Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Waiting Game

You may not know the details of our life, but you know that we have spent the past 10 months or so waiting on many things. We wait and nothing happens. We wait, something happens, and then we wait some more. We wait, something happens, then it all falls through, so we wait again.

This morning, with the ice and snow falling, I was given lots of time to sit and think over our waiting.  And I have to ask myself, "Am I waiting well?" and "How can I wait well?" Though I've not waited well all the time, I have figured out what helps in doing so. In no way is this an exhaustive list. I could go on for days...

1. Don't waste the wait

Whatever you are waiting for - a job, a husband, a child, a house - don't waste the time while you are waiting. It is so tempting (and I've done it) to stop doing things, especially to stop serving others. But when you believe that God saw fit to bring this into your life for you to glorify Him and to become more like His son, you get a new perspective on your waiting. Let me give you an example of one of my best and worst days.

One day, I went to work and Hubs came along to work on a project at church. We spent the entire day doing something for someone else. Then, we went over to some friend's house that night to fellowship and have fun. Although we talked about our situation and thought about it, we were so wrapped up in other people that we didn't get overwhelmed by our own issues.

Compare that to another day, where I didn't text anyone, left the house only if I needed to, watched shows on TV, checked my email and social media, ordered food and went to bed early. I was completely consumed with my own situation, that I was depressed and my attitude towards others and Hubs was selfish and crabby. I wasted the time that God had given me.

So, find things to do. Meet with people. Don't waste this time, but redeem it. Never, ever will I believe that God's purpose for you is to sit and think about yourself.

I'm not always good at this, but when we serve the Lord instead of ourselves, I think our attitudes naturally get a little better. I am constantly reminding myself to be thankful that God has brought us to this spot to serve Him. Which bring us to the next one:

2. Choose Gratitude

I can't stand complaining, and I really, really try not to do it (out loud). Right now, it is super popular to complain about the weather, and I know I have even said a few things about it. But, when you believe that the Lord has graciously allowed you to be in whatever situation it is (even cold weather), it's really hard to complain and grumble.

Sometimes there are things that you have to work on moment by moment, and this is one of those things. I can be at church and see someone who is in a situation that I wish I was in. A little thought comes into my mind, maybe envy, and so I immediately start thinking over truths that I believe. God is good and sovereign and faithful. My life has been custom designed for me to grow in grace through faith in Christ. God has not forgotten me. Christ emptied Himself and came to die for me. What else do I need but Christ?

Choosing gratitude means you will stop choosing yourself. It's so tempting to just sit and think on your own situation. You can even sit in a room with other people, listening and talking with them, and really just be thinking of yourself. Please tell me that I am not the only one who has done this!

There is only one way I can think of that you can actually accomplish choosing gratitude. It's building  up a good theology from God's word and keeping it in your mind. It's an active thought-life based on who God is. And, neatly, that takes us to the next one!

3. Think what you believe

What do you believe? What do you think? What do you know?

Our thoughts can really change the course of our day. I can let my mind go down a horrible rampage and be changed in a matter of minutes. For example, I was driving to the mall yesterday and I thought about if we were in a car accident. In my mind, we are in this accident and I see this huge beam coming straight for us. Hubs is unconscious and doesn't duck, but I do just in the knick of time. Hubs dies and I am distraught. A few weeks later, I realize I need to talk to someone about what I went through because I am having nightmares. And although all of that is completely made up in my mind, I am in my car bawling.

That's a silly example, but I can do this with anything. I can be super mad at Hubs or think someone is in the wrong completely because I let my mind run away with a tiny thought.

What if we did the same thing with truth, though? I'm in this situation. God is still good. He has given us so much, everything we need and even more. God is faithful. I know He does all for His glory and our good, which is conforming us to the image of His Son. So, I am going to trust Him. In God's gracious timing, He has given me more hours to serve Him and others. Now, what am I going to do about that?

What you believe about God is the most important thing about you (from A.W. Tozer). Why? Because it is what will be lived out and it is what will inform your thoughts. Learn to reign in your thoughts and think biblically about your situation. When one of those moments happens where you are tempted to start feeling sad for yourself, ask yourself these questions: What do I know? What do I think? What do I believe? Maybe someday I'll give you even more details about how I do this personally.

4. Love the Word of God

There are still times where your heart is overwhelmed and you just don't know what to do. Sometimes this is the hardest one for me to do, but open your Bible and read God's words. My favorite place to turn to right now is Psalm 61.

"Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

I love to learn from David's example of what to do when you are discouraged or confused or overwhelmed. I love that God put verses in the Bible that can balm our struggling hearts. I haven't found anything else that comforts and attends to my needs more than Scripture, yet often it is what I turn to when nothing else works. Learn to go there first.

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