I started the first sentence of this entry probably 7 times because I haven't blogged in one million days. But hey, hi, I'm here, and I'll just start typing away!
I started 2018 off with the word Wait. As I look back on the post I wrote about this word, it's amazing to see how the Lord used it this year. Here's a little snippet from that post:
"It can be hard for us to trust that even when we're upstairs crying for whatever we think we need or about whatever dream needs fulfilling or about whatever situation needs solving, God is downstairs working things out. It takes faith to wait while God does the doing. It takes faith to wait when you're not really even sure what exactly he is doing. It takes faith to wait when you feel like he's not doing anything.
I don't love the word Wait because it seems too still and too inactive. And maybe that's exactly the point. Maybe God is wanting to pour some stillness into me, a person who loves to do, fix, and accomplish. What I'm sensing is that this year I need to remember that waiting is an option. And even a good option! Maybe I need to wait on God for answers before I hurry up with a YES. Maybe I need to wait on God to change something before I rush in to fix it myself. I don't know how it will play out or what it will mean, but the fact that it rubs me the wrong way just a little bit is a pretty good indication that I could use a little bit of waiting in my life."In her Stress/Security talk a couple months ago, Suzanne Stabile said that Ones (my Enneagram number) need to ask themselves 3 questions before doing something:
1. What's it going to cost me if I do it?
2. What's it going to cost me if I don't do it?
3. What's it going to cost me if I wait?
What I learned this year is that choosing to wait simply out of principle and practice solved a lot of problems. Sometimes it's hard for me to imagine that waiting, being still, and not doing anything could actually be the best or the most productive thing I can do. By choosing to wait in several situations this year, conflicts resolved themselves in ways that I couldn't have planned for or even thought of. People changed their minds and decided on different things that I wouldn't have guessed. A lot of things just worked themselves out.
We tend to think of our choices as this or that. But really, there's a 3rd choice. There's a choice to wait, let things happen, and let God take care of it. I'm not suggesting that we stop being proactive and being problem solvers and accomplishing tasks, but I am suggesting that there is a balance. There's a time for all of it.
One of the biggest ways the word wait has played out is in the new part-time work I've recently started. In the beginning of 2018, I was feeling drained and exhausted, knowing I needed something to change but not knowing what that should be. I brainstormed what the fixes could be. More date nights? Get a babysitter one day a week? Start working outside of the home? Nothing felt right though. None of this was it.
Years ago, I remember being told that when you're confused about what's next or where the Lord is leading you, just go back to the last thing he told you. So I kept going back to my word for the year. Wait.
A few months into 2018, I began to notice a slight change as I became more involved volunteering at our church and working with other staff members on certain events and administrative things. There was a fulfillment and energy it gave me. It seemed that my previous feeling of being drained and exhausted was going away.
Fast forward to the summer. Through several situations, the Lord began to bring some things to the surface about what I believed about my gift of administration. I began believing it wasn't as important as the other gifts. It wasn't as spiritual. It wasn't as fun. People would rather be with someone who had any other gifting than this one. This one is structured and organized and rigid. People want chaos and mess, not order.
I spent a few weeks dialoging with the Lord about all of this. I realized that even though I wasn't fully aware I was believing all of those things, I was still living from that place. And because I was living out of this place, there was a feeling in me that I needed to prove myself, prove the importance of administration, prove the benefit of order.
It was in that time that Lord led to me this story in Acts 6. It starts out with, "But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent." There were issues in the administering of a food program. The apostles recognized their attention needed to be on preaching and teaching, not on fixing these problems. So they found other men to take this on. Not just men who were organized and good at this sort of thing, but men who were also "well respected and full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom." As a result, not only were these men as well as the apostles released and available to act in their gifting, but "God's message was preached in ever-widening circles. The numbers of believers greatly increased ..."
After a while, those lies I had believed were replaced with truth and I really did believe them. I noticed a settling in my spirit and in my person about this. I didn't feel like I was proving anymore. There was a simple joy and calm confidence in acting in my gift of administration. Through the Lord's affirmation, I believed it was good, necessary, powerful, valuable, and spiritual.
In the fall, a couple of months after this new revelation and perspective, I was offered a part-time administrative-type position at my church. I was absolutely delighted and floored. It's not at all what I was looking for at the beginning of the year, but when it came my way this winter, it made all the sense in the world. It was exactly what the Lord had been leading me closer to. I couldn't believe what a good and perfect gift it was. That achy longing I had at the beginning of the year for something was placed in me for a reason. And this job was the Lord's answer to it.
I say it every year, but if you don't already do this, ask the Lord for a word for this year. It's really been a sweet part of my journey these last several years. (And I plan on looking at and recapping the last 5-6 years in a blog post at some point. So stay tuned for that!)
I'm so thankful I waited the whole year and that I didn't work with my hands to fix that longing as fast as possible. I'm thankful that the Lord speaks to us and gives us things to hold onto even when we don't know why we're holding on to it.