#Write31Days – Post 11 – Waiting on the Lord

clock

A little bit of truth here, I am NOT the world’s most patient person.  I really hate to wait for anything.  It’s not from a space of instant gratification either, it is actually everything else.  I don’t like to wait because I feel like time is being wasted.  There are other things I could be doing in that time, that are important and need to be accomplished.  Or,  on the other side of the coin, I don’t want to waste another minute not doing the thing I have been called to do.

When my daughter went to the DMV to get her learners permit, it was tortuous.  I couldn’t help but think of the hundreds of things I could be doing instead of sitting.  Just sitting.  Her number gets called, but it is just to prepare her paperwork.  Then we have to sit again.  Then she takes the written exam, and we have to sit again.  She is then called back up for the eye exam, to answer a few questions for her license and take her photo.  We sit again, waiting for the license to be printed.

SO. MUCH. WAITING.

There have been times that I could see where God was moving me, long before I actually got there.  Waiting would be so hard, because I knew that we were just wasting time.  If I could get there NOW, so much more could be accomplished.

GOD SAYS WAIT.

But, waiting is hard.  Ask any three year old who is waiting on mom to get off the phone and fix the thing that she broke for the hundredth time that day.

WAITING IS HARD.

Our world of increased technology has created in us a spirit that we shouldn’t have to wait, not for long anyway.  We have information available to us at the touch of a button.  An oil change on our car can be done during our lunch break.  Meals are ready and waiting at drive through windows.  We do not have to suffer through life due to infertility we can adopt, we can have medical interventions, and surrogate mothers.  Anything we need, we can just go right out and buy.  We no longer have to wait for things to be constructed or manufactured.  Thanks to flight, I can leave my home and go anywhere in the world in a day’s time.

All of this progress has made waiting all that much harder.

But the Lord, He waits.  Bible account, after Bible account…. He waits.

He waits long enough for Noah to build an Ark.  Israel wanders the desert for forty years while He prepares a place. He waits for Lot to flee. Nehemiah waits four months while God makes provisions for the task ahead.  Even after Christ is crucified, the Lord waited three days for him to rise.

We have all heard and said the cliched response of “In the Lord’s timing….”.  We know the scriptures say that His ways are not our ways.  So we know in our minds that His timing is not our timing…. but the flesh doesn’t like that answer.  Waiting is hard.

This is where we begin to make our biggest mistakes.

As a wife, I may have come to a decision about something I feel God is calling us to.  My husband doesn’t agree.  I rush him to a decision in my favor by manipulating him, as I walk through the home depressed and crying.  I withhold affection from him, yell and demean him, make him feel guilty.

As a ministry worker, I see the direction that God is leading our ministry.  However the things we need to get there are slow in coming.  I take it upon myself to make things move faster.  I work in my own strength and ability.

I feel called to move to another state, but I don’t know the rhyme or reason, I sell everything and pack the family up, and we move.  I have no clue why, or what for.  I am following blindly.

The thing we have to understand is that when it is something God has willed for us, we must be patient and allow him to unfold it in HIS timing, not our own.

When we rush God, we will often shortchange our blessing.   God had a bigger picture in store, but because we were foolish and couldn’t wait… we get something smaller.  The reason this happens is that we are incapable of seeing or knowing all of the things that God is moving around in the background.

In every piece of scripture God’s people waited because God was doing something.  God was giving Noah the time he needed to construct the Ark.  God was PREPARING a place for Israel to call home.  God was PROVIDING the necessities Nehemiah would need for his task.  God was CHANGING the hearts of men.  God was PROTECTING his children.

God goes before us, and he comes behind.

As we sit and wait, we feel like God is doing nothing… but in reality GOD IS DOING EVERYTHING.  Everything that is necessary to get your from point A to point B.  He isn’t being still, ignoring your prayers, nor has he forgotten the calling He put on your heart.  He is making the arrangements for it to happen.  He will move people into place that you will need to learn from or will assist you.  He is making sure the financial provisions are met, or the supplies are provided.  If you are to fill a vacancy, he must first make it vacant and move that person to their new calling.

The good news is that waiting on the Lord is never a waste of time.  There are many things we can be doing, actively, while we wait.  I look at “waiting on the Lord” in the same way as a waitress will serve a customer.  A good waitress (servant) doesn’t just seat her patron (God) and never return to the table.  NO!  She welcomes the patron to her table (life).  She may compliment (praise) him.  She will offer to get a drink while he is making his decision (service, offering).  She will take his order (receive his calling).  She will check in with him to ensure everything is to his liking (prayer life).  She will present His bill & He will pay that price (Christ).  She invites him to come back (willing to continue to serve).

In the time that it takes a customer to place an order the waitress is never WAITING, just wasting time sitting around.  In fact, while He is considering the menu… what is she doing?  Rushing around and serving other people.  No time is wasted.  Her waiting is not passive, but very VERY active.

When God told Noah that He was going to flood the earth, Noah was given the time to construct the Ark. Noah was actively working while God was preparing.  When Moses wandered the desert with Israel, Moses  was actively ordering the nation’s laws, societal structure, and people.   When God called Nehemiah to return to rebuild Jerusalem, there were four months between when God planted the seed and when God called Nehemiah to move.  In the four months, Nehemiah was praying while God was putting things into order.

These men were not sitting under a tree, like lumps, waiting for God to deliver them to their calling on a silver platter.  NO.  They were working, they were building, they were shaping, they were serving and they were praying.

If you are waiting on God,  it is time to get to action.  This doesn’t mean moving mountains to make Him move faster in your desires.  It means that while you are waiting on God to answer your prayers or his provision… you are:

Serving God in the ministries of your church or in your community.

Serving God’s people through hospitality, generosity, use of your gifts and talents.

Praying, faithfully, every day.  Not just for yourself, but for others.

Praise God as you reflect and share with others how He has moved in your life in the past.

Pray for discernment that God will direct your paths for today, and you will not worry about the days to come.

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STALLING YOUR CALLING

MBA

Timing is everything.

I realize I write for mostly women, and I am about to make another car reference.  Sorry.

I drive a 5 speed manual (stick shift) and let me tell you nothing is more embarrassing when I mess up and the car stalls.  Not only do you hear a loud clunk sound, but you can actually feel it.  You can feel the clunk.  The car stalls because of a few reasons, but ultimately they all come back to timing.  You see, driving a stick shift is all about timing… left foot operating the clutch, right foot the gas, and your right hand is working the shifter.  If your timing is off on just one of those things, your car will stall.  It most often happens in the parent pick up line, because I’m moving through stop and barely go traffic.  Nothing like stalling your car in front of everyone at the school.

So it goes with life, and with our desire to be in God’s will.  At times we may want things to move faster, because we really want what God promised us!  Like when you tell your kids they have thirty minutes to clean up their room, promising a treat if they get it done.  Fifteen minutes later they are in the kitchen declaring they are done.  Upon close inspection, however, mom finds out that the only reason they finished quickly is due to their decision to stuff things under the bed, in drawers, and in the closet.  The room appeared clean, but it wasn’t.  Now, not only do they not get their treat, but they are probably in trouble.  CLUNK.  There may be times where we know something MUST be done, but we drag our feet because we just don’t want to – or perhaps we don’t understand WHY it must be done.  Your boss gives you several projects with deadlines.  You really don’t want to do them, so you take your sweet time.  You are not worried that you will lose your job.  What is the worst case scenario?  What you didn’t know was that this was all a test to see if you could handle a promotion to a new position.  You failed.  You missed the blessing.  CLUNK.

Timing is everything.  God’s timing is perfect.

Have you ever found yourself feeling that God is calling you to do something specific? One of the most difficult things we can face is waiting for God’s calling to come to fruition.  So, we may try to hasten it.

When God promised Abraham and Sarah a baby, they couldn’t wait on God’s timing.  So, Sarah offered her servant to her husband.  Haggar got pregnant and had a baby boy, Ishmael.   While this was Sarah’s idea, she became jealous of Haggar and the boy.  Sarah was trying to rush God’s blessing, and that had consequences for Abraham, Sarah, Haggar and Ishmael.    CLUNK.

On the other hand, if we don’t like, don’t understand or are afraid of what God is calling us to do…. we may put on the brakes.

Jonah was called by God to travel to the city of Nineveh, but Jonah really didn’t want to.  Admittedly, Jonah had good reason to NOT want to go.   Jonah didn’t respond to God’s calling, and was swallowed by a whale.  Dragging his feet and making excuses had a whale sized consequence for Jonah.  CLUNK.

We don’t always stall by trying to move too fast or respond too slowly to God’s call. 

We can stall by looking at the small picture, instead of the big picture.   We can stall when we try to interpret our calling based on human understand versus God’s intentions.  We can stall when we try and claim a calling that was for someone else because it is admirable, or the person doing it is.  We can stall when allow our own bias to try and direct our calling in a specific direction.

When ever we try and influence our calling from our own desires, we are going to stall God’s complete blessing.  CLUNK.

We may get what we want, we may be successful in our endeavors… but the blessing will never be as sweet.    We may not appreciate it as much, because we didn’t have to wait for it.  We may not find a feeling of contentment or satisfaction from it, because the blessing wasn’t complete.  We may face consequences of not having the right resources in place when we needed them, and struggle to move forward.  We may find quick and measurable success and then CLUNK… it stalls.  And when the unexpected occurs, we find ourselves unable to handle these situations because we skipped over important lessons we could have learned along the way.  We may even find total and complete success and fall apart because we don’t have the means to administer that success effectively.  CLUNK.

When God moves things according to His purposes, it takes time.  We have lessons to learn.  Small problems that pop up will help us navigate the big ones in the future.  The right people need to be moved into place, and that may result in God moving someone across country… or they have to experience a success in their life before they can bless your calling.   You will find, as you wait on God, that you are better prepared for what lies ahead.  And, for some of us, to our surprise, we may find that what we THOUGHT  God was calling us to do, was something entirely different.  Something greater than we could have ever imagined for ourselves.

If you feel like your calling is stalling, here are some great questions to ask yourself:

1)  Is this calling part of my daily prayer life?  Do I have others praying with me over this?

2)  Is the calling really stalled or does God have me in a period of waiting?  Pray for direction.

3)  Have I been rushing to make things happen according to my timeline?  Pray for patience, and peace.

4)  Am I dragging my feet because I don’t want to do, or don’t understand, what God is requiring of me?  Pray for motivation & desire.

5)  Am I doing something to hinder that call?  Pray for clarity in your life & revelation of sin or idols in your life that are in the way.

6) Do I understand the call or am I applying my own desires to it?  Pray for discernment and for God’s affirmation.

God’s timing is perfect, and when He is ready for you to move, or to wait… He will reveal it to you.  He will hear your prayers, He will answer them.  It may show up in your prayer journal, opportunities that present themselves, people He moves into your life, the Holy Spirit compelling you, or the audible voice of God.

If you are too busy trying to work it out yourself, you might miss it.

Remember, all that we do is for His glory and for His purposes.  If we are too busy doing it on our own power and ability, we can’t give Him the glory.  He may be stalling your calling, to remind you He is in charge & to get you back on track.