As I begin writing today I am sitting in a messy house, at a messy table, staring at my little guy, and you guessed it— he’s making another mess. Everything kind of feels a little messy right now. A few weeks into following my “calling” to write more and it already feels like too much for this time. But it’s also something I love and feel called to prioritize. Most importantly though, deep down I know this is all a part of God’s plan. And right now I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be— sitting here in my kitchen, with my littles, in the middle of a beautiful mess. I know God is pruning me here. Pruning me for his purpose. Shaping me into who he needs me to be in the coming season.
So today, despite the mess, I’m choosing to put one foot in front of the other in the direction of my dreams. And because it’s a place of tension for me right now, I want to focus on the waiting. That time in between getting a glimpse of God’s plan and actually making it happen. How do I use that time to wait– on purpose?
There are so many Biblical examples of waiting. It seems to be what God leads people to right after announcing something really big in their life. Abraham, Joseph, and David are the three names that come first to my mind when I think about waiting in the Bible. Abraham is kind of the guy that stands out the most to me. I don’t know if it’s because he was so old or because God’s promise to him was SO big. When Abraham was already an old man, God promised him that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky. When God first shared this promise with him, Abraham had believed that he would be forced to leave his entire inheritance to one of his servants because he didn’t have a son of his own. While Abraham waited on God’s promised child he struggled to see how it could all really be possible. So instead of waiting on God, Abraham tried to make God’s plan happen on his own terms. He slept with his wife’s servant, Hagar. And he messed up big time. But the part that I love most about his story is that, even though Abraham messes up, taking control of his own destiny instead of trusting God with his life, God still holds up his end of the deal. God’s promise is fulfilled.
Joseph’s story is a little different. He is only a teenager when he has a series of dreams that begin his journey of promise. Joseph shares these dreams with his family and as a result his own brothers sell him into slavery. Wow. So he gets real about what God is doing in his life and those that are supposed to encourage him literally throw him into a pit and eventually sell him to some Midianite traders. Joseph had to wait a long time for God’s dream to be fulfilled in his life. But as he waited, God was with him and made him successful in everything that he did. Even when Joseph was sent to prison. Genesis 39:21-23 says this, “But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.” Even at his lowest, God was with him— taking care of him, and personally shaping him into the man he needed him to be for the great work ahead. I think one of the reasons Joseph had so much success, even at is lowest points, is because he was a man that proved himself trustworthy with God’s promise, trustworthy in the waiting. Despite the temptation of Potiphar’s wife and the misery of his circumstances Joseph chose to do what was right and pressed on toward the dream God had written on his heart.
The last man I want to talk about is David. David is one of my all time favorite Bible characters. He was anointed to be the next King of Israel when he was a young boy, shepherding his father’s sheep. He had to wait for God’s perfect timing to be able to step into the ultimate calling that God had for his life, to be the next king. It can be so hard to know when exactly God’s timing is right in our own promises, in our own lives. I’ve heard that when you are following after God with your whole heart, like David did, you can trust your feelings on this. But as we learn from David, there’s even a little more to it. The exact moment David knew God’s timing had come is recorded in 1 Chronicles 14:1-2 where it says, “Then King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar timber, and stonemasons and carpenters to build him a palace. And David realized that the Lord had confirmed him as king over Israel and had greatly blessed his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.” God confirmed the promise with his provision. He sent David the materials to build a palace. He didn’t ask for these things— instead God, in his timing delivered what he needed to establish himself as king, just like he had promised.
Studying these three examples helps me to see where, in my own life, I can use this time of waiting to lean in to God and to prepare myself to do his work. I sometimes think that I should wait to talk about something until I’ve come through it. But I’ve come to learn that wisdom is often learned in the now. And it is sometimes forgotten in the afterward. Wisdom is in the mess not the perfection. So if you are also waiting on something— you and I can use this time, together, to learn from each other and to learn from the many examples that God gives us in his word.
Because of Abraham’s mistakes, I can know that my own shortcomings do not disqualify me for God’s purpose. No matter how bad I mess up in the waiting period, God is in control and nothing I do is going to mess up his plan. I don’t have to worry about having it all together, or having enough instagram followers. I don’t have to tire myself out proving I’m good enough for my dreams. I simply need to walk with God, daily. At the same time, Joseph’s great faithfulness and righteous living teaches me that, despite my circumstances, I need to honor God with my life. Even in the hard things. God is always with me and is working things out for me. And last, God reminds me that with his promise comes his provision. I don’t have to worry about the details because God has it all under control and he will bring it together at his time and with his hands. Ultimately, what these three examples have in common is this— Each of these men were careful to remain close to God, even as they waited. And God fulfilled each promise just as he intended, exactly when he meant for it to happen. I think knowing this is so important. It is all in God’s timing— all we can do is hold fast to his word and honor him with our lives, despite the mess. There is a reason that when you are in the word consistently, it starts to jump of the page as if it was written just for you for just that moment. Because God is with us in all of it. He is always at work in our hearts, making us ready for whatever comes next!
As I finish writing this I want to make sure I say it is not lost on me that I am incredibly blessed right here— right where I am. I was just reading a book by my favorite author and the ironic thing is she is where I would like to be as she writes about wishing for the things I already have. And that humbled me. It’s just that as I finish this short piece at the end of a hard day at work, I dream of a time when I can spend my day in a hipster coffee shop somewhere, writing for more than a couple hours every few weeks. And this is exactly why I wrote this today. Because I am selfish, I forget how blessed I am all of the time. And I have so much to learn. But as Annie F. Downs, the author I just mentioned, says, “preparation makes it possible.” My dream is being made possible right now as God works to prepare my heart. And I have to remember life is happening right here in the waiting. And my waiting? I think it just might be yesterday’s promise. I am surrounded by God’s many blessings– a loving, joy filled marriage and three amazing kids. I have a job that allows me to learn while I work and also has created in me a new confidence when dealing professionally with others. I am so thankful for all that God has done and is doing. Maybe with this, like so many times before, the lesson isn’t what I thought it was all along. In addition to what I learned writing today, I think God really wanted me to just stop. Stop and see that what I have right now, is really good.