Today I spent the day in Atlanta with my little sister Abi. She is wonderful. And that is an understatement.
All that time in the car by myself was also wonderful. It's about a three hour drive there, a little less because we met closer to mid-town in the coolest place called Ponce Market. If you're thinking about taking a drive into Atlanta I recommend it. So Very Cool! We enjoyed a delicious lunch together and we browsed the trendy market stalls and I took my first trip to Anthropology! Anyway, what was I saying? Lots of time in the car. Right.
So lots of time in the car is wonderful for me. It's lots of space to continue a train of thought, not something I get a lot of these days, I have at least four new blog posts to write but this one is the most important one, the one I need to say out loud, right away, so you can hold me accountable.
It's about my writing, and it's about waiting and it's about contentment.
Waiting is normal.
Noah waited for rain.
Abraham waited for the fulfillment of God's promise of a son.
Joseph waited in prison for the fulfillment of his dreams.
Moses waited in the desert while he waited to lead his people out of slavery.
David waited on God's timing to become king.
Jesus waited to begin his ministry until he was 33, even though he understood his calling, at least a little bit, when he was only 12.
Paul waited after his conversion before he began his mission work.
Each of theses stories in the Bible have really difficult seasons of waiting.
Some of these stories are an example of waiting well.
Some of these stories are an example of waiting not so well.
Noah worked faithfully while he waited.
Abraham took matters into his own hands to force the prophesy to come true.
Joseph kept practicing his gifts and eventually during that long time learned to forgive so he was ready to be a leader when his time came.
Moses seems to have given up on his calling and was hiding in the desert he basically says "please pick someone else" when God finally calls him up.
David honored his leader, even though he was truly awful, even though God said he'd be next.
Jesus was obedient and submissive to his parents.
Paul waited then exploded onto the scene and had a huge impact.
What about me?
Over the past couple of years I've embraced my identity as a writer and a teacher, but in the middle of that I've been struggling with the waiting. I've been struggling with the "you need to grow your platform" line. Struggling with that a lot actually. Struggling with the "what now?"
This morning I was drying my hair, getting ready to go, listening to the album by Amanda Cook that I've been listening to on repeat for the last year. This song came on
"You are not a tyrant king.
You do not delight in suffering..."
and I broke down.
Here is the heart of the matter - sometimes I feel like God is holding out on me. I know that He says no good thing do I withhold but I see this good thing, and I feel like it's being withheld.
But a good thing for the wrong reasons isn't a good thing.
And a good thing at the wrong time isn't a good thing.
Here is one tiny little piece of understanding I am getting about contentment. Contentment is the belief that God is not holding out on me - He is not withholding anything that would be good for me. When I see something that I think would be good but God is saying no, or not right now, I can rest content that God is not holding out on me. He is not keeping me from something good. He sees the end from the beginning. He knows what is best for me. So I can cease my striving and trust in God's timing. And ignore the lie of the ticking clock that says I'm running out of time. I'm actually running into my time.
Today I got a new vision of waiting. A vision of a vibrant woman - a woman who writes because that is who she is. She publishes on her blog and on community blogs because that is how an online community is formed. She is reaching out and growing a community of support around herself. She is supporting others and they are supporting her. She is thriving. She's not obsessed with numbers or traffic or platform or reach. She is setting boundaries for herself - she needs the time to write, but writing and blogging hasn't taken over her life. Writing is not crowded out or crowding out everything else. She's speaking truth, hope, light, and love and she's honest about hurt and heartache and confusion and mess. She's committed to honoring the image of God within herself and she trusts Him with whatever outcome that means. She's not scrambling (or scrabbling) for attention, but she's not hiding in a corner either.
This is not an image of me. Um, no. I'm over here all worried and stressed out and trying to figure out the next ten steps. I think God is calling me to chill out for a hot minute. Be present. Focus on what needs to be done and learned right now. Trust Him with the future, whatever that might be.