Embrace the Wait

Embrace the Wait

Waiting, the awkward in between, down time, transition time, interm

Transition. The only thing that never changes is change, right? What about when you know a change is coming and you’re stuck waiting for it to happen? What do you call that?

The Wait.

That’s where I am. Waiting. Yet, I also think that is where I have been most of my life. When I was a kid, I was waiting to be 12 to get my ears pierced. Then, I was waiting to be 16 to start driving on my own. Then, I was waiting to graduate and go to college. Then, I was waiting to graduate again and do what I really wanted to do, go to grad school. Now, I am waiting yet again, to fulfill this God-given dream and calling, something that will take years of day in and day out work and dedication, not just a sign on the wall to say I’m done.

I would say there are two types of waiting: Passive and Active.

When I was a late teenager and young adult, I would passively (often anxiously) wait on my date to come pick me up. This meant everything stopped and the only thing I did was wait. It was a very unproductive time. NOTE: There is a difference between being still and being passive. Passive waiting is impatient and hurried while not getting much at all, and being still is not necessarily about waiting, but about calming the mind, body, and soul enough to find peace and hear God. You can be still while you wait, but the passive wait will consume you.

The other kind of wait is active. This means that in the midst of the waiting, I am still doing, still being, still LIVING. For me, that means I am still taking every opportunity to listen, grow, and develop myself, even if it may not be completely applicable for my longer term goals that I am waiting to achieve.

An active wait means that my heart is engaged and seeking what God wants for me in the midst of the time. Especially in suffering, we want it to pass as quickly as possible, but James tells us to embrace trials because we know what they produce. That sounds like an active wait to me- wanting to get the most out of an experience, even suffering, because we know it produces character!

Waiting in the Bible

Probably one of the biggest examples of the passive wait is the Israelites in the Bible. They waited YEARS to get into the promised land and for many, the waiting consumed them and they impatiently turned to complaining and other gods as a result.

On the other hand, Jacob worked 7 years waiting to marry Rachel, and then another 7 after he had been duped. That’s 14 years of waiting, and yet Genesis 29 shows us that the wait seemed like only a few days. He knew his reward and not even the most grueling of waits could get his spirit down.

You may be saying, well I don’t know my reward. If I knew I would for sure get that sexy spouse or job, or [insert other goal here] in 7 years, of course it would make the wait pass by easily, at least I would know it would happen!

What about when we don’t know the outcome?

One of the biggest pictures of waiting is Jacob’s own son, Joseph. He was given a vision that one day he would be great and all his family would bow down to him. However, he did NOT have a timeline or a conceivable way for that to happen. When he was almost killed and then sold into slavery, it seemed like the opposite would happen, yet he ACTIVELY waited. He became the greatest he could in the worst of circumstances each time. He did not let the wait reduce him to complaining and wandering aimlessly, instead, he put in the work and used his gifts right where he was.

Regardless of the kind of wait, we know the process should be filled with HOPE because we have a reason to HOPE in God.

What are YOU waiting for?

HOW are you waiting?

Psalm 130:5-6 ESV

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning.

Psalm 27:14 ESV 

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

 

Wisdom and trials

Wisdom and trials

James is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Over the years, I have had the privilege of doing a few in depth studies on the book, which have only grown my love. 

Recently, I was given a copy of the Voice translation of the Bible and decided to read James. 

One part in particular really stood out to me in a way that I had never been able to read it before. On asking for wisdom in chapter 1, this is what we are to do: 

The key is that your request be anchored by your single minded commitment to God. Those who depend on their own judgment are like those lost on the seas, carried away by any wave or picked up by any wind. Those adrift on their own wisdom shouldn’t assume the Lord will rescue them or bring them anything. The splinter of divided loyalty shatters your compass and leaves you dizzy and confused. 
James 1:6-8(Voice) 

I italicized the last sentence because that point screams loud and clear, that if you are not all in, if you are riding the fence, trying to please all parties, you will only be left dizzy and confused. In the verses before, James speaks of how trials produce patience in us, and make us more mature. We have the opportunity to ask God for wisdom and he will give to anyone who asks. BUT, the key is the single-minded commitment to God. God often uses our trials to get us to that point of complete surrender. 

James is not my favorite book because I love trials–I’m not sure if anyone loves them. However, I do love what trials produce. Maturity and completeness, patience and other godly characteristics that would not be there had it not been for a trial. 

That is why I am thankful for James, and I am thankful for trials. Because I am reminded to look at the complete picture and the end result, not just the moments of pain or sorrow. 

Puzzling over Puzzles

Blue-Puzzle-Piece-Free-HD

Sometimes, life is like a puzzle. This analogy may not make sense if you are not familiar with doing the big 500 or 1000 piece puzzles, but my grandma, mom and many other family members love big puzzles. We have our systems down and share the box to see the big picture, celebrating with each other when we find the right fit.

Most of the time, we start on the boarder, this is the easiest part because all of the edges are straight, there is not much of a need to even look at the box, because the process is in place and we know the routine. It is the rest of the puzzle where the guide of the bigger picture is a necessity.

Similarly, early on in life, you just live it, without many decisions to make because the steps are all laid out for you. You eat, cry, learn to crawl, then walk, potty train, and feed yourself. As we get older, there are more decisions to make and often we can start to think about the bigger picture of our lives.

Recently, I feel that God has shown me the box, the big picture. However, I only get a glimpse before I’m right back at it, looking at this little puzzle piece, trying to figure out where it fits. Once I get that piece, I can move on to the next. Sometimes, I will examine a piece for a time and put it down, because it is in a section of the puzzle not even started yet.

I am thankful that God shows me a glimpse of the big picture sometimes because it gives me a hope for my future and direction for where the next piece of the puzzle goes. Puzzles, like life, take patience. Sometimes we are surprised with how easy a piece fits or we know exactly where it goes. Other times, we search and search and try all of the different options, only to give up and try again another time.

I am also thankful for a God who is patient with me. He knows the whole picture with each and every minute detail that I have yet to discover. He celebrates with me when that piece that I have struggled with over and over finally goes into the right spot!

Life is a process and God is a patient God. In the meantime, we are called to “Pray continually, rejoice always, and give thanks in all circumstances.” (1 Thes. 5:18-19) This is one of my favorite verses because it is such a great reminder of what I can always do even if I am not sure what else to do.

Slowly, piece by piece, the bigger picture is coming together. I keep pressing on because I know my Puzzle maker, and he lovingly created me for a purpose, and the result will be a beautiful picture of a life complete. It is in the struggle where we begin to become complete and mature (James 1). What is your piece of the puzzle that you are examining currently?