“It won’t always be like this”…A phrase I have heard countless times this past year and one that has even escaped my mouth once or twice. :-) I recognize the truth of the words and hold on to the hope of a better tomorrow. But what are you supposed to do when it is “like this” and tomorrow isn’t here yet? How do you live well in the midst of a storm season you would rather not be in? Excellent question. And one that I have found does not have an easy answer. Sorry. It takes time and patience. Two things that don’t fit well in our “I want it now” culture.
I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Israel. It was amazing to walk places Jesus walked and to put some of the bible stories in context. It was frustrating to see how “Religion” and icons have taken over many holy places. The bible said Jesus sneezed here once…Let’s build a church! OK that’s an exaggeration but it doesn’t feel too far from the truth. It was humbling to reflect on the span of history that God has been operating in…Exodus…Solomon’s Temple…Jesus…Present Day…Many many thousands of years. I truly am just a breath in the grand scheme of things. It was inspiring (and sometimes exhausting) to meet new friends and share stories.
One thing I learned very profoundly on this trip – it’s not about me. If you have followed my writing this year you will notice there are a lot of references to the desert and the desert season I am in. Waiting. Hoping. Trusting. I don’t like my desert season and I would rather exit it as fast as possible. I wasn’t sure what I would learn on this trip but I was hoping God would give me a clear view of what I am working towards…what I am waiting for…my personal promised land. He didn’t. What He did do is shift my eyes from my life and problems to His big picture (At least what my finite mind can comprehend). His character does not depend on my circumstances. I didn’t get my end game but a historical lesson in His love, faithfulness, protection and redemption that rolled over me like a tidal wave. It’s really not about me. I left Israel feeling like God spoke these words to my heart:
“I am not going to give you the end because I am asking you to stay close and follow me. I know it is frustrating. I WILL work all things out for your good. I am leading you to still waters and green pastures but sometimes the path there requires a stint over rocky inhospitable terrain. There is a bigger plan trust that I know where I’m going…this season will end…just not today.” – God
Deep sigh…OK. I get it…at least for right now. I will probably need to be reminded tomorrow. But my question from the beginning is still relevant. How do I have hope for a better tomorrow while still trying to do life in a today I would like to change?
- Be honest with yourself and God. Every morning and evening…and many times through out the day my prayers go something like: Lord you know me, and you know my heart…you know the pain and my desires for tomorrow. Take the pieces of my heart and life…Heal me. Help me to hear your voice and surrender to your path. Wash, rinse, repeat…this is not easy.
- The repetitiveness of waiting can become overwhelming. Plan things to look forward to. Break up the routine. It can be a trip or a coffe break at a favorite cafe. As big or as little as you are able.
- I like the devotional “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. Some small moments every morning helping us tune into the voice of Jesus. It helps me to focus on His character rather than my issues.
- When I hear of people talk about their “Waiting” times they are rarely completely absent of activity. Most of the time there are specific things you can engage that will challenge and grow you as a person. For me I am getting more invested in my church and I took a huge risk by launching my jewelry website.
Please pass on suggestions for your own strategies for navigating the “Waiting” periods in the comments section. What gets you out of bed and inspired for the day?
If you are interested please check out my Tree of Life website HERE. Sorry for the abscence of photos…I haven’t had time to upload and process them from my trip. Here’s to another week.