here to watch. This button takes you to our YouTube channel. You can find more information about us on our website at FlintAsbury.org.

A reminder that we publish this newsletter that we call the Circuit Rider each week. You can request this publication by email. Send a request to connect@FlintAsbury.org or let us know when you send a message through our website. We post an archive of past editions on our website under the tab, Connect – choose Newsletters.

Pastor Tommy

1 Aundi Kolber. Try Softer: A Fresh Approach to Move Us out of Anxiety, Stress, and Survival Mode–and into a Life of Connection and Joy. Carol Street, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2020.