It felt like somewhat of a standoff as my mother and I stood facing each other at my back door in a heated exchange. I had gone on the offensive, defending my actions as she confronted me about an attitude that she rightly perceived had become toxic in my life - and truthfully, even I was taken back by the words that were spewing out of me. I hadn't realised until that moment the depth of what had been hiding in my heart.
There was a position that I desperately wanted which I believed I was being unfairly held back from. I felt overlooked and like my contributions to the team were being taken for granted. My desires and intentions were good, but at that particular time, rather than fuelling an expectation for the future, they had ignited within me a deep sense of dissatisfaction and frustration.
I thought it should be my turn
I was afraid of missing out
I felt constrained and powerless to do anything about it
My inner dialogue in that season was telling me that it was NEVER going to happen for me if it didn't happen NOW. So I fell into striving; trying to prove my own worth as I grasped for what I felt I should have and be.
Often, more than we tell lies, we believe them. And these lies that I was accepting were doing me much harm.
In Psalm 37:7-8, David offers us this wisdom:
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him... Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret - it leads only to evil.
David warns us not to open the door to anger while we wait because it will lead only to evil. In addition to the word for evil meaning just that - to do bad or evil - it also means to hurt or injure; to break. When we wait with frustration, with anger and anxiety in our hearts, we can hurt not only ourselves, but also those around us.
That season of my life was marked by MUCH fretting and I can testify to the truth of David's words - it leads only to evil.
I did evil to myself - I robbed myself of peace; of being able to enjoy the season I was in and I placed a huge burden on myself to achieve and perform in ways that God was not asking me to.
I did evil to others - injuring them with my words as I lashed out in frustration and at times fed their own sense of dissatisfaction.
Fretting turned what God had intended to be a blessing in my life and made it a burden.
After my mum left that day, I went before God and I laid it all down. I surrendered my dream and the timetable that went with it. I asked His forgiveness for my wrong attitude and when I had settled the issue in my heart, I picked up the phone to apologise for how I had spoken to my mother and to thank her for her loving correction. There was an instant shift in my spirit as I laid down my striving and rested in who God was; as I chose to trust in His timing.
Eighteen months later, I was given the position that I had so desperately longed for. And as I stepped into it, as I began to feel the weight of responsibility that came with it, I realised something - I would not have been ready for the position when I thought I was. What was now a blessing to me and to those around me, could have broken me in another season. God had been right to hold me back from promotion (funny that!).
In Psalm 37, David encourages us with this promise:
Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life, and He will provide for you what you desire most.
That chapter of my life taught me a lesson that I will never forget; truth that I have carried with me through other seasons of waiting and delay. God's timing is always the right timing and we don't need to force that timing, We can rest in His wisdom, enjoying Him and savouring the journey that He has us on.
God doesn't place dreams and desires in our hearts to frustrate us, but to bless us. His invitation as we wait for the proper timing for those desires to be realised, is to be still in His presence - to wait with Him; valuing the dream-giver more than the dream itself. When we accept this invitation, not only does He give us the desires of our heart, those desires become a source of delight to us.
What is He asking you to trust Him with in this season?
Live today with purpose,
I ran headlong into a wall when I was a toddler, and the wall won! If ever the saying “Hitting a brick wall” applied to my life – it was then…actually, it still is now on occasion.
If you ever get a glimpse of my forehead (it’s purposefully hidden under my fringe), you will see a small sloping line on the right hand side - that’s my ‘wall wound’, the anti-trophy from my strong-willed childhood.
“Slow down, don’t run!” said my mother, moments before it happened, “Be careful! You’ll hit that brick wall!”
I did not listen, I was not careful and I certainly did not slow down. I just wanted to run, not stop. The impact with the unyielding wall giving me a lifelong scar, a temporary bump to my head and a dent to my pride.
Did I learn anything from it though? There are times when I think not.
You see, I barely, if ever, think about that scar anymore – yet in a photograph this week with my fringe windswept to one side; there it was and I recalled it again as if for the very first time.
A friend had coincidentally (it wasn’t of course) had a picture of me last year. She saw me running full steam ahead into a wall wondering why it didn’t just fall down and let me pass. She then saw me backing up and trying the same wall yet again, still not figuring out why the wall didn’t fall over.
This wasn’t a credit to my perseverance, or a pat on the back, this was – ‘why do I keep trying the same thing over and over when it yields the same results?’ We all know that saying I’m sure: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.
There are times when I do not take no for an answer. Instead I try again, and again, finding it hard to give up. Rather than concede defeat I just dig in and go harder. Bill Hybels says:
“If the request is wrong, God says, no. If the timing is wrong, God says, slow. If you are wrong, God says grow. But if the request is right, the timing is right and you are right, God says “Go!”
Sometimes God says no to our petitions, prayers and personal longings. We don’t always understand why, we don’t like it, we grieve, we rail and sometimes take matters into our own hands. Doesn’t work does it? Remember? Scar, bump to head, dented pride – undented, unharmed, unyielding wall and barrier still standing.
As I look at that scar now, God starts to speak gently to my heart addressing the way I run head long at walls and obstacles I’m not mean’t to be running into at all.
My loving Daddy God says to me “Karen – that scar on your forehead….remember why you have it? You ran heedlessly into a wall, you did not slow down and you did not listen” he continues “That scar is to be a reminder to you of what I am showing you – when I say no, it is not to hurt you or harm you, but because I have better plans for you, I have paths set out before you”
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”.
Paths not walls! Which imply direction, progress, and a way forwards, not the insurmountable obstacles I keep running into.
I was recently given a prophetic word on the subject of paths.
“God has heard your petition, the matter that you keep bringing before him, he wants you to know that you are on the path that he has set out for you, in the direction he is leading you into”
Boom! Cannot get much clearer than that. The message is - stop running at walls, instead follow the path, in fact its plural – paths - that God has laid out for me. Run in that direction.
“I RUN in the path of your commands”
Am I willing to trust the process and trust God, when ‘no’ and ‘wait’ are what I hear – even when I do not understand? Are you?
Will I lay down my stubbornness and let go of what I desire and dare to believe Him? Will you?
We need faith to believe that God’s no is for our best, that he has paths set out before us – why? Because he loves us, perfectly loves us and He knows what is far, far better for us than we could ever possibly imagine.
We have some spring bulbs planted in our front garden and honestly, for a significant part of the year, it looks like nothing is there - that it is just empty, barren ground (with the exception of the weeds or course!). But as Spring approaches, new growth begins to appear as shoots pop out of the ground bringing with them their cheerful spring blooms. Because the truth is, that while the bulb has been hidden, it is still active.
Sometimes we can feel like my garden before the new growth breaks through - like the things that we have dug, the things that we have planted are not only hidden, they are inactive and barren. But I believe that God wants to remind us that what we have planted is not lost - His Spirit is at work and we need to have a fresh expectation that what we have laboured with Him for, will be revealed.
Earlier on this year, I shared a post about how God had taken me back to some places of disappointment and given me fresh eyes to see them as He did. At the time He had led me to this verse in Genesis 26:
He [Isaac] reopened the wells his father had dug, which the Philistines had filled in after Abraham’s death. Isaac also restored the names Abraham had given them.
As I have continued to ponder this verse, I want to share with you three key truths that God has encouraged me with.
The first is this - don't despise the digging.
To make a well, Abraham would have had to have dug at least 8 feet deep, and from the plural wells in our verse, we know that he dug more than one! He had none of our modern tools, so it would have been hard labour for him and his servants. But without his willingness to use his time, his resources and his servants to dig, there would have been no water.
Isaac not only uncovered the wells that his father had established, but Genesis 26 tells us that he also had to dig some new wells. At some point in time, God calls us all to dig. Like Abraham and Isaac, we must be prepared to lay down time; to give; to serve; to pray - to dig in whatever manner God has called us to, so that His purposes, His living water can flow both in us and through us to those who need it.
What and where is God asking you to dig in this season? Don’t despise it - though it might feel hard and tiring and dirty; though it might feel unimportant and overlooked. Your digging, your perseverance matters.
Every time the herdsman of Gerar came and took one of Isaacs wells he just dug a new one, until he finally dug in a place that no one quarrelled with him over. Genesis tells us that he named that well Rehoboth saying:
Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.
Don't give up in the seasons and places where God is asking you to dig - keep going until you hit water; keep persevering so that you and those around you can flourish.
And don’t despair when the enemy tries to cover over what you’ve dug.
Like his father, the blessing of God was upon Isaac's life - so much so that Genesis 26 tells us that the Philistines envied him. They were threatened by the evidence of God at work in his life, so they stopped up the wells his father had dug. Water was both a necessary and precious commodity, and they wanted to rob him of it - to take away what his father had laboured to establish and provide. As we've seen, Isaac too faced opposition as he reopened and dug new wells, and likewise the enemy will try to rob us by trying to fill in or cover over what we’ve dug to establish. But that doesn’t mean it’s lost. Just like Abraham's wells were still there for Isaac to uncover; just like those spring bulbs in my garden are active when they are unseen, God's Spirit is at work, hovering over what we have dug, what we have planted and He delights to reveal it at the proper time.
Which is why we must expect disappointment to give way to delight.
It encourages me so much that when Isaac reopened his father's wells, that he also remembered and restored the names that Abraham had given them. God restores specifically - it is not always instant, or even in our own generation, because God has all of eternity to work within - but we can be confident that He has and continues to prepare things for us.
God knows all the details of the things in your life that have been shut down by disappointment; covered in and dug over - so expect Him to pay attention to those details as He reopens the wells and brings healing. What you've planted will be realised.
Live today with purpose,
When we talked about having another baby, there is one thing that I had blocked from my mind, and that's the washing they create! I had prepared myself for being tired (perhaps not quite enough as Lucas still hasn't got the memo that nights are for sleeping for extended periods of time), but I had totally forgotten how much washing one little person could add to our already overflowing laundry basket. With our busy household of 6, much of my days are spent making sure everyone has clean clothes and food to eat - like the song that never ends, my days are full of tasks that never end!
So let's just put it out there that some days, weeks - some seasons can feel very long. Sometimes, it's nothing particularly big or bothersome and you know it's just a season that you will come through (like the sleepless nights - I've been parenting long enough to know that eventually kids do sleep and that one day I will again too). But other times the enemies to our freedom that we've been talking about this month on the blog - the burden of shame as we face our failures, painful disappointments when life and people have let us down, the sense that it's happening for everyone but us - can feel like they're suffocating us and we don't know how, or even if, we will ever see breakthrough.
We went through a chapter (quite a long one I must add) in our life as a family where honestly, I didn't know how much more I could take. It felt at times like nothing was untouched - I was surrounded by disappointments and discouragements. In this time, passages like James 1 became my go-to verses. I just needed to keep on persevering so that I could be made mature, or like Romans 5 says, to develop my character. I got very good at gritting my teeth and just getting on with it. But my heart felt so heavy and I often felt like God had forgotten about me.
During a particularly difficult time, I was given this verse in Colossians 1 from the Message paraphrase:
As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul--not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that He has for us.
I just love how Eugene Peterson has phrased this, not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength that God gives. Doesn't that just sound so good - God's glory strength becoming ours.
Now this type A personality, eldest child knew how to work hard! But I needed to let myself be yoked to Jesus so that it wasn't about gritting my teeth and steeling myself to get through, but about partnering with Him and letting His strength become my strength. You see, I had lost sight of the fact that maturity and character, while incredibly important, were not God's end-goal for me. James tells us that the one who perseveres receives the crown of life, Paul says that the fruit of character is hope, a confident expectation of God's goodness. Freedom, life, hope - these are what God is always wanting to lead us towards.
This revelation changed everything for me; it changed how I read passages like James 1 as I now understood that God was using the difficult things of this world not just to shape and refine me, but so I could experience His life within me. I began to see the valleys I found myself in, the struggles that I was wrestling with as an opportunity to see God at work and to experience His goodness firsthand. It was not the absence of pain or grief but eyes wide-open to see His presence and His goodness right there in the midst of it all.
Understanding the goodness of God and His heart for me has taken me on a journey of revisiting the things that have disappointed me, the places that I have failed, the times that I have felt overlooked and forgotten. In revisiting these hard places He has pulled back the curtain and let me see what He sees. And oh how differently He sees everything, how skilfully He weaves my life and brings healing and freedom.
In Isaiah 45, God promises this:
I will give you treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
I currently find myself in a period of discovering God and the riches that He has for me in the mundane and unseen nature of this present season. But this verse is my testimony - that from the darkest places of my journey God has given me rich treasures; He has shown me time and time again that I am not forgotten, that He knows me and calls me by name.
Don't settle for just gritting your teeth, God wants you to know His glory strength and for you to live aware of His goodness in every season. Whether life currently looks like piles of laundry, or if you're caught up in storms, finding your way through a valley or living with desires fulfilled, He has treasures in it just for you. He knows you - intimately, personally - and He wants you to know Him that way too.
Live today with purpose,
As I write this I am enjoying a rare moment - the house is quiet! Everyone is out and Lucas is sleeping. A quiet, still household is a luxury at this time in my life - I am ever grateful for such a full home and heart, but you'll hear no complaints from me when I get the opportunity to have the place all to myself!
When I launched this new site back in January, I did so with the post 'In Search of Quiet', sharing with you the longing of my heart for a quiet soul. A soul that was at rest, at peace no matter how much 'noise' was happening around me. Over the past few months, as I have meditated on my key passage for the year - Isaiah 30 - and journeyed through various experiences, God has enabled me to understand the power of choosing to be quiet before Him.
In Isaiah 30, the Israelites faced a very real threat - the Assyrian army. In their fear and panic to save themselves, they had reached out to Egypt and formed an alliance with her, hoping that she would be strong enough to protect them from the Assyrians. But the problem with this, is that is wasn't God's strategy - it wasn't His solution to the issues that they were encountering.
God's strategy was this:
...In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength...
As you study the original language in its context, God was literally saying - you don’t need to race ahead and fight your own battle – in fact you need to withdraw from the fight. You need to come back and position yourself with Me. You need to slow down and wait on me; you need to stop talking to everyone about this problem and be at rest in this situation because you can have absolute confidence in who I am. And as you do this I'm going to give you MY strength, I'm going to let you see my mighty deeds and ultimately I'm going to bring you to a place of salvation, of victory. What a promise!
Sadly verse 15 ends with this statement - but you would have none of it. Ponder those words for a moment - you would have none of it. How often do we encounter obstacles, threats, mountains and just like the Israelites, allow fear, anxiety, what we perceive as time-pressures and constraints to dictate our response. We rush ahead and make our own plans - and then pin all of our hopes on these plans and on other people. Sometimes if we’re really honest – we’ve not only not asked God what He thinks, we’ve actually deliberately chosen to ignore His promptings. So we’ve pressed ahead, usually with the well-meaning intention of being responsible and self-sufficient but not leaving much room for God to do His thing in our lives!
Part of learning to be quiet before God is learning to slow down. Consciously pushing aside our fears, the timetable and schedules that seem to demand an instant decision and choosing instead to seek the Father.
Our year began with a multitude of changes as well as some significant uncertainties. Many of the decisions that we needed to make hinged on other people making decisions first, and so we found ourselves at a crossroads - did we wait to see how those decisions would play out, or did we just get on with it and make our choices? Waiting meant we faced a significant short-fall in our family budget and so getting on with it, racing ahead seemed like the logical and responsible thing to do. But it didn't sit right with us. We could sense God whispering that this was not our battle to fight, that we were to follow His strategy - we were to slow down and wait quietly, wait with a posture of trust and confidence.
As we waited, we experienced what God promises in Isaiah 30:21:
Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, "This is the way you should go," whether to the right or to the left.
Slowing down to seek Him enabled us to hear Him; hearing Him allowed us to see Him. That's the power of being quiet!
Over the last few months His strength has become our strength - we have seen His mighty deeds firsthand and experienced Him bringing 'salvation', breakthrough into the situations that we faced. His instructions throughout this time have not been how we would have gone about things, and just like the Israelites, we could have had none of it; we could have so easily missed out on the power of quiet if we'd allowed our fear to cause us to race ahead of God.
Where do you need to slow down today? What situation are you facing that is causing you to race ahead? Where do you feel like the battle is dependent on you and your limited resources? Don't be like the Israelites - embrace God's strategy of quiet so that you too can hear Him and see Him at work in your own life.
Live today with purpose
It's been an eventful week in the Walker household with our youngest member learning to crawl - he's only 6 months so my pride in this early accomplishment is somewhat tempered by the knowledge of how much busier life is about to become! I have had to become the floor police - educating the girls on what can no longer be left lying around, and surveying each room with fresh eyes as I assess the potential hazards for Lucas. Despite my best efforts there have still been a few bumps and bruises, and moments of getting stuck because furniture towers over him and he doesn't realise there's a way around it! He's living life at ground level, unlike the rest of us who have the advantage of an elevated position.
This new milestone in his life has reminded me that we can also have a tendency to only see our lives from ground level - to get caught up in what our physical senses can see, touch, hear and smell. But we fail to see things from God's perspective and forget that what we experience on the 'ground' is directly affected by what is happening in the spiritual realm - in the Heavenlies.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul talks a lot about the 'Heavenly Realms' telling us that they are:
The place of blessing for us (1:3)
The place where Christ is seated in supreme authority (1:20)
The place where we are seated with Christ (2:6)
The place where the Church is called to reveal the wisdom of God (3:10)
Some pretty amazing truths when you stop to ponder them! But if we fail to live with an awareness of this realm, we won't draw on the fullness of our inheritance or authority in Christ to navigate what happens at ground level - because Paul tells us that the Heavenly realms are also the place where the real battle rages (6:12).
Over the past few weeks I've been sharing with you the message that God has been revealing to me in this season - that Jesus is my Word of Life, that He is God's 'yes' to all that is promised in His Word. I've also shared the importance of learning to trust His timing for that 'yes' to become our reality. But here's the other side to all of that - while there shouldn't be a striving to our waiting, neither should there be a complacency, We cannot afford to be que sera, sera about what God has promised us because yes, Jesus has come to give us abundant life, but there is an enemy whose mission is to do his very best to steal that life from us.
In Daniel 10, Daniel had been given a revelation of events that were yet to come - events that troubled him and so he set himself aside to mourn, to fast and to seek understanding for a period of 21 days. At the end of that period he has another vision and is told this:
Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian Kingdom resisted me twenty-one days...
Think about this for a moment - there was an answer that God wanted to release to Daniel, but there was opposition in the spiritual realms to prevent that answer from coming through at 'ground level' so-to-speak. Imagine if Daniel had not committed himself to that season of prayer, of seeking God for answers and breakthrough - imagine if he had allowed complacency to rob him of his answers! He would have missed Heaven's perspective and insights into what was happening in his world, but he also would have been robbed of the life that God wanted to release to him personally.
Because when that messenger finally got through - and many believe that this was a vision of Jesus Himself - this is what happened:
Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. "Do not be afraid, O man highly esteemed," he said. "Peace! Be strong now; be strong."
Daniel was lifted above what he was experiencing at ground level and empowered with peace and strength. God gave him the resources that he needed to keep contending where the real battle was - in the Heavenly realms.
Just like Daniel, we can get discouraged waiting; overwhelmed by the gravity of the situations that we and the people we love face. God wants to release His answers and solutions so that we experience His life flowing within us. He wants to speak His peace and strength over us! That's why Paul urges us in Ephesians 6 to suit up and prayerfully contend, so that the victory that has already been won can become manifest in us and around us. But if we keep choosing to see everything from ground level, our surroundings will tower above us, and things that when seen from God's perspective are possible, will seem insurmountable with our limited perspective.
Let's not let life on the ground make us complacent or distracted - let's set our hearts just like Daniel did to understand from God's perspective. Let's live aware of our elevated position in Christ and draw on God's strength and resources so that we can stand our ground and see answers break through!
Live today with purpose,
There are a couple of main roads near us where you know from the moment you hit your first red light that it's going to be slow progress - because if you hit one red, you'll hit them all! Every time you start to pick up speed you have to slow down, brake and then wait - and depending on the time of day, the queue of commuters coming from other directions can mean that even when the lights turn green, you still can't move! Life can feel like this sometimes, can't it? We just begin to gain momentum and then 'stuff' happens, we hit some red lights and at times it can feel like people in our world are holding us back from fulfilling our God-given destiny.
Last week I blogged about Jesus as the Word of Life - that means He comes as the fulfillment and physical embodiment of everything God has promised; He is our yes! But here's the thing I've learnt along the way, while sitting at plenty of red lights of my own - there is a 'proper time' for that yes to become our reality. God's Word is both His creative power - His ability to bring that yes in to being - and His purposes - that means His wisdom and timing to release that yes into our lives. So how do we navigate the stretches of road when we have no doubt that He is able, but we're just not sure how much longer we can take sitting at the lights, waiting to get moving?
Firstly, understand God has a plan and that plan often has a timetable. Throughout Scripture there are references to the 'proper time', the 'appointed time', the 'fullness of time' or the 'set time'. What these phrases tell me is that God not only has a plan, but that that plan has a timetable. You see, we often think about where we're going only in terms of how it affects us, but God's plans are Kingdom plans. He is not just outworking His plans for me, but for you and countless others - and He's weaving all our individual stories together to accomplish His plans for this point in History.
Sometimes we are delayed because of what God needs to do in us, other times it may be related to what He is doing elsewhere. We are part of a VERY big picture, one that for now we only see in part - so don't try and run the red light! God sees the complete picture and we can trust in His wisdom to get us moving at just the right time; the 'proper time'.
Secondly - write it down. In Habakkuk 2, God instructed the prophet saying:
"Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. 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."
There it is again - the appointed time!
Writing it down is important because if you're anything like me, we have a tendency to forget! The more red lights that we sit at, the more what God has promised can fade into obscurity and we can think that perhaps we misheard or just imagined it. But for His Word to produce life in us, we must be unwavering in our willingness to hear, to see and keep holding on to what He has promised.
That's where writing it down helps. I have key Scriptures and prophetic words that I have recorded in my journals and periodically - especially when I feel discouraged or anxious - I return to those verses and words and I declare them. This not only stirs faith in my spirit, but it gives me renewed clarity about what I am contending for and partnering with God to see come about.
I encourage you - record your prayers, key Scriptures and words that God has spoken into your life so that you can read them and be spurred on to keep running towards what God has for you.
And finally wait with hope. In Micah 7:7 we read this:
But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Saviour; my God will hear me.
I don't know about you but I can get impatient sitting at the lights for too long. In fact I could think of a number of words like frustrated, uptight, hot, tired, agitated and depending on how much of a hurry I'm in - stressed and anxious. None of this is how God wants us to wait! He wants us to wait and watch with hope - with eyes that are wide open confidently expecting to see His goodness in our lives.
Hope is not something that we conjure up - it is not wishful thinking. It is an attribute of God Himself and a gift of His Spirit. It is released as we keep close to Him and keep trusting ourselves and our circumstances to Him.
Wait with hope because you know the wisdom of His plans and His timing; wait with hope because you know the certainty of what He has promised; wait with hope because you know the truth of who He is - a Saviour who hears and who answers.
And know this - when the lights do change, it will be at just the 'proper time!'
Live today with purpose
As I write this the Summer holidays are [finally] drawing to a close. Now don't get me wrong, I love the extra time with my kids, the older they get the more I appreciate the chance to go slow with them. But I have one big problem with the looong Summer break, and that's this - the quest for quiet in the school holidays results in far too many nights of what I term 'adult rebellion.' By this I mean I stay up MUCH later than I should in a desperate attempt to enjoy a few moments of quiet and personal space. More often than not I regret this lapse in judgment the next day, but by the time the last one falls asleep I find myself doing it again! I have to wonder if it was a mum in desperate search of quiet that came up with our saying 'silence is golden!'
Quiet has been defined as the absence of noise and bustle; silence or calm. More than I long for the quiet at the end of the day, I long for a quiet soul. I want to be at rest, experiencing peace - His peace - no matter what noise might be happening around me.
I don't know how your 2016 has begun - perhaps you have come in to this new year with it all mapped out, your i's dotted and your t's crossed so-to-speak. Or maybe, just maybe, like me you have started the year with uncertainties and blank spaces that you are waiting for God to come and fill. In this season of my life, God has been teaching me afresh the importance of how I wait - reminding me to keep a posture of trust at all times.
We often associate great faith with the ability to do great things - with taking risks and 'stepping out' - but great faith also exists in places of quiet, in the ability to be still and wait. Sometimes the true extent of our faith, of our trust in God is evidenced by our capacity to cease and be silent long enough to hear what God is saying; to be still long enough to let Him show us His goodness and His power.
In Isaiah 30, God spoke to the Israelites at a point in time when they had been busy making their own plans. They were looking for strength outside of Him and they had chosen to partner with Egypt in the hope that her military strength would save them from all their troubles. And God says to them:
We all have our Egypt - the things that vye for our attention; the scenarios and plans that we put our hope in. But God wants to be our source of salvation, our place of strength, the One who brings rest to our souls. And these verses tell me that if I want this to be my reality that I need to stop racing ahead and turn myself around to come back and keep in step with Him; that I need to be quiet (that's not easy for this words girl!) and wait with a posture of confident expectation and trust. Unfortunately, I can tend to be like the Israelites running off on swift horses' and doing things on my own terms - or at least my mind does anyway! My mind races ahead and before I know it I have lost my quiet soul, exchanging it for worry and anxiety as I try and figure things out within my limitations.
Quietness and trust in my experience requires a continual choice to withdraw from this worry and anxiety; to deliberately and consciously retreat from fighting my own battles. It can be a daily, if not moment by moment choice to surrender and be still.
But I have discovered that I can wait quietly when I know the One I wait with.
We can wait quietly when we know God's heart is one of grace, of compassion, of justice.
We can wait quietly when we know that He not only hears but answers.
We can wait quietly when hearing Him, hearing His voice has become our priority.
Most of us are waiting for something and God wants us to know that that waiting doesn't need to be filled with worry or striving. No it can be filled with quiet, with confident hope and rest because of who He is.
Even after the Israelites had run off on their swift horses His heart was still for them. And even when we've raced on ahead of Him, his heart is still for us.
Therefore the Lord waits [expectantly] and longs to be gracious to you. And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed (happy, fortunate) are all those who wait for Him [since He will never fail them].
The heart of God is excited, expectant for the opportunity to show us His goodness! He will not fail us - so whatever it is that you are waiting on as this new year unfolds, I pray that you will join me in adopting a posture of quietness and confidence so that His strength can become our strength.
Live today with purpose,
One of my favourite pass-times as a kid was writing. I used to make my own books and write poetry on our old type-writer. Thankfully both my writing and technology have come a long way!
It is my prayer that these posts from both myself and guest contributors encourage you to embrace the season that you are in and to live it with purpose for God's glory.
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