What are you doing while you wait?

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Patience and waiting have been a running theme at angchronicles. And as God would have it, a few scriptures and ideas have crossed my path creating a new school of thought regarding waiting. Moreover what are we doing while we wait? I’d never thought about this, until reading a bible study by Charles Stanley. He questions our actions in the waiting period—that place where what you expect doesn’t happen, every step forward is two steps backwards, when a window looks open it’s nailed shut, a promise is shattered, dreams crumble, things simply fall apart. And no matter how hard you try nothing absolutely nothing moves.

 

Ever been there? Yeah, me too.

 

Well, while in this place of waiting what are we doing? Can you see what God is doing? For me, in hindsight after moaning and groaning and my infantile behavior—me, me, me, why me—I realize God is shaping and molding me to be ready, instantaneous and obediently, when he calls me to take the next step, climb the next level.

 

So, as I wait for the desires of my heart, I must trust God, take my problems to Him not my friends or family, rid myself of false humility, show compassion, learn obedience and submissiveness, focus on Christ not the circumstances, and thank God for everything—the storms, the rain, the suffering, the pain, the joy and the laughter.

 

These are behaviors that I need so God can use me in His kingdom, for His purpose not mine. Every day that I grow closer to him, every minute I see God moving in, around and through me— a me that I didn’t know existed. While I wait, I’m falling more in love with Christ.

 

What about you? What’s happening while you wait patiently on the Lord to move in your life?

Here’s something to consider:

King David waited until the Lord allowed him to defeat all his enemies.

Job said, “If a man dies, will he live again? If so, I would gladly suffer through this time waiting for my release.”

The Psalmist prayed, “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” Knowing that the Lord watches over his followers, those who wait for him to show his faithful love.

So, join me in waiting patiently on the Lord for his answer. 

 

Really. Patience. Again.

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In the blog post Watch + Wait + Pray = Patience two comments surfaced about praying for patience: “beware of the trials that may come and be careful … we usually only learn to be patient by going through trials and tribulations.”

How else can we learn to be patience without obstacles, trials and tests that help us learn? Isn’t that how Job learned patience, which is really longsuffering and perseverance. Having and learning to be patience builds and strengthens our character, our tenacity, and our faith. The psalmist says, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he will strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” (Psalm 24:14 KJV).

Patience is not a virtue I claim to possess. Yet, I am a bit more patience these days, because after reading Psalm 40:1—I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry (NLT)—I realized my faith had been wavering as I was sailing through one of the worst storms in my life. (And it’s not over.) When I read that verse, it hit me. I had not been waiting patiently for God to help me instead I became angry and bitter. I was impatience. Lord where are you, when are you going to show yourself. My faithful, spiritual warrior friends, including the pastor, could not convince me that God had not left me to drown.

Just as my blogger and Facebook friends warned: obstacles come in the face of praying for patience.

At a Tuesday night Bible Study, where this scripture presented itself, I read it six times. I was ashamed. My faith was weak. I had not been faithful to God’s promise—He would not leave or forsake me; I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. Instantly, I repented. I confessed openly in the prayer circle. I begged for God’s forgiveness.

Now, through the trials and the test my faith—complete trust in God— doesn’t waver. My patience has become a bit more Job-like. I’m still faithful—devoted and loyal— to watching, waiting and praying that I can and will endure those things that make me want to give up. Often I do want to give up, because sometimes my life seems like on big boxing ring, and I’m not winning. Since I haven’t been knocked out, my patience is long-lasting.

What about you? 

Today’s Prayer: Thank you, God for working all things out for our good and your glory as we wait on you and seek you; for energizing and strengthening us for the task we are called to do; for giving us patience, and faith to run and not grow weary, to walk and not faint. Amen.

Next week, we’ll explore “The Waiting Period.”

Watch + Wait + Pray = Patience

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When driving in traffic, watch for drivers who are impatient and move from lane to lane even though they rarely get two car lengths ahead of the vehicles they’ve rushed around.  Wait for them to pass. It’s slow moving traffic, and in reality each driver has someplace to go, and doesn’t want to sit in the jam. Pray that the speeder, darting back and forth, doesn’t cause an accident. This has been my day’s journey on a New York thruway in bumper-to-bumper traffic, with rain pouring.

One Toyota decides to whizz from the middle to the fast lane, and then straddle the lines between a truck and a car. I slow down to get three car lengths away from the crazy driver. I wonder if he will go through that small passage. I shake my head—Does the driver realize he is not riding a motorcycle? If he gets on the shoulder, that will be safest for the rest of us travelers. Other drivers distance themselves as well.

I remain alert watching and waiting for the crazy driver despite my own eagerness to get to my destination. On this Sunday, I’ve been up since six in the morning, and those well-laid plans have gone awry—GPS missing, yellow jacket stings my mother, unexpected emergency room visit, three hours late for check-in, need to eat dinner, and the road is slippery as night descends upon us. And the only, and the best, thing to do is pray. Lord, keep us safe and slow that driver down.

I understand about being impatient. Patience is not my strong point. If I’m dieting, I want to lose five pounds by the end of the week. When I exercise, I want toned muscles and a six-pack in two weeks. Ha.  When I write a short story, I want it completed—revisions included—accepted, and published in six weeks. If I need to explain something, and the person doesn’t understand what I believe is a simple take, I grow impatient. Reality check.

Patience is an asset. It helps us become tolerant of others, including ourselves. It keeps us safe. It improves our ability to persevere when we’re waiting. And God calls us to have patience and to wait patiently on Him while he fights our battles, orders our steps, brings us through the storm, and tests our faith.

 So, watch, wait and pray.

Today’s Prayer:

Prayer For Patience

God, teach me to be patient, teach me to go slow,
Teach me how to wait on You when my way I do not know.

Teach me sweet forbearance when things do not go right
So I remain unruffled when others grow uptight.

Teach me how to quiet my racing, rising heart
So I might hear the answer You are trying to impart.

Teach me to let go, dear God, and pray undisturbed until
My heart is filled with inner peace and I learn to know your will.

–  Helen Steiner Rice

 

Monday’s Guilty Pleasure

In January, I was asked if I died of consumption who would portray me if a movie was made about my life. I had no clue then. The next question posed, reveal a guilty pleasure. Unable to think of anything, I’m basically a plain, predictable, persistent person, my Monday routine came to mind. I stay in pajamas all day on Mondays and write, only to get up from desk at the end of the night, shower and put on new pajamas.

Since that confession, there has been no all day pajama Monday indulgence. One of my classmates asked why not switch days. Not happening I have a routine and Monday was all day writing. Eleven weeks later, it seems like its going to happen. Ha. Sunday night, I install an update and it wipes out my Safari connect. I turn off the computer knowing Monday morning I’ll have to traipse to the Apple Store.

Wide awake, six o’clock. Maybe if I call telephone support technician for assistance. Ha. Instead I have a 10:15 a.m. appointment with a Mac technician. Not amused. Revisions on my mind: characters, conversations, and scenes. All week I’d been trying to cultivate what Richard Bausch calls tidal patience – “Don’t let yourself set page goals, or think in terms of what gets done in a given session of work. Spend the time – the session is what counts, the time. The goal should be two hours, or three, or four, however many. Did you spend the time? If the answer is yes, no other questions. Cultivate patience of the tidal kind. This day’s work. It doesn’t have to be especially productive – no matter how well or ‘not well’ it seems to go in a day, it is always going well if you’re working, if you’re making the time. The good things will come if you’re making the time.”

Although this wave of writing ebbed and flowed, I desperately needed my Monday. And if you noticed, patience is not one of the P’s that describes me. (I’m working on it.)

One writing tool

One writing tool

It’s nine o’clock when I make the appointment. The ride takes thirty minutes. Before, stumbling out of bed, I say, “Lord, what am I too learn on this trip.” Otherwise, I’ll be cantankerous. I shove my laptop into its red pouch, and then into my purse. I dress, eat yogurt, make tea, procrastinate. I just filled my gas tank, and an all day Monday in my pajama means saving gas.

Inside the Apple Store, the man holding an ipad checks off my name and directs me to the technician. I explain the problem. As the Apple guy fixes the problem, he says to avoid the clash between Safari and Verizon, he pays his bill using online banking service. That’s a good idea. Then I ask about upgrading the Mac. He clicks a few buttons, say I have enough memory for an upgrade, points the mouse to Applications button showing exactly what to get. “Twenty dollars,” he says asking if my information is back up.

“Nope,” I say adding that I have a Time Capsule that’s still in the box, which I bought two years ago.

He clicks the mouse, drags an icon to my menu, and offers more instructions. Use the Time Capsule as my router or plug the Time Capsule up and it will automatically connect to my wireless router. Second option. I smile. I’m elated.

At the door, I decide to indulge, buy white chocolate mocha, get a table and writing. I stop at the Love Sac and fall onto a ginormous cushy square pillow. Then spend fifteen minutes chatting with the representatives about redecorating my living room and a bedroom. I’m jazzed.

Writer's mall inspiration

Writer’s mall inspiration

I find my spot and before I know it, I have fifty tightly revised pages, put some scenes, backstory and characters in my grave document and it’s three o’clock. Four hours writing. Patience cultivated in the tidal.

Perhaps, Monday writing should move to the mall.