Called to Wait - Being Intentional
Discovering a calling is not like doing a Google search; it does not happen in an instant. We need to be intentional about taking action rather than just waiting for our callings to drop into our laps.
You probably know the feeling: Your mind begins to wander away from the familiar place where you have been working when a new and unexpected opportunity develops an increasingly strong life of its own as the idea grows. But somehow you know that you have to wait to see whether this is a real, new calling or just a scratchy reaction to tiresome people and seemingly endless problems at work. Waiting is bad enough for an activist. Waiting patiently is nigh impossible! But that is what the psalmist said repeatedly: “I waited patiently for the Lord” (Psalm 40:1). Waiting is a part of the spiritual discipline essential to everyone who is following Jesus. But then, significantly, the psalmist added, “he turned to me and heard my cry.” I have found the first part—waiting— almost unbearable at times. Yet when I have clung to that second half of the promise, I have not been disappointed.
Waiting is so very hard. But unlike the doctor’s waiting room, God’s waiting rooms are part of the consultation. It matters to Him that we are prepared before we hear from Him. Taking time to get ready is therefore not an annoying interlude but an essential ingredient and part of His equipping. We begin to dream of what might be. We have a sense that the ties to our current circumstances are being loosened and something different is beginning. God allows conviction to grow out of our initial dreams and impressions, but this takes time. Waiting is a kind of spiritual workshop. But how do we deal with this maddening delay? What do we do when we can’t do anything? And how do we keep the dream alive when we can’t yet live the dream?
But this is the most valuable time of our lives in Christ: when He draws near and works with us to align our wills to His purpose. This season enables us to respond to his call for the next phase of our lives. There is excitement in this time if we have the right attitude and if we can embrace rather than resist the challenges of the season.
So waiting is programmed into the very operation system of God’s plan for humanity. And our comfort is that we cannot beat him by bringing into existence a change of circumstance of our own. We are often tempted to try and do more than we are called to do, but we cannot do more than he has planned for us.
Dreams take time to be fulfilled. There is an inner game that has to be played out before we can face the outer one. Our mind-sets and foci need to be strengthened first. Every athlete knows the importance of this pre-match prep. Michael Jordan was quite clear: “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” This is what happens in the waiting time. The process of preparing is as important as the plan.
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