“God’s timing is perfect. Just wait on Him,” you hear thrown onto you in an attempt to make light of the grips of your seemingly never-ending struggle.
“That’s easy for you to say,” you think, “you don’t have to endure what I’m struggling with.”
Let’s be honest. Waiting on God’s timing sounds beautiful and righteous up until the moment that you are literally challenged to wait. The moment when your heart is challenged at the draw between your most longed for desire and the sovereign mysteries of God’s plan that just doesn’t seem to be going your way.
What about those seasons of life that don’t look the way you want it to look? Where we are not where we want to be. The harsh realities that build a bitter discontentment in your heart and questioning if God really cares about your best at all. That make you question if it would be better if you just took things in your own hands. The season of your life where no door is opening in the direction you hoped for.
Whether it be finding a spouse, getting married, switching to a more ideal career, or making any life change that just seems out of reach right now- outwardly you maintain your faith but if you were to be honest, deep down your heart bitterly cries out, “God I’m tired of waiting on you! I don’t want to wait anymore.”
Can I be completely real with you?
I am a terrible waiter. Every time I feel I’ve got this patience thing down and things are going good, something comes to test it. My ambition gets the best of me. My first reaction wants to figure it out, make a plan and put my hand to the plow to make it work out. Because you see, I am great at making things work but I am terrible at letting things be out of my control.
Maybe you relate.
And maybe, like me, you’ve found this often to be the root of your anxiety.
At some point, you stopped trusting that God would be God, but in an effort to control things they ended up having a bitter control over your heart and mind.
If you’ve been discontent with any area of your life and have found it to be straining on your faith, welcome to being human. We’re going to walk through this together.
We live in an instant society.
We live in the most instant society this world has ever seen. Everything comes to us quickly- our food, our news, our messages. We have mastered the ability to deliver an entire idea in a matter of 140 characters (God forbid we be forced to endure anything any longer). Technology has changed the game. In fact, research is showing that our attention span is weakening and has decreased from an average of 12 seconds to just 8 seconds. That is literally less than a goldfish.
Being raised in a fast paced society where everything is racing and presented to us on demand has played a toll on our general character of patience. We are losing the beauty of stillness, being in the moment and letting the untampered process of nature unfold before us.
Don’t get me wrong, patience has always been a human issue- not just a millennial issue. It took no time for the Israelites to build a golden calf upon waiting for Moses, though they had just seen God’s power in full action across the sea. The pride of the human heart declares that God is created for us and should bend to our wishes on our timing; but this is a heart that forgot who God is.
My first advice, is that we practice getting comfortable with stillness. And practice consistently because it’s coming harder and harder to us. Whether that be taking a walk, sitting and watching the sun set, going on an internet sabbatical, soaking in a bath, basking in God’s presence surrounded with worship music or reading his word in the silence- carve out moments to be still, relinquish control and get in touch with your soul.
Resist the temptation to shortcut your process.
Patience is the kind of pain that’s good for us. But we just really want to avoid the pain part at all costs. It’s the discipline of giving up what you want now, for what’s best in the end. And many times we endure that process by holding on to the vision at the end of this tunnel. We hold on by not forgetting the value of what we’re fighting for.
On the other hand:
You find yourself caught up in dead end relationships because instead of waiting for Mr. Right you keep settling for Mr. Right Now- who you know is unevenly yoked.
You’re stuck in a career you don’t want to be in because it might take more work and patience to consider going back to school or working your way back up to the top in another field.
You were so quick to launch a ministry or business that looked successful but it all fell down because you lacked the patience to lay a proper foundation, personal development or put in the bounds of work in the beginning that would have made it more sustainable.
You were so quick to buy a car that you picked up the first one that was sold to you instead of looking around more and weighing your options then wonder why it’s broken down and cost you more than you put in.
Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty. –Proverbs 21:5
A lack of patience tends to send our hearts to chase the nearest shortcut. But shortcuts always fall short in the end. They lead us to start all over again and in an even worse state than had we waited patiently.
Take it from someone who has gotten caught up in shortcuts- it’s not worth it. Time is your friend. Hold on to the vision and trust the process.
You need this season more than you realize.
No matter what season you are in, God has a plan for you where you are now. Your purpose isn’t just waiting for you in the next phase of your life. Your purpose is present right now. But are you embracing it? Remember, when you are faithful with little, He can trust you with greater (Luke 16:10).
Am I being faithful with the life I’ve been dealt right now?
Are you being faithful with your singleness before even stepping into marriage?
Have you been faithful with your current job position?
Whatever you are waiting on, have you been faithful and whole-heartedly working out your purpose in that thing God entrusted to you beforehand?
I understand the discontentment that accompanies the waiting season, but here’s what I want you to remember:
Patience isn’t just meant to make you wait, it’s meant to prepare you.
In every season it is God’s goal that we are matured and equipped for the next. So while you are sitting around in your bitterness about where you are, how are you preparing for where you’re going? Use this time to grow, to mature and to make the most out of what God has in front of you now. Which leads me to my next point…
Don’t get ahead of your season.
Any time our heart begins to covet something we do not have, it will surely end in a bitter and envious dissatisfaction. This always separates our hearts from God. You cannot be content with where you are because you are more focused on where you’re not. You rob your own joy. As long as we keep looking at what we don’t have, we will never be satisfied with our lives. We become the people who constantly see the glass half empty.
This is the time to shift your focus back to reality.
Yes, you are still single.
No, you are not married yet.
Yes, you still have a duty to the job in front of you.
Whatever your reality is, face it and then proceed with how to make the most of it until a change comes.
But be careful of getting your heart carried away by living out a fantasy in your head that is not your current reality. It’s okay to have goals and dreams, but it is dangerous when they become an idol that creates a void. This is how temptation easily slips in and diverts our hearts from where we need to be.
Wait while you’re waiting.
A friend of mine gave a useful example of what it looks like to wait on God to group of teenage girls at a summer camp I was speaking to.
When you are at a restaurant and are assigned a waiter, their job is to “wait” on you. But as they are waiting on you, they are proactive and productively taking care of business at the same time- taking dishes, bringing drinks, taking care of other tables, etc.
Faith without works is dead. This season of waiting doesn’t mean sitting back and waiting for all the pieces to magically fall together in your lap. It does mean doing all that you can do and trusting God to do what you can’t. It’s taking the time to position yourself to receive what you have been waiting on.
You’re single and know you’re called to marriage, but you are growing in your purpose, an active part of a faith community and positioning yourself with the opportunity to encounter a godly man/woman- instead of in bitter isolation.
You’re in a relationship and not married, but you’re both preparing your souls, finances and mutual goals to be in alignment for the potential of a successful marriage.
You’re not at the job you want, but you’re putting out resume’s, making calls and carving out time to take a few classes to get on track with the career you believe you’re called to.
You are waiting on your purpose while you’re waiting.
You cannot serve two masters.
I fully believe that many times God lets things get out of control so that we may remember He is in control. At some point along the way, it’s easy for us to curb Him out of our lives and put our own plans and desires on the throne. But the truth is, we cannot serve ourselves and serve God. We all eventually ascribe to one master and the other slides into second place or to the point of having no place at all.
Oh, and you would make a terrible god. I would too. We fail ourselves, we’re led by our emotions, we have less control than we think. We’re either going to stay wrapped up in the pride of striving for control or surrender and submit to God and let Him give us peace while working things together for our good.
I don’t know about you, but I am so over living a life ruled by fear, discontentment, and anxiety because of striving for my own control, my way, in my timing. I’m ready to be at peace, prepare myself for what’s next and give it all to God. How about you?
Let’s chat, be sure to comment below!