This week I’ve had no idea what I wanted to write about. In fact, it’s past the time I usually post my blog, and I’m just now starting to type, so we’ll see where this goes.
It’s not that there aren’t things I want to tell you, it’s that it’s better to wait until I have a clue how I feel about them before inflicting them on you!
Maybe the place I’ll start is with patience.
I was talking to my mentor today, and as the conversation flew from one topic to another, we started to see a theme running through the many things I’ve been through over the past couple weeks and the many things I’m hoping will happen soon – like yesterday.
I need patience.
In my mind I have spent lots of time working out scenarios. Not just for stories, but for my life. If this thing happens my response would be… for all kinds of situations.
So when there is something I’d like to happen, it’s already accomplished in my mind. The real world just needs to catch up to me so I can let it play out the way I’ve imagined it.
In the last few years I’ve experienced a change in that way of thinking. I’ve learned that most of the situations I would work through in my head were things that never happen, that never will happen. And even if they did, they wouldn’t play out just the way I think they would.
Because I don’t control all the variables.
So I’ve spent most of my life working out solutions to problems that don’t exist.
You’d think that would have taught me something. Like that there is a better use of the wee hours of the night than thinking through endless tragedies. Sleeping for instance.
Gradually I’m finding that I don’t follow those trains of thought down the paths of disaster like I used to. As my mentor tells me, wouldn’t it be better if I lived in the now instead of in the what ifs?
So about a year ago I learned how to stop my wild thoughts in their tracks, and ask some simple questions: What is the truth of this situation? What are the facts I can know? What good does it do me to worry about this? Why don’t I try handing it over to God and letting it go?
Not that I do that all the time, never perfectly, sometimes I have to be hit over the head again, usually by my mentor when she hears me trying to take control of the whole world because things just aren’t going the way I know they could.
Have patience, she’ll say. There is value in the waiting.
So there are things I long to tell you about. Things I am eager to do, but that are not in my power to make happen right now. So I have to wait. So do you.
Because a really good story has many components. Beginning, middle, end. The resolution of some conflicts. Triumph of good over evil. And if I start rambling about what might happen, what I’d like to do, without any real sense of how it will go when it does happen, you would miss out on some great stories.
I am waiting for many things. Mostly for God’s timing, which can seem impossibly out of reach. I want to be the kid on vacation asking, “Are we there yet?” every five minutes.
Like that kid, when I stop being so impatient and start looking around at the surroundings God has placed me in at this moment, I start seeing what I was in too much of a hurry to see before.
That the purpose of my life was never to get all the things done I’d like to do. Frankly, God doesn’t need me to do anything for him in this world. Not that he doesn’t have work he wants me to do, just that he is all sufficient without my help. He is not any more God because I am able to do some small thing for him.
Yet at the same time, before he ever created me, God had a plan far beyond anything I could imagine, in which I would receive gifts and talents and dreams from him and in some way use them to bring glory to him and love and hope to those around me.
And as I am learning to pull back on my own mental reins and see where I am more often than where I think I will someday be, I find that in the day, the moment I am in, there are things I can be doing that I never noticed before.
Like gratitude. That was an area I knew I wanted to grow in, but I kept putting it off, thinking that if I could take a weekend to think about it I could figure out how to be grateful.
But it wasn’t anything I did that brought about a healing for me in this area. It was in a therapy session I recently began going to, in which someone who knows almost nothing about me prayed over me to have a spirit of gratitude towards God.
I don’t know how that worked, but it did. I still haven’t gotten the discipline to add to my list daily, but since last week I’m up another forty items on my list to one thousand gifts, and still many more to write down when I take the time.
Just that one improvement, counting blessings instead of potential tragedies, is making a real impact in my life. Because I’m seeing that in these times of waiting, there is also time to enjoy the lull.
My mentor also pointed out that patience isn’t something we need to seek from God, it’s a gift, part of the fruit of the Spirit. Something we should be able to tap into because that very Spirit of the Living God lives inside all who believe in Jesus.
In The Message that fruit of patience means “developing a willingness to stick with things.”
Not try to get beyond, not long for them to be over and done. Stick with.
So while I’m waiting for the things I hope God has for me, I will stick with him. No matter how long this takes.