Wednesday, June 9, 2010

choosing to be glad...

Somewhere in the midst of job interviews, career decisions, and countless conversations about "what is next," I have forgotten what the Lord spoke to me a few weekends ago at a Girls Beach Retreat I attended in NJ. I somehow managed to shuffle the Lord's still small voice beneath waiting for the phone to ring and a few emotional break-downs about my future. Allow me to explain.

Ever since I relocated from Florida to Baltimore, the question from nearly everyone has been this: So what are you going to DO? I have never hated this question, and in fact, it has always sparked a sense of adventure and excitement as the Lord has led me through various seasons of my life. My response, generally, was that I was going to DO whatever the Lord led me to DO. I was going to GO where He opened doors, and I was going to LOVE the people around me. Hands down, that's what I was going to DO. Only this time, things seem different.

I am a college graduate, and I have no idea what the future holds. No classes to attend, or activities to "pass the time." I have been stripped from most of my comforts, and in my eyes, I'm not DOING anything right now. This could be a complete lie, but the majority of those around me seem to have some kind of direction in their lives. Me? I have never been more confused than I am now. This confusing has triggered a complete sense of helplessness in my spirit; one that reminds me that obsessing over and trying to control the details of my life is a job much too big for little ol' me. Go figure.

That was precisely what I felt the Lord saying to me a few weekends ago while I was journaling and praying at the beach. I was thinking about what it means to "be still," and why I had such a hard time with the "waiting process" (Read my previous post!) I tried to listen to the Lord amidst the crashing of the waves on the shore in front of me. Here is the "letter" that somehow became of that moment:

"Shel, you know that I am the LORD. Sure, you go through dry spouts, but you DO know that.
Perhaps your brokenness is not for YOU.
Perhaps it is because 'broken pieces will feed the multitude' and there's a multitude around you that is hungry.
You have wept to me about how the world is hungry, about how they need so much,
and like Christ was broken and poured out for many, you, as His servant and chosen one, must be broken.
Your perfectionism and plans bring glory to YOU, Shel, but I want the glory.
I need you to struggle through this so that others can see ME come through.
Stop trying to fix everything.
Be still, and let yourself be broken before me.
You know I won't leave you that way forever, baby girl.
I love you too much to do that.
But for now, I have placed you where you are, to be broken for a little while.
To wrestle, to yearn, and to invite the multitude of those around you into that process
Can you trust me?

I needed to re-read this and post it as a sweet reminder that amidst the chaos, the Lord has not left me. He has a PLAN for me, and He knows exactly how He wants to use me here in Baltimore. Any talents, gifts, or abilities -- HE has given me for His purpose. The Lord does not operate on MY time table, but on HIS. There is a purpose for the waiting, and a plan for all of the things that I cannot see.

"So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while..." 1 Peter 1:6

Choosing to be glad. Thank you, Lord.


waiting away.

Our lives revolve around waiting. We wait for the light to turn green, for the clock to strike six so we can leave our offices, for "mister right" to enter our lives and swoop us off our feet. We wait for telephone calls, for the latest gadgets, for birthdays, anniversaries -- you get the point.

Some of us despise waiting. It annoys us to have to wait in line, or to be served last. Some of us get so frustrated by the need to wait that we find ourselves "lashing out" at whoever will take the fall. "We should not have to wait," we tell ourselves, and in the process, we cling onto the notion that waiting is bad. Waiting is useless. Waiting has no purpose. We kick and scream, because, well, "we should not have to wait!"

Or so I thought.

I've never been one to be annoyed about having to wait in line, or waiting for a friend. But in this season of my life, "waiting" has taken on an entirely new meaning. It's like I'm waiting, but I have no idea what I am waiting for. Will I figure out where my "niche" is in this place? Will I find a job? Will I ever get over X, Y, Z? Who am I? You know, all of those fun questions that everyone loves to answer when asked. I am at a stand still, and my natural reaction is to lash out and try to do something about it. You know... fill my schedule with "things" that make the pain of not knowing less heart wrenching. Less obvious. Less lonely. I know that's not healthy, but it's all I know to do.

And then I come across books, like Sue Monk Kidd's "When the Heart Waits," that advocate for the waiting process, as if it is some kind of great and wonderful season that purges the "dark holes" in us and thrusts us into the future, transformed and new. I am not angry with her book, or with her for that matter. Her book is so powerful and distrupting to what I thought my heart was doing right... so much so that I have made it through a mere 34 pages in the past three months. Nope - not mad at Sue, just mad that I am still waiting.

It's not fun.
It feels chaotic, and boring, and confusing.
Sue assures me that it is necessary.
Sue assures me that I shouldn't be afraid of the "pause."
Sue assures me that waiting is not "doing nothing."
Waiting is doing something. MORE than doing something.
It's letting God speak to you; it's being still, and resting in what you do know.
It's letting go of control. Admitting that you cannot do it all.
Did I mention it's not fun?

Nope, not fun at all.

Yet here I remain.... waiting away.