What Are You Waiting For?

It was the kind of day when had my "to do" list been an actual foe to be fought against with sword and shield, it would have been a blood bath.  I had slain all my dragons both big and small and was feeling pretty good about it.  Drawing my sword for one last little fire-breather on the day's list, I was happy to be nearly done with everything I'd set out to accomplish that day and to be on my way home.  One final turn into the post office and victory would be mine.  The work week would be over.

As I sat at the stop sign, I got a bit irritated.  Perhaps the world didn't know what a hurry I was in.  My mom and sister were waiting on me for an evening out and did I mention, it was the end of the work week.  I had a weekend to begin!  There I sat at a familiar, well-frequented stop sign getting more and more frustrated with the fact that it hadn't yet changed and let me go on with my weekend.

And then I realized, stop signs don't change.  Stop lights do.

I was waiting on nothing... unlike the car behind me who was waiting on me.  Yes, I had been sitting at a stop sign waiting for it to change.

I felt so stupid and embarrassed.  (Though clearly not so embarrassed that I'd never want anyone to find out about it, as I sent it out on Twitter as soon as I got to my next stop.)  Just stupid enough to make me chide myself using my first and middle name like mom would do growing up when I had found her last nerve.  I had, in fact, found my own last nerve with that one and deserved the middle name because this was not the first time I'd done this.

Actually, I'd never before sat at a stop sign and waited for it to change.  But I have waited for a sign that was never going to come, waited for a permission I never needed, waited for an approval that never came.  I've been stuck at more than a few crossroads in my life waiting for no reason at all.  You know what I mean - it was when I'd said things like,

"I'd be happy if someone loved me."
"I'd serve the Lord if He'd just tell me what He wants me to do."
"I'd feel validated if I were appreciated."
"I'd forgive them if they'd ask for forgiveness."

Photo by Ross Montgomery - Used by Permission 
Sitting there... waiting... waiting on things that won't change to give me permission to move on.  Waiting on things that didn't need to change in order for me to change.  Waiting on the audible when I already knew the signal.  Waiting for a sign when I had an opportunity. Waiting for someone else to initiate what I had a responsibility to do with or without them.

Here's what I think I've learned from all those stop signs and their correlated wasted time - nothing ever really had to change.  Nothing ever had to be anything other than what it was, nothing had to move profoundly, no one had to do anything not in their heart and mind to do in order for me to go on and leave that place or that mindset.  Nothing had to change - except me.

No one had to love me for me to be happy.
God didn't have to part the heavens and tell me what to do - He'd already given me whole Book I was ignoring full of instructions and how-to's.
My validation was never dependent on someone's opinion of me.
I didn't need to wait for endless days before I could run in the direction God had already laid out for me.
And my responsibility to live right before God never ever needed someone else to "go first".

A seminary professor once said, "If all you really want to do is please God, every decision you make will be the right decision."  If your heart is truly set on knowing God and on making His name great on the earth, if at your core you want to please Him by living by faith rather than sight, do whatever He puts in your heart to do.  You don't need a sign.  You don't need anything to change - He's already changed your heart.

And... can I say this without getting into trouble?

We have to let go of the cultural mindset of the Western Church that if it doesn't go well, it wasn't God's will.  Show me a servant of God who wanted nothing more than to share the love of Jesus and the power of His resurrection who had a trouble-free, obstacle-free, criticism-less, persecution-less experience.  Please.  Serving God is not all butterflies and rainbow and parking spaces close to the door.  It's hard.  But not without reward.

In the middle years of ministry for me, I heard Joyce Meyer say one of the most freeing statements in my journey with God - "As long as I am serving God, the devil isn't going to stop messing with me; so I had to learn to serve God joyfully while the devil messed with me or I'd never get anything done."  Expect resistance and set backs and problems and frustration, but never quit and certainly never assume it's a sign that you're not doing what God wants you to do.  Another wise preacher once told me, "If God's in it, nothing can stop it; but if God's in it, everything will try to stop it."  Do it anyway.

Run in the direction of your ambitions for God.  Set your affections on Him, find your delight in Him and live with a the confidence that the desires you find in your heart are the very ones He put there.  No more waiting at stop signs hoping things will change that never need to change.  No more sitting on go for some affirmation from man we already have from God.

GO!  Do it.  Run after God and serve Him without hesitation, and do whatever He puts in your path to do.  You don't need a Voice, an approval, or an obstacle-free journey ahead.  Just stop waiting for a stop sign to change into a green light, and GO!

Comments

Post a Comment