April 23, 2008
Longing Wrapped in a Wait
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Psalm 27:14 (NIV)
In college, a group that I spent the summer with nicknamed me “Action Amy”. I earned the nickname, but I have to admit that I wouldn’t have chosen it. One of my pastors has said that there are “do-ers” and there are “be-ers”. I fall definitively into the “do-er” group. I’m wired with an impulse and drive to be at work. I’m a list maker (one of those sick ones who puts things on the list that are already done just to put a check beside them), and I feel good about myself when I’m productive. I often drive myself and the people around me crazy! Besides the lack of pause, prayer and compassion for the tired, God has shown me that there’s another huge problem with my approach: My significance is to be found in Him alone.
God, in His great Love and mercy, has used times of waiting to realign my values with His. He has taken me through several times when I felt that my life had been forgotten. I still had dreams and visions, but I didn’t feel needed or useful. These were times of forced stillness and quiet.
In my junior year in high school, I began attending a Bible study that changed my life forever. I had given my heart to Jesus as a little girl, but this study challenged me to know Him more personally and to begin studying His Word. God used that year to begin to peel me down to my core. I went from a very opinionated, very worldly-minded girl to a girl humbled before God. My life ahead suddenly looked like a new beginning. God used that difficult time of waiting for a new beginning to start, to ground my thoughts and beliefs in His own Word.
When my children were born, I again went through a time of waiting. It was such a struggle for me, because I had always wanted to have children and be able to stay at home with them. I didn’t realize, though, how much of my identity had become entwined with my career. When all of the work outside of my home stopped for a time, I felt that I was again waiting for work that “counted.” God reminded my restless heart that my love and care for my family was valued.
I also remember the struggle with waiting that I had when we moved to a new town. Nobody here knew me or knew my vision. To my lonely heart, it even seemed like no one cared. It took over a year to establish friendships, a job, and a church that felt like home. Waiting was hard, but God used it to foster my need for relationship with Him.
God has always used those quiet times to whisper, “Amy you are not loved or valued for the things that you do for me. You are loved and valued because I made you. You are mine. Find sufficiency in Me.” God has faithfully used waiting to minister to my heart. He has also used it to ruthlessly cut out that love for works that can so easily become idolatrous in my life. I can’t truthfully say that I’ve learned to love waiting, but I have learned to look forward to deep times with God during those waits. He sees the longings of each of our hearts, but He loves us enough to use waiting to root our longings in Him.
Dear Lord, help me to know that You use times of waiting for my good. I want to learn the lessons that I need to learn as I wait. Please make me committed to spending time with You and to listening for Your direction each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Boundaries, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
Come Thirsty, by Max Lucado
Visit Amy Carroll’s blog
Think through the stages of your life and consider creating a personal time-line. Color the times that you can see how God used your work in red. Color times of waiting blue.
If you are currently in a time of waiting, journal some of the things that you can see God doing in your life. Write things you are thankful for during your wait. Then list the longings of your heart. Really pour them out—God hears you!
What has God done in my life in times of waiting?
Do I respond in obedience or bitterness as I wait?
Psalm 130:5, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.” (NIV)
Psalm 119:81-82, “My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word. My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, ‘When will you comfort me?’" (NIV)
© 2008 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 23 April 2008.