I’ve often commented I am in my “waiting” and “resting” time: I am waiting for a home of my own again, and I am resting from the hard work our lifestyle goals and dreams demand. Here in this rental, I don’t get to choose to paint a room a different color or rip out the grass to plant vegetables, trees, and flowering perennials. I can’t own a goat. I can’t even own a goldfish without permission. Instead, I must wait. And rest.
Which, ironically, God not only purposed, but He did so in ways I did not imagine. I did not think I would be waiting for the birth of our ninth child. I did not imagine I would have to physically rest. And as I’m in this moment, I am pondering what it is I am really waiting for or resting from. What if “this” is “it”? But I don’t ever sincerely sit with that, and instead purpose to move forward, storing up hope, energy and goods for “the time to come”.
It’s really easy to live in storage mode. Physically, we throw items into the attic or closet or garage for the day when we will have a different house, a different life, a time when certainly the need will come. Mentally, we bypass the time we need to ponder and sift through the myriad of experiences and thoughts invading our hearts right now, assuming we will think on these things and deem them worthy of our body and soul, or not, “later”. And instead of assessing what we have here and now, we keep our eyes and hearts pressed into dreamy binoculars for the Big Idea we have, the Goal (dare I say, “the expectation”?), the time When All Will Be Right. We think.
This is not waiting. This is wasting. This is not planning. This is pining. For we exchange the truth of our “here and now” for a fantasy about our perfect “Just So” lifestyle, assuming THAT is when all would be at peace. There is a vast difference between goal setting for tomorrow with contentment today, and running over our current lives with an insatiable need to control or change our surroundings, circumstances, and the people we live with and around, to make the dream come true as soon as possible. We may damage close relationships or even our financial securities to do it, and if that dream or desire doesn’t ever appear in the way and manner hoped for or demanded, the result is an exasperation with life in general and probably a deep disappointment in God besides. After all, doesn’t He know where your heart lies?
Ah, but He does. And that’s why. For everything.
You don’t have to wait for a “Just So” life because all you really have is “Just Now.” That doesn’t mean we can’t have goals and dreams, but if all our energies and attention are thrust for the future, we’ll make velcro mistakes that will stick to us into that future. And then once we get there–if we do–we’ll be on track for the NEXT “Just So” time when we can be free of those annoying sinful patterns that we somehow took with us the first, or fortieth, time.
It’s important to consider the possibility that as much as we desire bigger, better, and stronger, God may have in mind smaller, worse, and weaker. You may never have the kind of spouse you want, gorgeous subway tile walls, a smashing book deal or a lifestyle that blows up Pinterest. You may not get baskets of produce out of a large garden, a flush retirement, or even children that rise up and call you blessed. In fact, things today might look heavenly compared to what’s really coming tomorrow. Desire itself for the better life is not a sin, but believinging that having your life on your own terms (or bust) is the way to love, peace, joy and happiness is a well-traveled road to deep ruts of discontent and anger that God is not playing by your rules.
So, I’m waiting. And I’m resting. I know that what I hope for may not happen, and that the work I desire may never come. Maybe this will be as good as it gets. And if that’s the case, then it will be for my best and I ought to be more grateful for it. And I ought to consider how I might praise God with the work of whatever my hands find to do in the time and place He has me. If I can do that, then THIS is the time When All Is Right, no matter my circumstances.