Reasons For Rest
Waiting....I'm not good at it. When God tells me to wait, to be patient, I start to panic. I start to worry that when he says, "wait" he really means, "you're not enough."
That's hitting the nail on the head.
Why does being called on by God to wait patiently leave me feeling like I don't measure up? As if he is telling me to wait because I'm not good enough for it, whatever it is, now. Well, if I were answering that question just off the top of my head, I would say I feel that way because old habits die hard. I know in my heart that God is not driven by my ability or performance but my mind sometimes tries to convince me that he is, that he is waiting on me, not me waiting on him. Goodness, that's a revelation in itself. I think I've been translating the waiting on God as him waiting on me. Like maybe he's sitting up there, tapping his foot, drumming his fingers and rolling his eyes.
"Any day now, Shannon."
I know there is a delicate balance in the waiting. There are moments when we must do something God is calling us to do. Abraham had to take Isaac up that hill and offer him as a sacrifice to show how much faith he had in God. God could not prove his faithfulness in that moment unless Abraham did his part. There are many other examples like this in God's word. Moses, Joshua...Jesus.
This is where I find myself. Hanging in the middle between waiting on God and God waiting on me. I struggle so much with the fear that I will miss it, that God will provide a door and I will fail to walk through it. How will I know?! What if I miss it?! What if I don't do enough?!
The waiting time can be dangerous too, because it gives me time to think. I have time to list out all my inadequacy. I have time to compare myself to others. I have time to define what success will look like. I have time to doubt.
I have this new habit in my daily journal that I wish I had started years ago. I've always written in my journal in the form of prayers. I kind of treat my journal like it's a letter to God. Sometime last year, I felt a little nudge to not just stop with my written out prayers but to go ahead and write and answer. It felt weird at first...writing what I thought God's spirit was saying inside of me. Today though, I find that I can't wait to finish writing out my part so I can get to his part. I am completely amazed. When I go back and read those words that I know are from the heart of God, I am overwhelmed. I see a constant theme of him reminding me of how much he loves me, of how proud he is to call me his own. Lately though, I've noticed another trend in those words...
reminders to rest.
Every time I ask God what is next, what I should do, how I should be, what I might be missing, he just whispers that same thing..."rest." That seems so backwards to my way of thinking. How can resting in a time of waiting produce any type of fruit? It's illogical. Surely I need to do more, to be more persistent.
Did you know that fruit trees, in their cycle of life, have periods of rest? I am no expert so don't ask me for the particulars, but I heard that from a friend who gardens and so I looked into it. Sure enough, it's common for trees to have years of very low, if any, produce. Hmm....
When I look at this whole waiting thing as a resting thing, my perspective changes. Suddenly, I see this as God's way of demonstrating his love for me instead of his disapproval. He brings me to a place of rest so he can finish a work or perhaps start a new work. He brings me to a place of rest so I can practice his presence more deeply.
I spent the first twenty something years of my life going and doing. Rest was unfamiliar and, honestly, unwanted. As I moved into adulthood, keeping myself busy was one way of "moving on." I didn't want to rest because I didn't want to hear any whispers or reminders or anything that might hurt. I was always focused on the next thing. The soil of my heart was as dry as a desert for many years, nothing but tumbleweed and dust. Then, I opened my life up to God's hand and he planted a stream in the desert of my heart. This made the soil soft again. He began, like a farmer, pulling up weeds, watering and tilling the soil. Perhaps this season of rest is about letting the seeds take root, letting them spread out inside so the foundation will be firm, everlasting.
Perhaps, the rest brings forth sweeter tasting, lasting fruit.
You know, now that I see things from this perspective of rest, I don't feel so...unworthy. I feel loved. I feel cherished that God would craft my life in such a way that he brings me to a place of rest. I don't think God minds my panicky moments or my questions, either. I think he welcomes them, yearns for me to bring them before him so we can fellowship together. I am learning to recognize his voice too. I hear him in so many moments. I see him in so many places. I don't know if I could say that without the time of resting and waiting. The waiting is producing in me a maturity that I would otherwise lack. The waiting is producing in me a deeper, abiding love of my Savior. The waiting is teaching me surrender. The waiting is teaching me simplicity.
I guess I will rest then, and wait...because God doesn't need me to do, he needs me to be. God knows that in the waiting I will turn to him...
and that's exactly what he wants...
Indeed, that is exactly what he wants....
"Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31