Sunday, May 13, 2012

Waiting on God

I hate waiting.  

I always want to skip to the end - to achieve the goal without necessarily going through what it takes to get there.  I guess - well, I guess that makes me human.  My idea of the perfect tattoo is "NO PAIN NO G/". I'm not big on suffering through stuff, gritting my teeth and persevering.  Which is part of why I think God spends a lot of time working on that area with me. 

I love quoting Isaiah 40:31, you know, mounting up with wings as eagles and all that.  But the first part of that says that it's only a certain kind of person who will be able to fly on eagle's wings.  It's the kind that wait on God.  Ouch.  Wait for His timing, accept what He gives, when He gives it.  I keep looking for the Cole's Notes version.  But it doesn't work like that.  

In the last few years, I've been learning that it helps, when waiting, (and God makes sure I do a LOT of it) to focus on the moment rather than how much longer there is to wait or what the outcome might be when I get there.  It keeps me sane! Acceptance is such a huge part of waiting well: acceptance of the situation that exists right now, of the people involved (if any), of the days (or hours, or minutes) as they come, and of my inability to affect the end result.  Hand-in-hand with this acceptance goes trust: trust that God is in control, that He loves me, that He will bring to completion that which concerns me, that whatever happens will dove-tail into His plan to make me more like Jesus.  

And the waiting - I'm learning - isn't a passive thing. It takes effort to quiet my spirit, to make time for soul-rest.  It takes energy and commitment to focus upward.  Mounting "up" as an eagle takes work - AND trust - in order to get to the place of resting on those updrafts, soaring above it all.  It doesn't come naturally, and I find that I have to be intentional about centering in on God, which brings me to the other aspect of "waiting on God." 

I used to be a waitress, in another (pre-children) lifetime. Waiting on people was more than just finding out what they wanted and bringing it to them.  It was providing a whole experience for them to feel cared for, important, even pampered: to make their meal memorable and reduce their stress.  It was anticipating what and when they might want something to enhance their time together.  

It involved constant watching, but not at their elbows.  It simply meant being aware of what they were doing and sensing when they might need something beyond just the food or a refill of their beverage: conversation, information, a caring word.  Some of my best memories of being a waitress had nothing to do with the delicious food I brought to tables or the money I made in tips.  It was the look on people's faces when they realized that the person waiting on them was interested in what they had to say, and wanted to help them in any way possible.  

Waiting on my customers meant listening to them - not so as to figure out what to say to them, but to actually HEAR them.  I had people tell me after their meal that this was the most enjoyable part: it made them feel like they mattered.  It was just as enjoyable for me.  

I think that a lot of Christians (myself included) miss this aspect of waiting on God and miss out on a lot of fulfilling experiences in relationship with Him - the tendency is to want God to wait on me and to serve me.  You know, as if He was some sort of vending machine - I insert my good deeds, push the button indicating what I want (prayer), and it comes dropping down from above just like clockwork.  Well - He kind of hates to be used like that.  (I'm a mom - I hate being used like that!)  When I listen to Him and spend time telling Him how great and awesome He is, when I listen to Him and want to bless His heart just because, His smile is enough of an updraft to lift me up on eagle's wings.

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