Every morning I write 3 things I’m grateful for, 6 big but achievable goals, 3 prayers, a focus scripture, and my 1 priority project for the day in my journal. Several months in, the same 6 goals practically write themselves. Goal #5—I am an author of 4 books. Big and audacious—yes. Immediately achievable—no. So I work and wait, even when the waiting is long.
If only goals could be ordered on Amazon Prime
Almost everything can be at your house in 2 days with Amazon Prime. You point, click, and magically it shows up at your door. Wouldn’t it be great if achieving your goals worked the same way?!
Eight years ago I started writing on an obscure little blog, which has thankfully since been unpublished. If goals could be ordered on Amazon Prime, I would have written a book years ago entitled Tattoos and Paper Beads (Also thankfully no longer on the list.) Even now, I’d click a button and order a bigger platform to entice publishers. But, goals can’t be ordered on Amazon Prime, so we work and wait, even when the waiting is long.
And this very situation my friends is how a Google search landed me in the book of Habakkuk.
That’s right. In the middle of trying to figure out how to simultaneously be both patient and ambitious, I Google searched “scriptures about being patient” and ended up at Habakkuk 2:3. Spoiler: There doesn’t seem to be a shortcut. Also notable, Habakkuk seems like a prophet you could get along with really well.
Why does waiting take so long?
When you get to the point of Google searching “scriptures about being patient,” either your impatience, your bossiness, or a combination of the 2 has taken over. It’s the classic I really do trust God but I wish he’d get on with it scenario in real life.
“O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not hear?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save?
Why do you make me see iniquity,
and why do you idly look at wrong?”
Habakkuk’s words seem like something you’d say today. No, you’re not facing imminent danger from invaders. Nor are you responsible for the well-being of an entire nation. But, you are responsible for yourself, discerning God’s will, and subsequently doing his will. Seems similar and overwhelming.
What if Habakkuk’s questions were more like…
How long do I have to keep working before someone cares and I start seeing results?
When will we finally start the family we desperately want?
How long until I’m brave enough to try? I’m so afraid of failing again.
Will you really keep your promises to me?
Are you even still paying attention?
Waiting makes you feel stuck like nothing will ever change. You keep all the plates spinning without complaining somehow. When you’re not seeing results though, life doesn’t necessarily feel like a blessing.
The work we cannot see
Without flashy results, waiting feels like wasting time. You’re looking for a new you or the next big thing, but all you see ahead is your regular morning commute, a pile of laundry to fold, and bills that need to be paid. None of that feels flashy or holy.
“Look among the nations, and see;
wonder and be astounded.
For I am doing a work in your days
that you would not believe if told.”
So much of the deep work within you goes unnoticed. You don’t see it as it happens. Your friends and family miss it too. The urgency of everyday tasks shadows the ways God is changing you and arranging the pieces of life around you. Only when you’ve moved further down the road, can you see where you’ve come from.
In the 8 years since I hit publish on my first blog post, so much has changed. We’ve opened and closed a business, successfully gotten all 3 kids in school full-time, I’ve gone to seminary, become a working writer, and most importantly, God has worked on some really hard things within me. The fact that almost no one read my first blog is probably a gift to all of us. It needed help, but I needed a way to process.
Be consistent—work and wait, even when the waiting is long.
Living in the uncomfortable right now
We like to believe we understand our identity and God’s purpose. Really, we’re as mysterious to ourselves as women are to men. Add our misguided personal timelines and you end up with the aforementioned Google search.
“And the Lord answered me:
‘Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so he may run who reads it.
For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come; it will not delay.’”
Timing is everything, God’s timing is never delayed.
Work and wait, even when the waiting is long
Consider Habakkuk’s prayer in Chapter 3. What might your prayer sound like?
God, I know who you are and how you continue to show up, reminding me of your goodness even when I’m struggling to believe. You created every great thing we know—every person, love and loyalty, sunrise and sunset, old and young, steadfast and new. You have been here in every hard moment and refuse to leave. Even when I don’t understand, you don’t dismiss me as not enough. Instead, you lean in and share your message yet again. You promise to make all things right in your time and in your way, without ever leaving me alone. Until the very last moment, your arms will welcome all who want to share in your grace. The unknown ahead is frightening, but I choose to believe in you. My focus will be you, your glory, and your grace. I will work and wait, even when the waiting is long because your timing is always perfect.
How is God working in our life right now? Is he asking you to push ahead or wait?
Be Thankful–Embrace the Tension. Look toward God.
Enjoy the full Thankful series.
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