What type of emotion does that word evoke in you when you read it?
I know many of us can read that word and feel a sense of hope if we are looking for a way out of a particular job, situation or life event.
Or we may feel the opposite.
What if we are content where we are? Then out of nowhere, a boss, spouse or friend uses this word in a discussion and we know there will be some effort on our part to adapt.
Many times in my life, I can say I’ve felt the effects, both positive and negative, of that word. Some of the changes in my life were brought on by something I decided to do on my own, and others were done as a result of prayer or wise counsel that led me to take a step. The reason I bring it up is that I am in a season with the Lord where I am waiting on Him. I’ve been spending much time in prayer about something, and where I’m hopeful and expecting a change, I’m afraid He may ask me to stay where I am.
Have you ever felt that way? Does your prayer life ebb and flow?
What does that say about our spiritual lives? We say we are willing to follow Jesus and put our trust in Him, but if He decides to change our circumstances, life situations, physical living locations, etc., are we willing to obey?
I’m a woman. Being told to wait usually doesn’t sit well with me. In my assessment of where I’m at, I’ve pretty much figured out all of the details on my next step, if He would just hurry up and approve my decisions already…
Ah, but you know where I’m going with this, don’t you?
If you know me personally, you know that I took a step of faith in a direction for school, only to have the Lord lovingly rebuke me in February of this year, tell me to withdraw and focus on my family. I had rushed through a prayer time with Him and taken what I thought was a clear step for me, and in retrospect, it was covered with red flags relationally with my husband. Where I wanted to excel (my GPA was right where I wanted it, my grades were significantly high, the material easy to understand, the schedule overwhelming, but all students have problems with that, right?), God wanted me to sloooooooooooow down. This relationship with Him is sure breaking down who I was…
Do you want to know the truth?
The deepest part of me wants to be told to slow down.
I know that when I get so focused on something, it’s easy to push everyone away and just DO IT.
I don’t need anyone, and I’VE. GOT. THIS. becomes my mantra.
But there’s something that has happened in the last eight years. I have realized many things about myself that I believe all women need to understand. Face it, though we are all uniquely created in the image of God, we struggle with the same things when it comes to value. Trust me, we could talk for hours about our issues, and we would all come up with the same answer: WE ARE BROKEN AND IN NEED OF SOMEONE TO RESCUE US.
Remember as a child, when you got into trouble, and were told to go to your room or were placed in a corner for a timeout? Some days, I wish someone would tell me to go take a nap and come back when I feel better. As adults, we are deprived of such direction. We are over the age of twenty-0ne, so we should know how to do these things by ourselves, yet we just keep adding to the schedule and figure at some point over the weekend, we’ll end up in blankets on the couch watching reruns of Person of Interest instead of looking at the clock and realizing Monday morning is just hours away and the cycle of waiting begins again.
If you’re like me, I’d like to give you some hope.
During this season with the Lord, I have read sections of the Bible I’ve never even thought to look at. I’ve had verses come to mind that I learned years ago that have carried me through. The Holy Spirit has brought peace into otherwise anxious situations, all because He can and because I’m learning to trust Him with those times. I’ve seen miracle after miracle in my reactions to those who have previously hurt me and I am thankful. I can forgive, love and move on without hesitation. I have grace as my first response, which is so unlike me, and it just confirms that God is at work in my life.
And do you want to know something cool? The Bible says that this is considered holiness.
1 Peter 1:13-16 shares the following truth, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'” He is speaking to believers. This passage is PACKED with hope and newness for us. What does this mean?
It means that while we are in our human physical form, after we accept Christ, we are given the Holy Spirit who helps to transform us into the likeness of Jesus. I want to be clear. We aren’t perfect as believers. We aren’t above anyone. We will never be. Jesus actually expects us to put others first ALL OF THE TIME. And if you struggle with selfishness, take that to God in prayer. He may be requiring you to repent and surrender that part of yourself.
When you became a believer, you were changed from death to life, not a bad person to a good person. The work of the Holy Spirit is something the Lord does for us as we surrender. But before I get off on a tangent, being holy means that we begin to manifest Christlike attributes that are contrary to our human nature. They are supernatural and can be seen by everyone, believer and unbeliever alike. God wanted us to be different so that those who are lost can see the difference and desire to know more. This is not done by picketing events we’ve judged, or ranting on social media when someone who is lost ACTS like a lost person…we are to love as Christ loved. See Matthew 22:36-40 where Jesus commands us to love God first and others as we love ourselves.
I’m still not looking forward to staying put right now, but I have seen Christ in action in my life, and want to continue to walk in His holiness as I learn how to be more like Christ. I know that He must be preparing me for something I’m not ready for yet, and He still has work to do. The knowledge that He has my best interest at heart is reassuring. But it also means that since I’ve agreed to follow Jesus, the plans I have laid out for myself, may have NOTHING to do with God’s will for my life. So I have to be obedient and continue to trust in the wait. Many other people throughout God’s Word were told to wait and also benefited from having a deeper relationship with Him as a result.
Do I have hopes and dreams and desires that I know would benefit the Kingdom of God? YOU BETCHA…but I also don’t want to supersede His will like I’ve done in the past. I want to continue to trust His will and surrender the part of me that is following my womanhood. I know He knows the outcome of my life, and I am willing to wait.