Have you ever felt like you should probably wait for something but you just couldn’t? Against your better judgment you made a decision and went for it. And “it” didn’t turn out so good. Sounds like the story of my life.
Yesterday we talked about the importance of waiting for God, and God’s patience in waiting for us. As I was reading the post, the thought that kept coming to me was, “How?” Sure it’s a great idea to wait for answers or clear direction. Yes, we can be convinced that a period of waiting for God’s plan to unfold is good. But what does it mean to wait actively instead of passively? How do we wait when life’s craziness continues all around us? What if we never have a lightning bolt moment or see a neon sign that says, “The wait is over. Go this way.”? Will we be waiting forever?
How do we wait?
There’s a big difference between active waiting and passive waiting. Active waiting means that we’re continuing to put our best foot forward. We may not know the next step, but as we wait for guidance we’re learning, growing in trust, and making the best of where we are. There’s a level of contentment. Not because we’re where we want to be. But because we’re where God wants us to be.
For example, if we’re stuck in a mud pit, active waiting would be looking around to ascertain the benefits of our location, finding creative uses for mud (like facial scrub), and enjoying hot mud baths so we’re refreshed when we’re rescued. We’ll exit the mud pit with new ideas, new confidence and strength, and a new level of thankfulness–for our time in the mud and for moving on. We’ll be amazed at how God used our time in the mud to prepare us for the next phase of our journey.
Passive waiting means we’re not doing much of anything. We’re sulking and resigning ourselves to being stuck in the mud for the rest of our life. We’re complaining to anyone who comes within earshot. And we continually focus on how much we hate mud! When the time comes for us to exit the mud pit, we think it was a waste. We didn’t learn anything, we’re tired and bitter, and we accuse God of treating us unfairly. Unfortunately, God’s intention was to open up a whole new horizon after the mud pit. But we’re not ready.
So how do we get to that place of active waiting when we’re caught in the whirlwind of life? Three steps.
1. Go to God. How? By opening His Word, the Bible, and allowing Him to speak. By praying and asking God to reveal Himself in a new way. Seeking God is not about getting answers. It’s about getting God. It’s about truly getting to know Him. It’s about loving Him and trusting Him, even if we don’t understand why we are where we are, how long we’ll be here, or what comes next. God says, “Come to Me and I will come to you” (James 4:8 paraphrase). He also says, “Return to Me and I will return to you” (Zechariah 1:3). If we’re with God, we’re where He wants us to be. And there’s no better place to be than right in the middle of God’s will. Seek God first. And everything else falls into place.
2. Be open minded and teachable. This means letting go of our own desires. It means we have to stop pushing for a particular outcome. As the saying goes, “Let go and let God.” As we let go of our hold on a situation, we let God take over for His glory. And if we stop obsessing and driving toward the result we want, we start seeing other options. Maybe what we want is good, but it’s not always best. God wants what’s best. We may not understand His plan. But when we look back, we’ll see how amazing His path really was.
3. Embrace the period of waiting with thankfulness. We’ve talked in previous blogs about how being thankful in our circumstances is different than being thankful for them. We may not want to be in our current situation. And that’s ok. But praising God as we wait and being thankful that He’s with us keeps us from sinking down. Waiting is a time to be building bonds with those around us. We’re growing in sisterhood. We’re finding others to run the race with us when the next phase starts. It’s about enjoying the journey. Even during an unplanned pit stop.
Actively wait. Go to God. Be open minded and teachable. Embrace the period of waiting with thankfulness. Build new bonds of sisterhood. And experience God like never before.
“Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
May I pray?
God, we don’t like to wait, probably because we’re not good at it. Most of us struggle with how to wait without getting anxious and bitter. Help us to learn how to come to You first. Help us to learn the discipline of opening Your Word and reading each day so we can hear directly from You. Help us to learn to pray and listen. Lord, please open our eyes and minds to You and Your leading. And may we truly embrace the wait as we find ways to grow new sisterhood friendships. Amen.
Q4U: What’s an area of your life characterized by passive waiting instead of active waiting?