The Waiting Game
It has been a season of waiting. Waiting on the weather to change, waiting for such-and-such package to arrive, waiting for reconciliation, and waiting for news. I find waiting to be amongst the hardest of challenges in the Christian’s life. So, in the spirit of the beautiful holiday season… I made a choice that has altered my heart a great deal; I will no longer wait.
I know what you’re thinking… “home-girl just bought an Armani power suit, and plans on taking over the world… plundering every poor soul that hits her wake!” As much as I love riffles, gunpowder, and the NRA, this option may turn out to be a little too bloody for my liking. And besides, who would, under any circumstances, think it’s ok to ruin an Armani suit?! (No friend of mine, that’s who…) Maybe you’re thinking, instead, that I have started a new political party that protests by burning watches, showering almost never, and camping out in various public places. (You’re welcome for leaving out the smelly details of feces on the loose and rampant drug and alcohol consumption.) Sadly, a handful of lunatics already stole that idea from me… therefore; I’m stuck with option three.
I will just BE.
Being present as life is whirling around you is terrifying. It is a daily stance in telling God, “I’m your girl, I know you’ve got me…. Nothing can shake me from you or from your plan. I TRUST you.” It is a daily repentance of my hunger to strive instead of finding my rest in Him. It is a daily dying to myself, a prayer that makes me decrease while making the Lord increase. It is having joy regardless of the circumstances that flood in and out of my life. It is a solid foundation that never shakes, never cracks, and never fails. It is being reliant and dependent on the source of Living Water, rather than being self-sufficient, self-reliant, and self-obsessed. It is… in a single word… grace.
Sometimes I find that this “waiting game” shows how little I understand of God’s grace. I see it as a literal game. Will I win this time? Am I right in line with the parameters allotted for me? Am I doing the right things at the right time? Am I praying “enough?” Did I check off each “quiet time goal” I have listed in my planner? (I hear you judging me… yes, I actually do this, and you… can get OVA it!). Even spiritually, I map out this proverbial “growth timeline,” and if I have not met the specifications I draw out for myself…I feel this overwhelming sense of failure.
What I am about to say will likely pull all kinds of red flags from the counseling community.
Red flags are for the birds…FYI.
I AM a failure. I was a failure the moment I was born. I was predisposed to sin and rebellion, and even aside from my innate inclination…I choose to run away from God daily. In everything I attempt, I fall short of perfection, because I am completely and wholly…imperfect in every way. When I wake up the morning, I’ve probably sinned through dreaming—and then continue this pattern by looking in the mirror in horror. (Especially on the nights I go to bed with wet hair…. Lord have mercy…). Sanctification is no more than getting used to the chisel. (Thanks to Jenni’s mom for this analogy!) All our lives will be a painful chipping away of the “extras” and the “unneeded” until we become more and more congruent with the heart of Jesus.
As I was driving through the mountains to Nashville for Thanksgiving, I felt like I was in the middle of a way-too-ironic literal picture of sanctification. Think of a slow trickling river over a large mountain. Without increasing in its intensity or speed, this same river just keeps flowing. It pulls what it may along for the tumultuous journey, and over the years, starts to make a visual impression. Thousands of years pass, and this slow trickle has made two mountains out of one. It has cascaded and cut so deep that it has redefined the very thing by reshaping the original entity.
Now, think of the alternative. When the gold rush kicked in and mass quantities of men were heading west, a quick way through the mountains seemed preferable. Without a natural stream forming and splitting our formation, the only way to accomplish such a task… is by using dynamite. (Side note: “Hello Dynamite!” was the pick-up line my Dad used when he hit on my Mom. Now you know. Gloriously awkward, isn’t it?) Dynamite is dangerous and messy. It requires a human hand to light the string, and disperses debris in all directions without warning. With the spiritual parallel, dynamite is the way life can be when we attempt to sanctify ourselves. It is messy, it normally ends with a Harry-Potter-like scar, and hurts like the Benjamin’s.
Part of “just being” is allowing the Lord’s river to work down deep in all of my valleys. It is taking my hand off the igniter, crushing sticks of dynamite (much like Xena the Warrior Princess), and falling face first. I cannot earn my salvation… for I do not deserve it… and will never, under any circumstances, deserve it. I am just the little girl of a Big God that asks me to make Him the source of all of my fountains. I am instructed to wait until He commands the river to change me; I am instructed to “be.”
Just a girl in awe of a Lord that provides in uncertainty, laughs hysterically at me as I try to light the end of my dynamite sticks, and teaches me the beauty of being present and available to adventures only He could write. Just a girl hoping that her river keeps on digging deeper, even when it hurts, even when I fight it… because God’s hand in sanctification is ever-more perfect than my silly…feeble…embarrassing attempts.