After seven years as an administrative assistant, I couldn’t wait for a job change. I wanted something new and exciting! Something that tapped into my gifts and passions. And yet, each time I sent out my resume it felt as if I was shouting into a dark, deserted hallway; nothing but an echo returning from my efforts.
The truth is, I knew I was forcing my next move. I could sense God’s quiet, but firm ‘no’. It was not the time to advance my career. While I didn’t understand why, it was clear God wasn’t going to open that door any time soon.
I suppose I could have forced that door open. I could have pulled strings, hustled a little harder, made sure I made enough noise to get the attention of the right people in the right places. But I didn’t want to take my future by force. I wanted each step to be God-led, taken in His timing. If I was to have a successful career, I wanted God to get the credit for making it happen. I wanted my life to be a story of unmistakable grace.
What about you? Are you sensing God’s quiet but firm ‘no’? Does it seem, no matter your efforts, things are simply not moving forward? Take heart friend, the ground you are standing on feels thick and murky, but given a chance, it can become a sacred space. Exercising patience is a form of worship! When you choose to wait on God and allow Him to unfold your story in His timing, you declare before a chaotic world, “My God has my future in hand and I trust Him with it.”
Waiting is powerful! It is also active. Choosing to wait on God doesn’t mean sitting on your hands. There are three important things we can do while we wait.
Pray For Your Dreams
I said ‘pray’, but what I mean is pour your heart out. When we pour our hearts out to God concerning our dreams, it rekindles the passion He’s placed within us! It also affirms His goodness and His sovereignty over our lives.
Every time I think of a particular truth I am passionate about, my heart swells with the desire to teach that message to a room full of women. Unfortunately, just as it wasn’t time for me to move out of my administrative role several years ago, it is not time for me to begin a speaking ministry right now. So when those feelings of longing and desire arise, I lay it all out before God.
I remind Him of the dream He has given me to speak. I beg Him to one day allow me to feel the words that are pounding in my chest, pour out of my mouth. Then, I thank Him for the dream He’s given me and ask Him to help me discern His timing. Finally, I lay that dream in His hands, once again, and commit to waiting for Him to move.
Prepare for What You Pray for
I once read about a tiny town in Texas that spent months praying for rain. Once they finally got it, however, their town flooded! They hadn’t maintained their drainage systems and were completely overwhelmed by the deluge. Friend, we need to be preparing ourselves for what we are praying for so when God does open those doors, we are ready and not overwhelmed. We do this in several ways:
First, we deepen our roots in Christ. We must be sure of His voice and grounded in His love as we pursue our dreams; so when failure and opposition arise, we will not be shaken.
Next, we build up endurance and discipline. When you are running headlong into a new season, you’re not going to have the time or wherewithal to establish daily disciplines or rhythms of rest. The time to do those things is now, in the waiting. Use this time to build up the endurance you’ll need during a season of growth.
Finally, we must prove faithful to what we’ve already been given. Regardless of your future dreams, there is work for you to be doing right now. Don’t waste the present gift God has given you by wishing for the future. Invest right where you are and in those around you. I guarantee the things He has for you in this season will prepare you for the next. Be faithful with what He has given you and allow it to teach you, so when He opens that next door you will be ready to walk through it.
It’s not easy watching God throw open the doors for others you had hoped He would open for you. Bitterness and envy are sure to creep in if we are not watchful of our hearts. One of the best ways to curtail the hurt is to celebrate what God is doing in other people’s lives.
When we celebrate others, we fight against the scarcity mentality. This is a mindset that says, “more success for her means less success for me.” This simply isn’t true! We serve an extravagant God who blesses us in abundance. We can celebrate what God is doing through every member of the body, taking heart that in His timing He will do the same for us.
In all my years of waiting, I have learned one perspective-shifting truth. When God gives us a dream and then tells us ‘not yet’, He’s not doing it to taunt us. He’s doing it to prepare us. Yes, it is easier to work than to wait. However, there is important work to be done in the waiting. As we pray, prepare, and celebrate others we are declaring God’s sovereignty and goodness to a restless and frenzied world.
Be strong, friend. Take heart. And wait for the Lord!