“I so badly want a baby, but I’m having trouble getting pregnant. I feel like Motherhood is my calling, why can’t I seem to get pregnant?”
“All of my friends are in dating relationships or married…when is it my turn?”
“I keep waiting to get the promotion that I feel like I deserve. I don’t know why I haven’t gotten it yet. Am I in the wrong career?!”
“I have no clue what to do with my life. All of my friends seem so sure of themselves and are getting their degrees, but here I am still not sure what the heck comes next.”
Seasons of waiting are so tough. I get it.
I remember being in a season of SO much uncertainty about what God wanted for my life two years ago. I was walking away from a successful and financially secure future as a Nurse, making a move that lots of people thought was crazy. I stepped into the unknown and asked God what He wanted. It was so stressful- anxiety provoking if I’m honest. I had sleepless nights and moments of crying out to God asking Him what He had for me. I felt frustrated that it wasn’t an instant answer.
Over the period of several months God slowly revealed His will to me. There were a few different ways that I felt God opening the door into working in Youth Ministry.
First of all, and probably most importantly, God spoke to me through His Word. During my time with God I was challenged through several scriptures that helped me to understand that sometimes His will is something that requires faith, or even looks crazy to everyone else- think of stories like Moses being called out of royalty to lead the Israelites out of slavery, or Peter being asked to step out of the safety of a boat to step out on the water. We’re told in numerous places in scripture that God’s Word acts as a lamp for our feet and light for our paths. The most perfect discernment really does come from spending time with God in His Word!
He then used my thoughts and desires to point me to His will. I know we’re sometimes quick to discount this stuff and say that we shouldn’t base our decisions off of feelings, which is true…but God actually uses our inner longings in really cool ways sometimes. Have you ever tried praying, “Jesus, give me an inner longing for Your plan. Burn in me a desire for Your own desires”? Let me tell you, that’s life changing! He WILL answer that prayer.
I once heard the difference between a “self-created will” and God’s will described this way: When you’re the one creating the desire for something, it will often be fleeting or only last for a season. It will often start as a stronger desire and then fade with time. When God is the one placing a desire within you, it will grow stronger with time! This is why patience and prayer are so important.
God also showed me His will through confirmations and affirmations by other God-serving people in my life. People who were praying with me, interceding in prayer for me, and seeking God’s wisdom to share with me.
So I know you might be thinking, “well I’m glad that all worked out for you…what about me?” Well, I’m here to tell you today that these seasons of waiting continue to come throughout your whole life. I’m in another one of these seasons of waiting again now!!
Right now I find myself often asking God questions like, “What’s next in my ministry area?” “When is the right timing for starting a family?” “What’s going to happen with this blog?” “What’s my purpose or calling at Church?”
Soooo trust me when I say that I get it. I’m in a frustrating season of waiting where I don’t feel any clear direction forward. I don’t know when the “next” will be. I want some answers, but I don’t have them yet. Not gonna lie…it’s somewhat annoying for an over-planner like me!!!
So I think I’ve already established that we’re constantly in transition and waiting periods, especially in our teens and 20’s. It sometimes even seems like we have this “life checklist” to work our way through, but it might be time to challenge that. God didn’t create us all the same, so our journeys also won’t all look the same!
It could look like post-secondary right after high school, work right after high school, a college diploma, university degree, a trade, singleness for now, singleness forever, marrying young, marrying older, biological kids, no kids, adopting kids, fostering kids, renting, owning a home, being a stay-at-home-mom, being a working mom, vacations once per year, vacations three times per year….THERE IS NO MOLD FOR US TO FIT INTO!!!
What does your season of waiting or uncertainty look like? Are you waiting for kids? Waiting for a relationship? Waiting for career direction? Waiting for a deep friendship? Waiting for your kids to get past a certain age? Waiting for a huge obstacle or valley to pass?
Today I’d like to encourage you to be purposeful in this season of waiting, my friend. Slow down, stop trying to look so far ahead and be present in the here and now.
I compiled a list of some things I’ve realized that God wants me to learn in this season of waiting, and I’m praying that it’s a blessing to you too! I tried to keep it shorter, but I’d love to encourage you to read over it, pray over it, and maybe see how God is challenging and growing you personally in your own season of waiting.
- Allow yourself to become more rooted. Grow downward. Spend more time with God, grow more deeply into His love, and allow Him to grow you spiritually, in character, and in maturity. When we seek His Kingdom first, He will show us truth and refine our plans. This is SO invaluable, and you will likely look back one day and regret not taking more time for this if you realize how much it could have prepared you for what was next!! You can read more in this post where I share more on spending quality time with God.
- Connect in a meaningful way with others. It’s really tough to be present and connect with others if you’re constantly looking forward at what might be next. So take more opportunities to connect. That might be as small as getting to know your neighbours or spending time with a coworker outside of work, or could be as big as finding a small group to join or starting to open up your home more often to show hospitality. I’ll also add the thought that it can be super valuable to find people in a similar season so you can provide mutual encouragement for one another, OR to receive encouragement and advice from someone who has already gone through a similar season. 🙂
- Serve others to the best of your capacity in this season. Slow down. Be present. Don’t miss the opportunities God has for you right now. If you were asked to join your children’s ministry at Church or you’re feeling called to start serving in a new way, don’t turn it down simply because you’re look ahead and thinking, “welllll, I don’t know what next year will look like so I don’t know if I should commit to that.” Or maybe you’re SO set on your own ‘5 year plan’ that you’re missing ways that God is calling you out of that to serve right here, right now.
- Ask God to reveal His will. Grow in discernment. Even while being in a season of waiting, I believe it’s important to continue to seek the perfect will of God. I think this connects to the first point: become more rooted and established. In Philippians 1 we read: ” my prayer is that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may be able to discern and approve the things that are best and most excellent...” How do we grow in that discernment to be able to approve what God’s best is? That could be its whole own topic (possibly a future blog topic?!)… but as you spend time with God you’ll discover more and more of the rich principles in His Word that show you how to discern His will.
- Learn patience. So I’ll be super honest…patience is one of the biggest ways God is teaching me to grow right now in this season!!! If you ask anyone who’s close to me, they’ll likely also be able to acknowledge that this is an area I could work on 😉 Seasons of waiting teach us how to master this Fruit of the Spirit of patience. Romans 5 says that patience (or perseverance) produces character. In Proverbs we’re told that “a person’s insight gives him patience” and that “patience is better than power.” I think knowing what lies ahead definitely can give me a feeling of power or control- but what’s more honouring to God is when I surrender that desire for control and give HIM the control, choosing to wait on the sidelines patiently until God shows me what’s next.
- Learn how to become the best possible version of YOU for the future God has planned for you. No one knows what your future holds better than God, so who is better to show you how to grow in a way that prepares you? Maybe this next season holds something that requires a lot of patience, or an extra measure of trust. Maybe it’s something that requires much wisdom. Maybe it’s something that requires extra love and grace. Perhaps it’s even something that requires you to have better boundaries or a deeper prayer life. God knows, so let Him take the lead.
- LOVE the life you’ve got right now. I know this might be tough if you’re so badly desiring something different, but God loves when we have grateful hearts. Look at all the blessings and positives in the current season you’re in. I promise you from personal experience that gratitude leads to deeper joy.
I know it’s tempting to take the reigns back into your hands. Truuuuuust me I know. I think back to the time when the Israelites were in the desert, being led to the Promised Land. They constantly doubted God and tried to forge a way for themselves. They would forget about God’s goodness and faithfulness to them up until that point. How sad it is to read what the Psalmist writes in Psalm 106 in regards to the Israelites: “But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.” I sure don’t want anyone ever saying that about my life. So I’d love to end with a challenge to remember God’s faithfulness in your own life. I’d love to also challenge you to patiently allow God to unfold His own plan for your life rather than trying to forge your own path.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Psalm 127:1
I hope you feel encouraged while you’re in this season, whatever it might look like for you! In this spiritual race we have the unique situation of not knowing what the course in front of us looks like. We can see ahead just enough to run safely and wisely, but not enough to predict how to be prepared for each obstacle or challenge. God know exactly what that will look like though, so let Him prepare you and walk alongside you. Don’t try to get ahead of Him!
If you’re in a tough season of waiting and need a friend or someone to share prayer requests with, reach out to someone you trust to be lifting you up in prayer. And if you don’t have someone like that in your life, you’re welcome to reach out to me 🙂 Have a blessed and awesome week!