My gosh, that word. THAT word. Everyone can relate to it. There are thousands of YouTube videos on it, pinterest graphics with quotes about it, instagram posts with long captions meant to provide encouragement for those who feel stuck in it, and even whole books written on that one topic. The idea of waiting has become so familiar to us, and especially to many people who feel called to marriage, that it’s now become popular to define the span of time between college graduation and finding that person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with as the dreaded “season of waiting.”
But really, no matter what age we are, it seems like we’re always waiting around for something…
Waiting for that guy to ask us to prom.
Waiting to save up enough money to buy that car.
Waiting for the weekend to come around.
Waiting for the college we’ve always dreamed of attending to send us that acceptance letter.
Waiting for God to reveal to us what our vocation is.
Waiting to hear back from that job we just interviewed for.
Waiting to meet our future husband or wife.
Waiting to finally have a child after struggling with infertility for years.
Waiting, waiting, and more waiting. I think you get the picture.
You get the picture because you’ve also felt the uncomfortable ache of hopes and desires that have yet to be fulfilled. You’ve felt the tension between where you are and where you desperately want to be. You’ve felt the frustration and confusion of once imagining that your life would follow this perfect little timeline you created in your mind, only to realize that life is actually nothing like what you had imagined or planned. Like for real, years ago your timeline was somehow chucked out the window (against your will, might I add) of a car driving 80 mph and it doesn’t seem like it’s gonna show up any time soon.
You get it. I get it. Everyone gets it because every single human being has felt the weight of “the wait,” whatever it is they may be waiting for. And because of this, it can easily seem like life is just one big waiting game. We wait for that experience, that opportunity, that person, that open door, that thing we want SO badly. When we don’t get it, we often end up finding something else to look forward to. And if we are lucky enough to recieve what it is we’ve been wanting, we may dance around with so much energy and excitement that people might mistake us for the energizer bunny. We may even swear that we’ll never ever need anything else ever again because this thing right here… this is enough to keep us on Cloud 9 for the rest of our lives.
But then, you know what? Whether it’s days, weeks, or years later, we somehow find ourselves desiring the next thing. And we begin the oh-so-wonderful waiting game allll over again. Believe me, it can be pretty difficult and pretty painful, I know. And I highly doubt you’ll ever hear anyone say that waiting is a super fun experience. That’s why I’m here to tell you there’s another way. There’s a much, much better way.
Now, I bet you’re dying to know what this alternative is. It’s actually really simple. Let me explain.
When I was in high school, all I wanted was to get into my dream college. When I got into my dream college, all I wanted was to fast forward through the summer to start my freshman year. When I started my freshman year (and many of you know it was not the awesome experience I was expecting), all I wanted was to find a way out of college. When I realized that wasn’t going to happen, all I wanted was to finally figure out what God wanted me to do with my life and my gifts. When I miraculously got the opportunity to record my first album senior year, all I wanted was to find a record label. When I got signed to a record label less than a year later, all I wanted was to figure out how to do music and ministry full time. And now that I’m a full time singer/songwriter and speaker, I find that my heart still has so (so, so, sooo) many other desires and dreams that I have yet to see fulfilled. In fact, I don’t know how, when, or even if they’ll all be fulfilled.
But I’m honestly learning to be okay with that. Because I’ve realized that God doesn’t want me to remain stuck in a never-ending cycle of always wanting more as I wait to have my every desire (no matter how good) satisfied. Instead, He wants me to say yes to the alternative, and that alternative is to just start LIVING. Living with joy, gratitude, love, hope, and faith. Because this moment matters just as much as any other. If it didn’t matter, I wouldn’t be living it. You and I both know that it’s tempting to believe that life begins when we finally step into that certain season, or receive that awesome opportunity, or meet that special person. But the truth is that our life began the moment we were born, and we’re meant to embrace it in all of its glory every single second, not just in the moments when we feel we’ve finally received what we’ve been praying for. A few months ago, this truth smacked me right across the face when I reflected on these two passages in scripture:
John 10:10 - [Jesus said,] “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Psalm 23:1-3 - “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.”
SO many questions flooded my mind when I first read these verses. These were the big two:
- If Jesus came to give me life to the full, doesn’t that mean He not only wants to give me that abundant life in the future, but right now as well?
- If the Lord is truly a good shepherd who never leaves me wanting for (aka "lacking”) anything, what does that mean about the things I think I should have or wish I had at this very moment?
Over time, this is what God showed me: 1) Yes, Jesus is my shepherd, and He’s yours, too. He came so that we might be able to live each moment with abundant joy, peace, purpose, and beauty. Not just some moments, but every moment. And because He’s such a good and loving provider, we are never left wanting for the things we truly need. That means what we have today is what we need today. So if God hasn’t given us something or someone, it must mean we don’t need it right now, no matter how much we may want it. In fact, it’s better that we don’t have it. Why? Because God’s plans are so much sweeter than ours, and anything (no matter how good) that’s outside of those plans will just side track us on our journey toward eternal joy, fulfillment, and life. 2) Right now, you have the one thing you need most. You have God. From now into eternity, the only Person you’ll ever need is God, and guess what? You’ll never have to wait around for Him. He’s here right now to love you and to be loved by you, to guide you through every circumstance of your day, to lead you to the people you’re meant to love, help and do life with, and to transform you into the person you were created to be along the way. All of this can, should, and WILL happen right here, right now, if only you choose to stop reaching for the future and start embracing the gift of the present with an open heart. Life has its share of those exciting "this is what I've been waiting for" moments, but it's also composed of all the ordinarily beautiful moments in between, and if we don't live those moments too, we're going to miss out on the wonderful adventure that's right in front of our eyes.
So, my friend, be encouraged and be grateful for this day. Where you are is exactly where you’re meant to be. This season of your life is so amazingly anointed, you can’t even being to imagine. It holds every single opportunity, blessing, challenge and beautiful person you’re meant to have in your life at this very second, nothing more and nothing less. This season holds a special purpose and mission all its own, and it’s your job to wholeheartedly LIVE it out, not just halfheartedly WAIT it out.
So, I challenge you to find the beauty and the adventure in this very day. Once it’s gone, you’ll never be able to relive it. I challenge you to name three things you have today that you once prayed for. Praise God for the goodness He’s shown by answering those prayers, and praise Him for the prayers He’s preparing to answer in the future. But most of all, I challenge you to draw closer to the heart of Christ today. Despite who or what you may or may not have in your life right now, you have Him. The Creator of the stars, the moon, the mountains, the oceans, and every human heart gives Himself to you today and forever. He’s the greatest possible gift you could ever want or need. And He’s all yours.