Patience has never been my greatest quality. When I was younger I would read Galatians 5:22 and gloss over that fruit of the Spirit, knowing that I struggled immensely in that area. I didn’t like the concept of patience. I always needed and had a plan, I always had the next step figured out, was always ready to jump into a new thing and keep moving forward. I never wanted to be still, always fearing mediocrity and ineffectiveness.
When I was 20 years old, I made the decision to break up with my boyfriend of 5 years, the guy I thought I was going to marry, who I had my entire future planned out with. It was the right decision to make, but so difficult nonetheless. That night, God spoke to me and told me that if I would be patient and wait on Him, the next guy that I dated would be my husband. That was 7 years ago.
When I was 21 years old, 1 year before graduating with my bachelors in social work, I went on my first mission trip and God completely messed up the plans I had made for myself – to move away from home after I graduated, get my masters degree, and then work in non-profit management. One night while on my mission trip, God showed me that getting a masters was not a part of His plan, that He was going to send me out to do missions and use my social work background to advocate for specific community needs around the world. I was so excited thinking that when I graduated at 22 I would be sent off and get to travel the world and experience different cultures, all while helping meet the needs of different community groups. That was 6 years ago.
It’s funny the way God chooses to work sometimes. The very quality that I always struggled with is the very one I have had to exercise every single day for the last 7 years while waiting on the promises of God to come to pass in my life. Patience. It sounds so easy but in reality has been very difficult. Not only has He asked me to be patient and wait, but He has also put me in different jobs throughout the past few years that I never wanted to do. I would have dreams at night about being in different countries, helping communities find resources, sharing the love of Christ with the broken all over the world, and then wake up in the morning and go to a job I never would have chosen for myself. There were times that it just felt like a cruel game that I kept losing. I have gotten angry with God, yelled at God, cried, taken matters into my own hands, and have even ignored Him at times when it just felt too difficult to deal with anymore. The past 7 years have been riddled with doubt, fear, and feeling forgotten. Is God really working on my behalf? Am I being punished for past mistakes? Did I hear from Him correctly/Can I really hear from Him? Am I even in His will? I would love to say that I have graciously walked through this season as a completely spirit-led woman of valor, holding my head up high and fully confident in my Savior, but unfortunately that would be a lie. This season has been a messy one.
A few weeks ago I went to an elder in my church for prayer after a Sunday morning service. I had felt a lot of angst for about 2 months and was struggling with the thought that rather than patiently waiting on God I was stagnantly doing nothing. Some things that had happened made me feel like I was going backwards instead of moving forward, causing me to think that I had messed up and was no longer in His will. I had feared that somewhere along the way I had missed the call, missed when He said “go.” Before I could even finish telling her what I needed prayer for, she interrupted me and said that the word of God for me was to “keep standing still.” My immediate response was NO!! I don’t want to keep standing still God. I’m ready to move, ready to “really” be doing something for You, ready to see some of these promises come to pass. I’m ready to be on the other side of this, to be able to say “Look what the Lord has done!”
But then it hit me. I am already able to shout about what God has done in my life. (Mainly because the cross is always enough). But also because despite my times of unbelief, God has been so faithful to speak into my life and to bring constant encouragement and reminders of His promises to me. He has beckoned me to trust Him deeper every day. He has shown me how His love alone can sustain and carry, even in the darkest of times. His presence has become more real to me then ever before. As I have watched others around me get the things that my heart desires so strongly, He has urged me to keep my eyes focused on Him and Him alone, letting everything else grow dim and fade away. Jesus has been a constant friend, a source of companionship, a great comforter. He has been so good to me. He doesn’t have to, but He stills my soul and lets me know that I am right where I am supposed to be, giving me a peace that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to have.
Can I encourage you today? If you are in a season of waiting (which in some way we all probably are), KEEP STANDING STILL! God is fighting for you. He makes a way where there doesn’t seem to be a way. He makes the crooked paths straight and guides and directs every step we take. Waiting is hard – I know this all too well. But it is worth it because eye has not seen and ear has not heard the things that God has planned for those who love Him. If you are actively seeking God’s will for your life, you can’t miss it! He’s too good for that. If you feel that you have messed up or misstepped somewhere, you are in good company with so many others who have gone before you and felt that same way. Just ask for God’s guidance and realign yourself with His will. You haven’t been disqualified from His plan and purpose for your life. Stop being so hard on yourself. He loves you! No really, let that sink in – HE LOVES YOU! Stand firm on the promises He has given you. Let them be a secure anchor for your soul, and then just rest in Him. He is faithful to complete the work that He has begun – so keep standing still.
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. – Lamentations 3:25