Snow days, government shutdown, the flu… It’s been a season of discomfort, and forced stillness. If you weren’t slowing down, taking stock, taking time to reflect, life gave several opportunities to do so during this long winter season. Things may not have been going how I would’ve planned, but it got me to thinking about what IS. Being still got me to thinking about the areas of my life that seem – shutdown, snowed-in, and in need of healing.
I remember talking to a close-friend recently about feeling stuck and being excited about it. On road trips as kids, most of us have said, “Are we there yet?” We’re usually excited about our destination, but uncomfortable in the cramped car during the journey. We just want the journey to be over as quickly as possible. Our parents try to have well-planned distractions – games, snacks, toys, well-timed pit stops – to occupy our time. However, what if we instead were taught to look forward to, embrace and enjoy the journey just as much as arriving to our destination?
In this society we see the results, rewards, accolades and awards – the pay off – more than we see the work, sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears. So it’s easy to become anxious, envious and impatient when longing for the day we reach our goals or achieve our dreams. It’s easy to start asking – why not me? Where’s mine? When’s my turn? We’re grown-ups now right? I should be placing more value on my journey now. So instead of seeking distractions – TV, movies, games, etc., during my times of forced stillness, I chose to use this time for some reflection. Is there more to see right where I am?
Take ME For Example.
I’m a single mother. I’ve spent years fighting that label out of guilt and shame. I spent years running away from my current position – a privilege, no less – chasing what I was not. “Where’s my husband?” Being anxious and trying to “fix” being a single parent got me and my daughter into some messy relationships. Being distracted by looking for a “husband,” caused me to miss and neglect some important lessons and moments in my and my daughter’s life. This could be very damaging when dealing with the life of a little one. Hopefully the damage is not permanent.
I’m learning…Through all of the relationships that didn’t work out. “God I really thought he was the one.” The times my daughter acted out, I really wasn’t giving her the focused attention and guidance that she needed. It’s time for me to grow up. Instead of asking, “Are we there yet?” like a child, I’ll ask what do I need to learn right here? What could I miss, mess up, lose by moving forward too fast? It’s time for me to put away childish things. (1 Corinthians 13:11) I need to embrace the blessing and responsibility of motherhood, regardless of what it looks like. I’m now more committed to focusing on being a good and Godly mother. Shifting perspective in this area of my life has brought much joy to me and my daughter.
Don’t dwell on what and where you’re not. Think about “BEING” what and where you are now.
Sometimes God holds us in place or says, “not right now,” because there’s something more right where we are – a lesson, some endurance, some character/faith-building He wants us to get right where we are before moving on. He knows if we move forward too soon we won’t be well-equipped for what’s ahead.
We’ve been praying through the book of Jonah as a church, and Jonah 1:17 stuck out to me. “The Lord sent a big fish to swallow Jonah, and he was in the stomach of the fish for three days and three nights.” I thought about what it must’ve been like in the belly of that fish…nowhere to go, nothing to distract him, and nothing but darkness. All Jonah could do is think. It led to him having a change of heart and calling on God for help. Hopefully when life sits us down and forces us to be still we’ll think God’s thoughts and seek Him, letting Him give us new perspective and see where we are through new eyes. Sometimes in life we’re called to move to do things differently, but other times all it takes is seeing things differently right where we are. So “let God change your life. First of all, let Him give you a new mind.” Romans 12:2 (NLV)
Trust His wisdom in keeping you right where you are. It could be for your protection, preparation, or perfection. He’s still working on you. Paul said, “And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.” Philippians 1:6
Even though you may not understand why what you’re praying, hoping and wishing for isn’t happening when and in the way you thought it would – Trust Him. “Since the Lord is directing our steps, why try to understand everything that happens along the way?” Proverbs 20:24
Enjoy and embrace your journey. Father Knows Best.
*GUEST BLOGGER, Celine Parker.