Monday, November 29, 2010

lessons in waiting (this post is brought to you by Black Friday)

Feel free to judge away, but I'm a Black Friday shopper. For the longest time, I didn't know the difference between Good Friday and Black Friday, but it's become a tradition for some of the ladies in my family. We're not super intense, but we do get up pretty early and have vague plan for what stores we're heading for and items we have our eyes out for. It's just a fun time for us. Similar to hunting I presume--both activities have much opposition. I understand the disgust with our society's obsession with consumerism, if that's where you sit--not arguing that, but that's another post for another blog. Anyway...

There were sleeping bags left laying outside of one store, along with trash and obvious remnants that someone had spent a fair amount of time treating the sidewalk as their own personal campsite. My first purchase of the day was a $1.99 DVD from Walmart and I waited about 20 minutes in line to pay for that one measly item. There were news stories about people waiting for days outside on Black Friday.

And after seeing all of this, I have to wonder, is what we're currently waiting for worth the wait?

God knew we'd be this way--wasting all of our patience and anticipation on ridiculousness that won't even be wanted next year. Isn't it scary how easily we fall to that? I know I do anyway. Paul knew the people of Colosse did too.

He said this:
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3)

Your life is now hidden with Christ in God. We're waiting for what is hidden to be revealed and that is the only thing worth waiting for; not earthly things. DVDs, TVs, cars, fame, money, that perfect relationship. Call us blessed when God provides it, most certainly, but it's not worth hanging our hope on, folks. Those are the perks along the journey of the greater wait--the coffee in your hand and the friend by your side. We're waiting for the best deal of all...totally free...the anticipation is to live for.

Jesus--He's the hope that won't ever disappoint. May your mind be set on that while you wait.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

time to count blessings.

Something about have time on your hands. My prayer is that my meantime is spent remembering the goodness of God and gaining trust in the goodness of God for the future. So today, while I'm waiting, I'm using my time to count my blessings.

-I am healthy.
-I have a job, a home, and provisions.
-I have friends who encourage and build me up, who challenge me, and who love me even at my worst.
-I'm thankful for my family and who God has made them to be in my life and my story. I am thankful for how He continues to unfold us.
-I am thankful for growth through pain and hurt.
-I have the unrelenting love of a Savior who needs nothing from me.

It's days like these that it's easy to see what is true: even while I wait, God is more than enough.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I'm an idea girl. I have lots of ideas and dreams. Things I want to do at some point and adventures I want to have when the time comes. This blog is a perfect example. It's taken me months to get this out of the storm clouds of my brain and hitting the ground.

I think this is telling of us. We think of what life will be when we graduate from college, get married, have our first child, have enough money to travel, have more free time...insert your qualifier here. Satan lulls us into idleness as we begin to believe that we are powerless without that thing we do not yet have. This is where I've come from.

Hi. I'm Shelly. I'm a single 20 something with ideas and a lot of things I've been "waiting on" so that my life can officially begin.

This project began this summer when the ministry team I am on decided to be much more intentional about studying God's Word regularly and spending time in Truth. Great, right? Absolutely.
[Side bar: I feel like God giggles like a little girl every time we open His book. With so much to share and take us by surprise, I imagine Him giddy with excitement for what is about to transpire as we flip through the pages. Okay..back to it.]
As I began to dig, I noticed this reoccurring theme: waiting. The word "wait," or some form of it, appears in the Bible 129 times and they began to pop up one after another. I began to wonder what I needed to learn about waiting. Then there was this passage:
Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. (James 5:6-8)

Being a Kansas girl, this hit me. I get the farmer thing. I imagined the farmers I know while they're "waiting" for crops to grow. They are preparing the soil, plowing, planting, weeding, the list goes on and on. There is no finger drumming here. All this work is done, in hope that there will be a good crop. They are diligent and hopeful. Something clicked in my mind. You keep looking and waiting for the next thing to make “life happen.” What are you doing right now in the meantime?

A flurry of Scripture came to mind and I landed on this rebuke Paul gave to the Galatians:
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.”

I did that. I traded in the Gospel of Christ for the gospel of waiting. I quit believing that life to the full is for right here and now. I lost sight of the fact that Christ is the only certain thing I can wait for. Instead, I've hung my hope on the dream of a relationship, an adventure, or to be discovered with music--as if one of those things would surely be the key to full living, full happiness, and actualizing big ideas. I roll my eyes at myself and wonder how long I've believed this "different gospel." I have life to the full today in CHRIST…even without a husband, a glamorous career, a new home, or a schnazzy car.

Yes, waiting is important. I still wait for those things. But living…living is important, too. Letting our hope hang on the only hope that doesn't disappoint and living in the meantime.

So that's me and this is my big meantime idea unfolding. My hope for this is that you can see what I'm learning in my meantime story and jump into your own. Just an idea...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

laundry and the passenger's seat...

I’m a finger drummer. What do you do in the meantime? When I’m sitting near a table or have my hand on an armrest, you can bet my fingers will be drumming. When I know there's nothing to do but wait, I get antsy. I'm not progressing or moving forward. I'm simply being and waiting. Waiting feels so sedentary to me. I've stopped making progress and have to take a time out.

Waiting. It's for the birds. I mean, come on, let's take laundry. How can something so simple be so grueling? I have wondered why I hate this process so very much and I recently came to the following conclusion. It's because I'm waiting. There's nothing I can do to speed up the process. The machine is doing its job. The work is out of my control. No amount of effort or progress of mine is going to make the machine work faster. I just have to wait. I think we can learn a lot about life as Christ followers from this.

It's intriguing to me how many times God talks about waiting in Scripture.

Throughout the Old Testament, the prophets point to this Messiah that will come if we trust and wait for it. One of the most beautiful books about waiting is Habbakuk. In the midst of struggle, Habbakuk calls out to God and asks when rescue will arrive. God responds saying,
For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay (Habakkuk 2:3).

Even in the Epistles, so much of the language is pointing to the returning of Christ. Titus 2 challenges us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We walked out of the garden and into a cosmic waiting game that we've been playing ever since.

Why does God feel the need to address this with us over and over again? Probably because we don't do it naturally. What is it about waiting that we have such a strong aversion to? I've concluded it's something to do with control. That's usually what it comes down to with me for most things. He is in control. We are not. This is a reality that we do not want to accept. I'm not in (complete) control of finding Mr. Right, having financial security, building a family, or having my next big business break. Waiting patiently means we have to take ourselves out of the driver's seat and just enjoy where the ride takes us. It is trusting God in this journey and having some quality dashboard conversation on the ride there. We know the destination will be so good because that's what God has promised to us. It's taking advantage of this opportunity that we have in waiting and living in the meantime--learning who God is, enjoying life He's given us, and trusting Him to provide.

Put some laundry in the washer, grab a cup of coffee, and have a seat. I can already tell we're going to have some great conversation living here in the meantime...