It’s a habit of many people to choose a word to define their year. Sort of a mantra or theme for the year. I’ve done it in the past and never really stuck to it except for once or twice (like the year I had my gastric bypass surgery my word/theme was “Healthy”) because I usually am distracted by allthethings life throws at me and a theme doesn’t usually emerge until I’m looking backwards at the end of the year.
This past year, I had a few things change in my personal life that came from some hard choices I had to make – choices about continuing to walk down a path I was on or stop, regroup, and find a new path; choices about health (again) and about where to invest my time and energy. Nothing necessarily negative, but things that may seem small at first glance but can shape your future whether you realize it or not.
And in making some of those choices I kept hearing one word in my head – or one theme at least. And that was this:
Now, if you know me at all, you know that I am not generally a “waiting” kind of gal. I am a “get things done,” “take charge,” “make it happen” kind of gal. I don’t generally sit around waiting for things to happen. I make things happen. Both in my personal and in my professional life. It is very much tied to my identity – who I believe I am, who others believe me to be. It’s what I’m paid to do as well! I’m good at it. Very good.
And so, this idea of waiting has been a hard one for me.
God has moved some things out of my life that I thought were the things I was supposed to be doing – things I was very passionate about and very invested in. And he has moved other things into my life that have caused me to slow down (full stop, actually) and to say no to a lot of things I would really like to be doing or to say “not right now” to other things I had been doing.
And that’s just not who I am. I’m the girl you can count on when you need help. I am the one who will help you organize all the things, get the events done — set up, clean up, show up. That’s me.
So, now what do I do with this waiting?
It’s so foreign to me.
And yet it feels like it is exactly what I am supposed to be doing right now.
I feel like God is moving chess pieces, lining things up, working on my heart and in my life to prepare me for something – what I do not yet know – and my job is to rest in this quiet period and prepare myself for what is to come.
But when you are a do-er and a maker-of-things-happening, waiting, especially when you don’t know what you are waiting for, is very hard.
If I knew, I could be preparing, right? If I knew, I could study, or research, exercise, whatever. But since I don’t know, I can’t.
And maybe that is part of what I need to learn.
That sometimes (most of the time, if we’re honest) we don’t know what is coming around the bend. And we are certainly not in charge of our future, however much we want to delude ourselves into thinking that we are.
This year (so far) is an exercise in trust. In faith. In really reaching deep and in saying “Ok, God, I don’t know where this is heading or what it is you want me to do, but I’m going to put one foot in front of the other every day and trust that you will lay the path before me each day.” And isn’t that really what we are called to do?
Matthew says (in chapter six of his gospel) “So don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
I am really trying to live this out this year – taking one day at a time – one minute at a time – and letting God direct my path.
Some days I am better at this than others, my family can surely attest to that! Some days I am so frustrated at not knowing what is coming next, where I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing.
And when I find myself spiraling into this miasma of trying to fill the void with something, anything I stop and wait. I stop and pray “Ok, God, I know you have plans for me. I am here for what you set before me. Lead me. I will wait.”
But, I think, in the waiting I am learning. I am growing. I am finding out things about myself that I might not have found otherwise. And I’m trying to learn patience and trust. To let go of my need to control my future and let God handle that.
And isn’t that what faith is about?
I mean, if we really believe God is sovereign, all knowing, omnipresent, and Lord of All, why don’t we let Him rule our lives as He designed us to do anyway?
Is it that we feel as if He might get it wrong? Or put us in a situation we can’t handle or don’t want?
I think, maybe, He does just that. (and sometimes we do it to ourselves, if we’re honest. We do have free will. We are not slaves to God) But maybe, just maybe, it’s in those times when we are out of our comfort zone, out of our happy place, that God is there beside us ready to carry us through – to show us a part of ourselves we may never have seen otherwise. To lead us to a new plane of reality we’d have never reached if we’d stayed in our comfy place.
I’m still not content here in this period of waiting. I’ll be honest. I am ready for things to happen and for me to know what is next so I can just go do it.
But I’m also learning to lean in to God. And to slow down and listen to what the Holy Spirit is teaching me in this fallow time. And hopefully, on the other side of this, I’ll be better prepared for what is to come. And once the brakes have been taken off, I’m ready to race forward into whatever that is, fully charged and ready to invest all.