I have so much inside of me right now; so many thoughts and emotions. I wish I could just vomit them out and be done. Processing and dealing just seems so painful and time consuming. Back in January I wrote about being in the wilderness and about letting go. Oh my! Why can’t I just be done? I want to arrive. I want the hard part to be over. Don’t you? If only things were that simple.
A couple weeks ago I read both The List by Marian Jordan and Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist. They were just what I needed to hear; there was a beautiful partnership and parallel between the two. Both of these women have had wilderness times in there lives, (you mean I’m not the only one?!) and each of them have incredible testimonies full of joy and celebration. The wisdom they share reminds me that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I literally have pages and pages of notes and quotes that I jotted down while reading these, but don’t worry I won’t share them all.
It’s sort of ironic because I read The List sometime last year, with the thought in my head that yeah, it was good to read this book, but it didn’t totally apply to me, because, well, I didn’t have one of “those lists” for my life. When I first read it I thought it was a great book, but I definitely got more out of it the second time around. As I was reading it again I was convicted that I do have a list; I have desires and wishes and goals for my life and things are not working out how I thought they should. Doesn’t God know that if He allows my life to go on as I think it should, that things will be perfect and wonderful and better than He could imagine? (Insert a large dose of sarcasm here.)
In Cold Tangerines, Shauna said, “The problem is that the worldview I’ve chosen has melted like butter. I had a plan, and the plan is gone. I did it right, in my own made-up system, and it all came out wrong…And I loved the plan. I believed in the plan, secretly, way more devoutly than I believed in the mysterious work of God. So now, out of desperation, I’m back to prayer. I’m back to prayer, sheepishly, because I couldn’t make my life work without it. I pray out of sheer lack of options.”
My family had our vacancy pastor and his wife over for dinner a couple weeks ago. After sharing parts of my story with them, he said something to the effect of, “you cannot have faith unless you have to live by faith.” I was floored. It was one of those “aha!” moments in life. This is sort of a no-brainer, but if life doesn’t challenge and test you, you won’t have the opportunity to live by faith. This time in my life is brutal. I honestly cannot see my future. I feel lost, but I am holding onto God’s promises with all my strength. Let’s be honest here, sometimes I do forget God’s promises to provide, protect, forgive, love and bless me, but just because I forget doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
My life lately seems to be defined by waiting; waiting for direction and guidance. During this time I can easily choose despair, and at some points I have (as seen in some blog posts for which I apologize), but I want to choose joy and hope. I want my life to glorify God. This time in my life is an opportunity to surrender and claim God’s promises. I no longer want waiting to define my life, but rather faith; faith in God’s perfect timing and sovereign plan.
Shauna said, “But I’m learning to just keep moving, keep walking, keep taking teeny tiny steps. And it’s in those teeny tiny steps and moments that I become, actually, who I am. We won’t arrive. But we can become. And that’s the most hopeful thing I can think of. Thank God I was wrong about everything I had planned. Thank God we weren’t on my schedule, because even though I dragged my heels and checked my planner every five seconds while I watched my life change in his hands, I really like the place we’ve ended up, and the things I’ve seen along the way.”
So here I go. No more waiting. I walk in faith. Today I will take another tiny step. And tomorrow I will take another.