I stood at the sink washing dishes a few days ago, mentally making a note about something that needed to be dealt with in December. September had barely started, but summer already felt long ago and my mind was gradually moving to 2018.
I feel like I’ve just been coasting this year. My schedule has been full and my to-do lists have been long, but I feel like hardly anything has happened.
Stability and a relatively uneventful 8 months is a welcome change from the couple of years before. But something feels strange. Maybe it’s the season I’m in, where time passes without even realizing, and it’s full of “have to” and “real life” stuff.
It feels like something’s missing.
It occurred to me that I stopped journaling about my journey of waiting just before the beginning of this year. Processing the seemingly never-ending wait had both exhausted and tested me, and I was ready to move forward toward something new.
I stopped waiting to see if my body would heal.
I stopped waiting to see if life would begin moving and not just stand still.
I stopped waiting to see if dreams would only ever stay dreams and never make their way into reality.
I wanted to receive only what God would give and stop demanding more. I wanted to be content.
But now the heart-noise of waiting has been replaced with the silence of mindless routine – a strange version of complacency – and I’m not sure what happens next.
I’ve said before I prefer normal, everyday life. And I do. Still, this restless feeling seems to always precede a much-needed change.
Then one night the Lord whispered into my heart just like He always has in moments before He does something new, interrupting the routine.
He brought my attention to all the ways things have changed over the past couple of years, and I couldn’t deny the sense that He was getting ready to do something.
He was getting me ready. But for what?
I mostly had forgotten about it until I heard a sermon a few weeks later – one of those you know was meant just for you to hear. It was about waiting.
And being ready.
It was an empathetic voice giving strength to this heart that’s sometimes a little afraid to hope. I had stopped asking. I stopped hoping. I stopped waiting. I had been disappointed in the past and I figured out disappointment can’t happen if you never hope.
But neither can gifts be given with hands that aren’t open – aren’t ready – to receive.
God doesn’t give until we’re ready. We may not have any control over when we’re ready, but we can be willing. And that makes us ready to one day be ready; whether it’s tomorrow or seven years later.
Willingness is the grunt work of the heart that no one wants to talk about because it’s difficult and messy. It requires stepping out of what’s comfortable, radically changing our expectations, and leaping off an edge without the end in sight. You don’t know how long you’ll fall. You don’t know exactly where you’ll land. But you’re in the only place where literally anything can happen. You’re ready – no longer waiting around for someone to say, “Go.” You just went, no looking back, trusting there is a plan and a purpose on the other side. Knowing you’ll end up right where He wants you to be, no matter how long it takes.
It’s the getting ready, not the waiting, that makes our heart grow weary. It’s getting ready that’s scary and vulnerable. When we wait, to me, it seems like something passive, in the background, that we just have to do.
But getting ready – that’s where we work and we look ahead expectantly. It’s where we see the jagged edges of the cliff that threaten to thwart the plan, the ledge and security we left behind getting smaller, and we strain our eyes to look farther because we know something has to happen. He won’t just leave us here hanging.
We believe it’s coming. We believe it’s really true. We believe the time and effort we’ll put into this preparation is WORTH IT.
It’s when we don’t receive what we believe we’re ready for, what we worked for and felt was already as good as ours, that it seems as if the only hope we had was pulled out from underneath us.
So sometimes we wait, but don’t bother to prepare. We don’t jump. It’s too risky. After all, there could be rocks at the bottom. There are no guarantees.
What keeps us here?
That voice in your head that says God is going to take away and make you do what you don’t want to do, or that the future is hopeless and full of all the things you want to avoid, is the enemy’s voice. It’s not the Lord’s. That’s the voice keeping you chained to cautiously waiting and never preparing.
God calls us to hard things. But He also calls us to courage, not to fear. He calls us to MOVE with CONFIDENCE, not cower in the corner. He calls us to trust and KNOW His plan is good. Not just wonder or think it possibly might be kind of okay-ish if things work out the way we hoped all along and we are able to dodge what we’re too afraid God will ask us to do. It will be good if it’s something we’ve been hoping for, and it will be good even if it’s not.
He doesn’t move us into the next season by inflicting fear in our hearts. We face fears. We go boldly. We place our faith in the One who loves us more deeply than anyone on this world.
It reminds me of what we’re called to do as we wait for Christ to return. We BELIEVE it’s true. We KNOW it’s coming. We GET READY and PREPARE for the day; we don’t just wait. We know this risky hope that’s really the most sure thing we could ever count on is WORTH IT.
This hope will not disappoint. Even though temporary things, even good things, are never guaranteed in this life, the eternal things – like the fulfillment of the Lord’s perfect plan, His love for us, and desire for our hearts to delight in what He wants to give us – are a sure thing. We just have to adjust our focus to expect what He wants for us and not what we want.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to be ready for, or if I’m only ready to begin preparing to be ready.
But I do know that whatever God has ordained WILL come to pass. Nothing can stop it.
And whatever is not part of God’s plan will NEVER happen. Nothing can force it.
I can’t make something happen that He doesn’t want for me. I can’t run away from what He will bring me or where He will take me.
So, yeah, I’m not going to take up waiting again. But I’m not reverting to complacency. I’m jumping. I want to be ready. No excuses.
Here we go.