Originally published Friday, 30 October 2015.
October seems to have flown by. It’s hard to believe we only have today and tomorrow left in this series. Over the last month, we’ve discussed how stillness leads to our gifts and gives us the ability to use them. We talked about it in the sense of moving according to God’s will and never our own, and we’ve even explored when God seems still.
Today, I want to address something I think most of us struggle with: waiting.
Waiting can be a joy killer. Am I right?
I could write for another whole month just on the waiting process. I experienced secondary infertility and it was fifteen years before I received an answer to prayer. When it comes to waiting, I consider myself a professional. I bet you can relate. Your reason for having to wait might be different from mine, but we all walk through the season at one time or another.
Waiting in ministry can also be extremely frustrating. Have you ever felt like God called you to do something specific and then it doesn’t happen?
Maybe you’re called to write, speak, sing, teach, administrate something within a church, start a new program… whatever it is, let me encourage you with this: just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it won’t. Everything takes time and it’s always for good reason.
I’ve been thinking about king David. Samuel anointed him to be the future king and then David went back to tending sheep. And not only that, he spent thirteen years running from Saul before he became who he was destined to be. Can you imagine what it must have been like to run all those years knowing there was a greater call? Not to mention… he was literally fighting for his life throughout that time.
Almost five years ago, I stepped down from the position of assistant worship leader at my church. I knew in my heart I wasn’t supposed to do that anymore. I wasn’t saying goodbye to music ministry forever, but for that particular season God had other plans. Had I not stepped down, I would have never began my blog, published my book, began speaking regularly, or be attending seminary. It was a very difficult letting go process, but God gave me something new and beautiful to hold onto during that time.
When we have gifts, we don’t necessarily like it when God says, “Just wait.”
Part of waiting is learning to listen to God, and when we learn to listen, inch-by-inch we will move to the center of stillness. The move won’t be easy, mine wasn’t. However, it was necessary for my calling.
Maybe you know that God has called you to do something but it’s taking forever. Maybe you’re questioning if you heard Him right to begin with. Here is a checklist I go through to make sure if it’s me or God speaking.
- Does “it” keep coming to mind?
For me, the general rule is that if I can’t stop thinking about my calling, then it’s He who placed the desire within me.
- Am I working toward the goal?
If you’re passionate about something then you’ll want to make sure you are equipped for the calling. A worship leader cannot be a worship leader without practicing their instrument. A speaker/teacher/preacher cannot give a word without knowing THE WORD. It has to be studied. If you want to start a new program then you have to research it and learn everything about it. Most of the time, we are called to wait so that we can properly train and prepare our hearts in the process.
- Has it been confirmed?
Whether it’s through another person or the word of God, you will find confirmation. And when it happens, you’ll know if it’s the real thing.
After almost five years, I’m at the point where I’m experiencing the above three points and God is moving my husband and I forward. The waiting is ending.
We often need to hold on through all kinds of emotion and difficulty before we see our visions come to pass. In 1 Peter 1:13, Peter tells us to gird up the loins of our minds. He wants us to stay focused. Waiting can often lead us to a place of discouragement that causes our minds to drift away. Don’t allow that to happen.
Be confident in the gift you’ve been given, pray daily about it, and study the word. waiting is only for a season. We walk through the desert, we don’t pitch a tent and stay there forever.
Keep on keeping on, friend.
I’ll meet you back here tomorrow for the conclusion of The Struggle to Live a Still Life.