"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." (Lewis Carol) I think I just might fit into the category of the one who doesn't always know where she is going! At times I can be the best of planners, being patient to wait for all the pieces to come together in just the right timing. At others, I just want to plunge ahead, forgetting that perhaps the timing isn't right, or the planning isn't quite up to par yet. "Getting there" is quite different from just "getting somewhere". Too many times we allow ourselves to be duped into thinking movement, regardless of the direction we are headed, is really all that matters.
For everything that happens in life—there is a season, a right time for everything under heaven... (Ecclesiastes 3:1 VOICE)
I have said it before, but it bears repeating - God's timing isn't always the easiest to figure out! It isn't that he doesn't reveal it to us, it is just that we choose to not pay attention to the signs he provides, or move without even consulting him if it is the right direction for us to moving. I guess one of the hardest things for me to understand is that God's timing is on a "different scale" than ours. Don’t imagine, dear friends, that God’s timetable is the same as ours; as the psalm says, for with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day. (2 Peter 3:8 VOICE) That means that while today is like the blink of an eye to him, it could very well be the longest 24 hours of our lives - all because we are waiting on his timing to reveal the direction we should be going.
A couple of things we can do when we are waiting on God's timing and direction:
- Be thoughtful and in prayer. I don't always think we have to be on our knees to pray, as most of my prayers are simple conversations I have with him in my thoughts. As a matter of fact, most people don't even need to know I am praying or asking for his wisdom - it is a "mind conversation" with him occurring unbeknownst to them. This differs from frantic worry or frenzied planning. That also takes place in the mind, but really has the focus on what it is we need to do or can do to get us past this moment in time. Thoughtful prayer is when we "mull things over" with God giving us clarity as he helps us sort those things out. We aren't heading down the road - we are simply looking at the road map ahead of us, seeing all the various routes that could get us to where we think we want to go, and then allowing him to point out the best route to take!
- Be honest about your worries. God already knows when you fear something in the road ahead of you, so why cover it up? He can deal with our worries if we are honest enough to confess them to him rather than keeping them bottled up inside. Some of us think it is kind of wrong to admit we are worrying about something because Christians aren't to be anxious about stuff. Truth be told, we all worry! What we do with our worry is what matters - for when we hold onto it, thinking we can sort stuff out or muddle through somehow, we limit God's ability to settle in with his peace so we can finally see what he is doing.
- Be watchful and attentive. Too many times we head down the wrong path, just because it opens up before us, but find we are on a pretty bumpy ride when we get just a little bit down that path. Part of waiting is definitely watchfulness. As I was in the military, we'd practice our accuracy with firing our weapons on ranges where targets were both stationary and those types which pop up all over the place without any real rational pattern to them. The latter ranges were designed to hone our skills at being attentive to subtle movement and sudden changes in our environment. We'd lay there on the ground, poised for action, attentive to our surroundings. If you weren't, you'd miss your opportunity to "hit the target". Many of us lack attentiveness in waiting - because we are looking everywhere trying to find out where it is we are headed. Sometimes the best plan is to just settle in, relax, and then let the "target" reveal itself to us!
- Be satisfied in the moment. If we are always chatting at the bit to move, move, move, we miss the moments. When those moments are gone, they are gone. We don't get back time. We don't get back missed opportunities. We need to learn to invest in the moment, finding satisfaction in just being present in the moment. To always be "looking ahead" causes us to never really reach a place of satisfaction in the present. We might all learn a lesson here, for the present is irretrievable once it is passed! Just sayin!