"Hurry Up and Wait"
Surprise—I'm still here! Although normally I try to post blogs even while I'm on vacation, this year, I decided to give myself a break for a week of rest and relaxation in Northern Ontario. The time away was such a blessing, y'all: I even scratched some new items off my never-done-before list, INCLUDING swimming in black, weedy water infested by living creatures. Be proud of me.
There are a few topics I could delve into for this post, but one in particular stood out to me while sitting on the dock one misty, gorgeous morning by the lake.
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
I already had this verse (Psalm 27:14) highlighted in my Bible when I came to it this week. Clearly, it meant something to me as a reminder or an encouragement. Probably both. The thing is, as I read it by the lake, detached from the rat race of day-to-day life, I felt like I understood this verse in a new way. As if the whole concept of "waiting on the LORD" were suddenly different than I had understood it all along.
In the back of my mind, "waiting on the LORD" was always a very passive activity. It meant sitting back, taking time to be still, being patient until things came to me. The only problem is, in the context of life—where there are a gazillion things we should/could be doing but never feel motivated to do—that idea of "waiting" seems like a solid excuse to keep doing what we're doing. Namely, procrastinating on things that should be done and hoping God will just plop success into our laps in His time, instead.
The problem with that line of thinking is that passivity is not in God's vocabulary. He is an utterly active God who wants active followers—and by that, I don't mean followers who never sit or be still or take breaks, but followers who are never content to let someone else do the heavy spiritual lifting while we happily stagnate. In my case, pushing my query research back and back and back, but still half-expecting God to miraculously land me a publishing deal, is a perfect example. If I'm not willing to push forward and give God the best of my ability, why should I be waiting for results?
God can do anything, of course. But the ball is in our court to be diligent stewards of our time and abilities. And what I realized while sitting in the mist and sunlight was this: waiting on the LORD doesn't mean sitting around and doing nothing, but moving steadily toward Him, moving forward in the last directive we got from Him until the next one comes along.
For me, this means pressing on with my querying research. I know God wants me to try, so I will try. I will keep writing my query letters, keep honing my proposal, keep soldiering on until I've completed the task or until God tells me otherwise. But in the meantime, I will strive to keep my mind's eye on Him, always remembering that the be-all-end-all is not a publishing deal, but fulfilling God's will for me, whatever that is. That means I must be flexible, waiting for my next instructions and willing to go wherever they might take me. But for now, it just means pressing on in what I've been given to do.
MercyMe has a song titled, "Hurry Up and Wait." What could be a more perfect illustration? If I'm hoping for an agent to sign me (and feeling that God has led me to this path), my job is not to lock myself in my room and sit on my bed waiting for an agent to call me up without doing any legwork. No, my job is to get to work—but with my eye on the real prize. Not the agent or the deal, but God. Only then will my priorities be in the right place. Only then will I be attuned to His will over mine, even if that will ends up taking me in a completely different direction. Only then will I be ready when His next instruction comes.
The key is to keep moving in TRUST. To be striving not for an earthly goal, but for the higher level of diligence and humility and perseverance and Godliness and faith that God wants from His children. To keep moving in the sense that we have work to do no matter what is happening in our lives. That there is always something we can be actively working on in the Kingdom while we wait for the next road sign from Him. That road sign could be a hundred miles away. If we stop in the middle of the road to "wait" for it, we won't reach it. Plain and simple.
But keep moving forward, putting one foot in front of the other and doing God's work wherever we are—even if it's not the work we saw ourselves doing—and that road sign will come over the horizon before we know it. We just need to keep our eyes on the real destination.