Last week at church, I felt God prompting me to respond to him. The sermon was about being confronted by God to make a change or take an action. I raised my hand, telling God and those around me, yes I need to make a change or take an action. But I had no idea what that change or action might be. I’ve known for a while I need to make a change but I’ve been at a loss trying to figure out what it is. I’ve tried a few things but I feel like I have hit a wall at moving forward in life. During the sermon I realized God wants me to stop pursing my passions, more than I’m pursing him. Say what? It opened my eyes.
I’ve been pursing writing, drawing, ministry, college group, focusing my mind on those things and forgetting why I’m doing them. My pastor preached, “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and everything you need will be added to you.” I let the words tumble around in my head like clothes in a dryer. But God, I am seeking your kingdom, I prayed in my head. And God responded, Are you seeking me and the kingdom or are you seeking writing, art, and ministry? Those are fruits of seeking me not the objects to be sought. Seek my kingdom first. Ouch. Sometimes when trying to “find your calling,” it becomes about the calling and God himself becomes an afterthought.
At the end of the sermon, while raising my hand and closing my eyes, I prayed, “ Yes God you are confronting me to make a change. What do you want me to do? I’ve known I need to make a change but WHAT change???” The words “Actively Wait” pop up in my head. Sometimes God calls us to go, to stay, or to wait. Obeying God might be different for every person, because everyone is in a different place of growth and calling. At some point in our lives we will be going, staying, or waiting.
What is actively waiting? Well sometimes when we wait in that long line at Walmart, we play Candycrush on our phones to pass the time and create a buffer between us and the crazy people at walmart. This is NOT actively waiting. This is passing the time and numbing us to our environment. Actively and intentionally waiting in line would mean to put down the cell phone and look at the people around us, realizing this could be an opportunity to love someone. Or It could be a time to do something productive like think through what you might do when you get home. This would be actively waiting. I’m not trying to “Jesus Juke” your Candycrush time at the grocery store. Nothing is wrong with playing on your phone at Walmart, so if you feel guilty for that, maybe that’s something you should take up with God. I’m just giving you an example as to what it looks like to wait actively. When we are waiting for something coming in the future, we can be looking for opportunities to love those who surround us, and be working productively in the present, for the kingdom of God.
Sometimes when God asks us to wait, we respond, saying, God you want me to wait?? Oh sweet! I get to wait! I’ll just sit here by the pool with my Mai Tai till God gets back to me!… I’m waiting for God so today I’m just going to have a Friends marathon and if God interrupts with my next mission then cool. I have a feeling this is not the kind of waiting God has in mind for any of us. When I get confused about what direction to go in, I like to bury my mind in a TV show or good book. I don’t want to think about the daunting decisions I have to make or important changes that need to take place. It’s easy for us to become lazy when we feel like it is a waiting period, and this is a dangerous place to be.
I realize I might have been lazily waiting for God to interrupt my Netflix marathon and announce my next job or adventure. So in this moment of self reflection at church, I get it. Ok God, I need to wait for direction but while still doing what I can to pursue HIM. What does this look like? I know what it looks like for me, and it might take some more discipline and hard work to do the things I need to do while waiting for direction from God. I believe actively waiting means to spend your time look for opportunities to practice your gifts, apply for jobs, and pursue God in prayer. It’s so easy to numb the mind when you feel lost or confused. God wants us aware and intentionally seeking him in all we do; Even in the waiting.
If you feel lost, at a crossroads, or waiting for God to come down and point which way to go, remember to spend your time actively waiting. When we look back on life, we won’t reminisce and say, “Man that month of watching Full House reruns really changed my life.” Yes it’s nice once in a while. It is important to rest. But during the waiting let’s focus on seeking the kingdom, so we can look back and say, “ Wow, when I spent that time actively waiting for God, my life really changed because I sought after God and he moved me into my calling and provided for me.” God is faithful so let’s trust him in the waiting.