“And what do you do?”
It’s a normal question, a defining question. Tell me what you do with your time, so I can understand who you are.
For a lot of us, if we’re honest, the answer would be, “I wait.”
We wait for the next thing, wait for the kids to be grown, wait for our ship to come in, wait for the right relationships, wait for our dreams to come true and our questions to be answered. And sometimes the waiting drives us a little out of our minds.
We fidget and spin circles, and our impatience drives us so hard against tomorrow that we forget to see today.
We forget to see the truth.
Waiting is close to God’s heart.
He wrote pauses into Creation; times to sleep and lay dormant. God, Himself, set the rhythm of waiting into motion when He stopped and rested after six days of bringing life out of nothing.
We see throughout the Bible the value God places on times of waiting.
The gift of the Sabbath, a rest day for His people.
A four-hundred-year silence between the promises in the book of Malachi and the coming of Jesus, the Messiah.
Verses like this:
“Wait for the LORD, be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” ~Psalm 27:14 (NIV)
“LORD, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.” ~Psalm 37:7 (NIV)
“But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.’ ~Micah 7:7 (NIV)
What makes waiting hard for us is that we’re waiting for the wrong thing. We stretch to find answers, to wrap our fingers around something we believe will bring us fulfillment, until our energy is spent. We want and we hope and we worry, and the passing days empty us of joy and we forget what it is that we were really looking for.
It all comes down to what we’re looking for.
There’s a kind of waiting that fills. Like an athlete who holds a pose until muscles burn, we can find strength that builds because of the pauses.
Joseph, the son of Israel’s patriarch, Jacob, was a teenager when God gave him dreams full of promise, but it was a long time before he saw those dreams fulfilled. And when the time came, he was ready and strong.
He was strong because he waited.
Joseph hung on through circumstances that looked hope-stripping.
He hung on to the God of hope.
When our eyes are on God, we step into a holy hush where waiting becomes confident expectation, and He reaches in and steadies us quiet so we can hear His whisper.
“Be still and know that I am God.” ~Psalm 46:10a
Be still and know.
Be still and GROW.
In the stillness, our roots go deep and we find the GRIT to hold on to the ONE who holds all our tomorrows; emboldening us with Godly Grit.
Hold on, friend. Hold on and be held.
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This world can be a heavy place.
The kind of heavy that presses down and makes it hard to breathe.
We rush to outrun pain and busy ourselves to forget the crushing weight of days and months and years that don’t turn out the way we thought they would. All of us who have lived a little while know it, that pounding of a frenzied heart racing to keep a desperate body moving. And we push on like we’re been chased by time, carrying that airless ache in our chests.
We’re born with an instinct to be curled inward, legs pulled up and fists closed tight. It’s what feels natural and comfortable. As we grow, our bodies adapt and learn to function stretched tall and open, but a lot of us keep living in an emotional fetal position. We’re afraid to be seen and known. We’re afraid of pain and loss and not having enough.
When an old year slides out like a sigh and another one begins, there’s a natural pause at the cusp of all the newness. A lot of us stop and do some thinking.
What do I want from this new year?
How do I kick off the things that have been tying me down in my health, my finances, my career, my relationships?
How do I find freedom?