Waiting on God is never easy. Where do I start?
^ Not only are those my 6am waking thoughts for this dusty blog, but those are the resounding words from exasperated moms I’ve spoken with who are ready for change. When we feel like we are waiting on God, we lose our patience.
We want to control something.
It’s not lost on me that 9 months ago I shared a blog titled, “It’s Okay To Slow Down” and soon thereafter my writing and blogging… [wait for it]… slowed down.
It was not my intention to temporarily hang anything up or prove that slow living is a worthy and, dare I say, valiant effort. My stride actually changed because God’s pace ahead of me decelerated.
I could have chosen to keep walking and pass Him because there were some pretty neat opportunities presenting themselves to me. But I chose to sit with Him.
Sitting with God (when I want to run) has not naturally been my MO.
It’s a discipline I’ve had to practice and sharpen for years. Perhaps you can relate. You want to do good. You are eager to put your name in the hat. You tell God, “I’m willing and able” and wait for Him to use you.
You feel antsy because the stillness in your life feels insignificant and this surely couldn’t be His plan for you today. You want to matter. You want to be a part of something special.
After all, you are something special. Doesn’t God need you?
The attractiveness of working towards a goal or bigger purpose entices you to stretch your capacity a little further each day. Aren’t we supposed to work as if we are working for the Lord?
Doesn’t that mean emptying yourself daily in God’s name? If this is all true, why is it bad to walk a little ahead of God when you “have what it takes” to get more done faster? Whatever it takes to build the Kingdom, right?
I’m rambling now. I’ll get back on track. You get the point.
If you are a believer, you likely know that walking ahead of God means He is no longer leading. You are now inadvertently playing follow the leader, persuading Him to fall in step with you.
On all accounts, you know this is wrong. If God tells you to sit and you keep walking (or asking Him to give you something more important to do), you are missing the point.
Ultimately, you may be missing out on how He wants to prepare and use you quietly now.
“Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11 (NLT)
Not every season is meant to rest or go slow. But when God tells you to slow down or wait, obedience isn’t an option. It’s a command.
This reminds me of when Jesus commissioned the disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). Note that this is after Jesus rose from the dead and began appearing to many proving His Deity and further solidifying His unique plans to build the Church.
The disciples must have been hyped up. Sure, some doubted. But if there has ever been a Super Bowl victory moment to boost confidence, this was it.
They were ready to rumble. Put me in coach. I’m sure more than just Peter would be bold enough to run across the Sea of Galilee now.
let’s cross reference what Jesus told these disciples before He ascended into heaven.
”I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:49 (NIV)
And again, in Acts 1:4 (NIV),
“On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.”
As if to glaze over that important command, they gathered around Jesus and asked (very much my paraphrase), “Okay, anyways. Remember all that talk about restoring Israel… when is that gonna happen? What should we expect? What do you need from us?” (Acts 1:6, paraphrase).
Hold tight to the answer Jesus gives. Read it twice.
“He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know.” Acts 1:7 (NLT)
Here is what my brain hears when I read that passage:
Me: “God, tell me all the details!”
God: “Only I have the authority to know all the details, they are not for you to know” or the classic elementary school kid comeback, “It’s for me to know and you to find out.”
In the same breath, Jesus restates that they should get back to hustling (go to the ends of the earth) ONLY WHEN they receive the power from the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). They may be willing now but Jesus told them to wait. They must wait for the power, given by God, to do what He has called them to do. Otherwise, the effort is empty and void.
Fun Fact: These were Jesus’ last recorded words before He ascended into heaven. He knew this was the last face-to-face time with the disciples in His earthly body. He chose His words wisely. He chose to tell them: Wait. until. I say. go.
Here are 3 things you should do while waiting on God.
Waiting is hard. Sitting with God will fulfill all your expectations as long as your desires are aligned with His. While the disciples waited on the Holy Spirit, this is what they did:
- Praised God (Luke 24:53)
- Prayed together (Acts 1:14)
- Put back what’s missing (Acts 1:21-26)
First, I like simple and often need repetition to really drive home a main point. The best example to follow when waiting on God’s green light is to do what the early Church did in scripture.
It says in Luke 24 after Jesus told the disciples to stay in Jerusalem that they spent all their time praising God. Follow their lead and spend intentional time praising God for what He has done in your life.
Praise Him for meeting your needs. Praise Him for offering you grace when you deserve death. Praise Him for giving you this time to rest and recharge (even if you don’t realize you need it).
Second, make it a priority to gather together with other believers. Acts chapter 1 tells us that after Jesus said to wait until they receive the power promised to them, the disciples were united in prayer.
If you want to burn your candle at both ends, try doing life alone. If you want to obey God and build strong community, reach out to fellow believers and be brave enough to pray together.
Sharing your hearts, struggles, dreams and carrying one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).
Thirdly, during your season of resting and waiting, put back what you’ve been missing. In Acts 1:21-26, the disciples went through the proper steps to replace Judas as one of their twelve.
You may have sinful baggage, a toxic habit, selfishness or an ego to breakdown. Use this time to repent and restore.
God wants to replace the evil in your life with holiness. It’s easy to drift into self-reliance and pride. Tear down any idols you’ve built up and put God back on the throne.
Wherever you are in life right now, know that “there is a time to plant and a time to harvest… a time to tear down and a time to build up… a time to be quiet and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:2,3,7, NLT).
There is beauty, growth, restoration and peace in the quiet seasons. Enjoy it as a gift from God.
- As believers, our commission is to make disciples. This will look different in different seasons.
- God may ask you to slow down and sit with Him.
- If He decelerates, you decelerate. If He runs, you run. If He rests, you rest.
- Instead of wanting more, practice patience and stillness: Praise Him, pray with other believers and put God back in His rightful place.
I’d love to continue this conversation. Drop a comment or shoot me an email. Are you struggling in a quiet season? I have some other tips and lessons I’ve learned that I can share. xoxo