Friday, May 1, 2009

Authentic Waiting

Last Sunday, a friend sent me a very long excerpt from a book called Finding My Way Home by Henri Nouwen. It was from a chapter called "The Path of Waiting" (pp. 96-119)

I will reference the part that moved me the day I read it and has since moved me daily.

"Waiting with a sense of purpose... Those who were waiting had each received a promise that gave them courage and allowed them to wait. They received something that was a work in them, a seed that had started to grow. 

Their waiting is active... those who are waiting (in Scripture) are waiting very actively. They know that what they are waiting for is growing from the ground on which they are standing. Right here is a secret for us about waiting. If we wait in the conviction that a seed has been planted and that something has already begun, it changes the way we wait.

The word 'patient' implies the willingness to stay where you are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.

To wait with openness and trust is an enormously radical attitude toward life. It is choosing to hope, that something is happening for us that is far beyond our own imaginings. It is giving up control over our future, letting God define our life."

That is where I stand today. Authentically waiting for that "something" that has already begun. It is interesting. I am waiting both personally and professionally - which is EXTREMELY difficult for Type-A me. 

Type-A personalities typically jump in to "fix" it. 9 times out of 10 we don't look to others - as we are extremely independent creatures who thrive when given a challenge without much instruction. And I am no exception. Anyone who has spoken to me for more than a minute knows that I am a woman with a plan.

However - I am certain that the current life season I walking through is about waiting and perseverance (see my blog from earlier this week).

I assert today that waiting is not for the weak. The active and experiential waiting that Henri Nouwen writes about above is only for the strong at heart and in mind. It take tremendous self-discipline and a keen ear to discern what your true instinct is saying. 
Additionally, you must be spiritually attuned to your true desires and know what you are willing to do to achieve the desired outcome. 

You must also be willing to accept that the Maker of Universe is not obligated to deliver the desired outcome.

Last summer, I read  (and am sort of re-reading now) A New Kind Of Normal by Carol Kent that clearly speaks to options we must choose in this process of waiting when the outcome we want isn't clearly seen.

I want to encourage all who are "waiting" today. 

First, I want to salute you for your courage and faith. 

Secondly - I want to tell you that waiting is one of the best character building activities in existence. If you can endure a waiting season in life, you are in an elite crowd, friend.

Finally, I want to ask that you look for what activity may be required of you during this time. It could be anything.

For me, it has been about quality time with myself and my Maker. It's been about being vulnerable and leading from that place of vulnerability. It's been about a lot of tears and heartache and what JOY sorrow can truly bring to one who is willing to "go there."  It's been about slowing down and making time for all things important to me and those around me. It's been about butterfly kisses with Evan and deep talks with Emma and Isael. It's been about shutting up when all I want to do is talk. It's been about taking the high road - often by my lonesome. It's been about leaning on Kathy D.  and receiving prayers and encouragement from Lucy O. - my friend I've never met in person but obeyed her Maker and reached out to crying soul.

I could probably keep going on and on because I have learned so much over the last eight months or so.  Make sure you don't miss a thing in your journey.

Who knows how long my waiting season will last or what the outcome will be - I rest on the following two verses.

Where God's love is, there is no fear, because God's perfect love drives out fear - 1 John 4:18 - New Century Version

I'm absolutely convinced that nothing - nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable - absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. - Romans 8:38-39 - The Message 

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