Tagged: waiting

When You’re in the In-Between

Many of us are in the in-between of life. What do I mean by this?

We are in a season where we are waiting for something to happen. We are in a place that is unlike where we were, yet it’s also not where we want to be or think we should be. I call this place the in-between, and being in it often causes a perception or sensation of floating or not moving. In the in-between, it’s not unusual for us to look at the world around us and wonder why nothing is changing.

I myself am in the in-between.

I am a little over halfway through with my college education, but I still have several semesters of papers, homework, midterms and finals ahead of me before I graduate.

I am in my twenties and becoming an independent adult, but still live at home and am provided for as a child. I am transitioning, but not yet on my own.

I am engaged to the man I want to marry, but we’re not yet married. We still have at least six months to go with a wedding to plan and a joint life to prepare for.

I am working in a ministry I love and am passionate about, but still feeling like there’s something more out there for me. I have yet to solidify my calling, and I keep wondering when I will find that place where I fully belong.

I am nowhere near where I was when I first began following Christ, but in many ways I feel like I have hardly moved at all. I’m still believing many of the same lies and fighting the same battles. I can see the other side on which healing and freedom lie, but sometimes I feel like I’m not moving any closer.

I am in the in-between in almost every area of my life. And I’m realizing that the reason these times and places of in-between feel like the most grueling and challenging is because the in-between is where I most often look more at myself and less at God. I have allowed the in-between to hinder my vision of all things Kingdom-related.

It’s not because God isn’t here with me; it’s because I’ve become so consumed with getting OUT of the in-between that I have been forgetting to look for or acknowledge him.

I have been blind to the divine work happening around me. I’ve been feeling alone, wondering if my prayers are getting anywhere past the ceiling. I’ve been missing the life-changing work the Holy Spirit is doing, and I’ve been unable to identify the favor of God in my life that has been sustaining me and providing for me all along.

I don’t want to miss these things anymore. I’m starting to change my perspective and put my eyes back on the prize, and I’m now realizing that God is not waiting for me to get married, graduate, finish my book, or find my calling to begin doing miraculous work in my life. He wants to do things here and now.

This in-between I am in isn’t just an in-between to God. It’s a place where prayers can be answered, doors can be opened, and true life-changing growth can happen.

This season of waiting in my early twenties is still just as important of a time as my thirties or forties or fifties will be. The things I am investing in now are still worth investing in, even though they’re not the things I imagine myself investing in forever. The woman I am becoming is worth the work, time, and effort that has to be put in, and it’s God who’s crafting me into that woman piece-by-piece, day-by-day.

This realization is freeing. I’m beginning to recognize the fruits of the Holy Spirit being developed in me and I’m seeing the blessings of God that are enabling me to move forward with my dreams.

The same can be true for you today. You might feel like you’re always waiting for something, like you’re constantly in-between, and you’re not getting any closer to where you want to be. But my friend, feelings can be wrong. Your perceptions can be wrong. At the end of the day, you are all-faulty human and God is still all-knowing God.

Your inability to see the movement of God does not negate the movement of God that is happening.

God does not operate on your time schedule or your list of priorities, and he’s not waiting for you to get your life together to begin molding you into the image of his Son, which is his desire for you (Romans 8:29). Your Father is present and active in your life, whether you see it or not. And he still wants to use you for his glory here and now, whether you realize it or not.

You have to choose to look up.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning (Psalm 130:5-6).

Do you know what watchmen do? Watchmen keep watch of a city or fortress throughout the night. They are on a mission to preserve and protect, and they do not let down their guard until morning comes.

How are you waiting for the Lord? Are you remaining faithful and alert, as a watchman is until morning? Or are you letting your guard down, letting distractions consume you until you forget the tasks at hand and what you’re even waiting for?

Now is not the time to stop waiting for the Lord. And waiting for the Lord doesn’t mean looking the other way and being caught by surprise when he comes.

Waiting haphazardly is not God’s desire for you in this place of in-between; you are called to wait expectantly. 

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress (Psalm 46:10-11).

While you’re in this season of stillness, do you know that God is God and what that means for your life? Do you know that his mission to bring himself glory through your life is true even today?

Look at Psalm 46:11: the God of Jacob is our fortress.

He’s the one we’re waiting for and the one we wait for.

Just as a watchman waits for morning because of the fortress they are charged with protecting, we wait for God because of God, because we know who he is and we desire his active presence in our lives. We are waiting for him to do the work only he can do.

I know the in-between is tough and you want a way out, but if you’re too busy looking for your dreams to come true, you will forget why you’re waiting. You will forget that God is still good and still working and one hundred percent worth waiting for.

The in-between is not an abyss. The in-between is a place like any other place — one in which God is sovereign and on your side. He is still for you. Even if you’re not for the current life you’re living.

I am praying over you and I the very prayer Paul spoke over the church in Ephesus once upon a time.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come (Ephesians 1:17-21).

In other words:

God, give us your wisdom through the Holy Spirit so we can know you and see you better. We need enlightenment, Lord. We need heart knowledge of who you are and what you’re doing. This hope you’ve called us to is sometimes forgotten. Jesus, I’m asking you to help us remember. In these times of longing and confusion, give us the ability to not only recognize your great power, but to wield that great power in our own lives. The power of your love, grace, and sovereignty is far greater than any circumstances we find ourselves in or any scheme that is set up against us. You are with us now and you will be with us always. Thank you. We love you. Amen.

Advertisements

A Season of Waiting

 

Image by Ana Luisa Pinto on Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/ecAC5b)

Image by Ana Luisa Pinto on Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/ecAC5b)

One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do is wait on God. In many ways and for various reasons, I am actually currently in a season of waiting on God, which is a lot more difficult than it may sound. I’m sure if you’ve ever been in a season of waiting, you understand.

You see, sometimes it’s easy to assume our plans are the best plans and our timing is the perfect timing. After all, who should know how to run our lives better than ourselves?

What’s easy to forget, however, is how truly perfect God and His timing is.

As I’m waiting for God to give me clear direction for my life and waiting for my knight in shining armor to finally ask me on a date, I am at a point of desperation where I have nowhere and no one else to seek but God himself. And this, my friends, is just where I need to be.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).

In the process of waiting and finally running to God, I’m realizing that before my season of waiting is over, I must learn how to completely find my delight in Him. I can continue to put my hope in the promises He’s given me, but I must realize and accept that nothing else in this world can ever satisfy me the way God does. Until I realize that, I will continue chasing after things that are only getting farther and farther away from me. If I truly trust that God knows the desires of my heart and He’ll give them to me when the time is right, I must let go and just simply find joy in Him. Despite the pain. Despite the impatience. Despite the trials and temptations.

About six months ago, I was waiting on a word or appearance from God. I was waiting on a large booming voice to come from the sky, a glistening and glorious face to appear in my dreams. I just wanted to see Him and hear Him and feel Him like I’ve never experienced before. So I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I cried. I pleaded. I begged. I yelled.

One day, as I was reading in Exodus, a passage struck me as peculiar. In fact, I remember I was quite angry.

The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up and the Lord said to him, ‘Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the Lord and many of them perish. Even the priests, who approach the Lord, must consecrate themselves, or the Lord will break out against them (Exodus 19:20-22).

Why would you stop them from seeing you, Lord? Why would you not let them come near you? These were the questions that rose to my mind immediately, and an anger resided in me.

After all, there didn’t seem to be any good reason for Him to withhold Himself from His people. If He loves them so much, He shouldn’t be putting up a wall. Right?

A simple reply from the Lord: They weren’t ready.

It wasn’t until months later that I fully understood what that meant. We truly have no idea the plans God has for our lives. He may reveal bits and pieces, but the whole grand picture is inconceivable, even by the wisest of all men. We cannot possibly wrap our minds around how great and awesome God is, and we also can’t grasp how perfect his timing is. We will always be one step behind Him. Usually many, many steps. And in almost all cases, we are simply just not ready for what He has planned for us.

I was not ready to hear a loud booming voice. In fact, I know I’m still not. I was not ready to see His glory in full. I’m still not ready for that either. Will I ever experience these things? I don’t know. If not in this life, certainly in the next.

But I do know this: I hear His voice and see Him more clearly than ever before, and it’s not in the ways I expect. It’s not always in the timing I prefer either. But He somehow manages to show up and present Himself perfectly. Every time.

This is the God we serve. The One who shows up at the perfect time and in the perfect way.

And if you think your plan is better than His, look at what happened to Sarah in Genesis 16. Sarah is given a promise from God himself that she will have children, but instead of waiting on this to come to pass when it is supposed to, she decides to let a little Ishmael be born through her servant, Hagar. Well, that’s an unnecessary mess. There’s a reason we’re called to wait. There’s a reason things don’t happen the way we want them to. The truth is, we don’t know what we’re doing!

Whether you have been waiting for a very long time for something to come to pass or you are just now entering a season of waiting, hold on. Delight yourself in Him, continue trusting in His promises, and most importantly, surrender. It’s weird to think that the things God himself gives us or will give us need to be surrendered, but they do. Sometimes we get so focused on His blessings, we take our eyes off of the grandest blessing of them all- the ability to be in a beautiful relationship with our Savior and True Love.