Thursday, March 23, 2017

Waiting Well Takes Work

You can make many plans, but the LORD's purpose will prevail.” 
Proverbs 19:21 NLT

I am very good at making plans. I have a degree in strategic leadership and am convinced that it is simply the outflowing of my special gifting, particularly when my plans outnumber my hours. I make plans, come up with task lists, prioritize all that I need to do and actually get quite a bit of work done. The problem is not my ability to plan. The problem is my inability to wait upon the purpose of the Lord.
I don’t do patient well. I don’t do waiting well. I don’t do Sabbath well. Am I alone in this?
I believe that many of us struggle in this area, especially because America has become the land of overtime, overwork, over hurry and overstress. We pride ourselves on telling people that we are busy. Why? Well I know I feel important if I am busy. I feel productive and accomplished and valuable. While my heart knows that my value comes through relationship with Christ, my mind continues to believe that my value comes through what I do.

If I am busy doing and planning, it leaves very little space for waiting. It’s one thing to be reminded that we need to wait, but quite another to consider how to wait. And is it even possible to actually wait well?

I don’t know what your definition of “well” might be, but for me, especially in this area, it means that I am doing better with waiting than I was yesterday. I know that waiting well takes work. I might be more of a two-steps-forward-and-one-step-back type of guy (and often it’s more like one step forward and two steps back), but here is what works for me.

  •  I must actively and continuously pursue Christ as the source of my identity and value. I am nothing outside of Him, so no matter how much I might accomplish at the end of the day, it carries little weight if my relationship with Jesus didn’t grow. I do best with this idea when I consider my children. While their grades and accomplishments and sports achievements are fun and are worthy to be applauded, I do not love them more or less based upon these activities. They are my children no matter what they do. Now if only I could remember that God sees me in the same way.
  •  I must listen to and respond to my body. When my alarm clock no longer works, when afternoon fatigue becomes a regular occurrence or when I find myself distracted due to being tired, I need to slow down. I need to push pause and wait. I need to get back to the rhythms that I know allow me to connect with God, connect with my family and lead ministry well. Ignoring these signs will simply lead to greater fatigue physically, but also reveals that I am burning the candle at both ends and working hard on my plans. God’s plans involve health and rest and downtime.
  •  I must remember that it simply is not about me. I’m just not essential to the accomplishment of much. While it is true that I have value and purpose and that there are specific skills God has given to me, it is more true that He cares about me as a person more than as a producer. Saying no doesn’t mean that I am failing – it means that I am protecting my space in order to better connect with God. If my plans only involve my ideas and don’t involve the input of others and the vision of the Lord, then they will fail. The plans and purposes of God are more about relationship with Him than accomplishment for Him.
It might seem weird that we have to battle in order to wait well, but I am convinced that a ploy of the enemy is to keep us busy in whatever way possible. This keeps us from slowing down, from depending upon God and from connecting to His still small voice. Be encouraged that busyness does not come from the Lord and take a chance that being still and quiet will allow His purposes to prevail without your plans having to fail.

Lord God, You know me far too well. You know my tendency to rush and hurry and be impatient. You know my shortcomings in waiting for You and on You. Help me to slow down and enjoy times of peace and quiet, so that I am more in tune with Your purpose for my life. Amen.
~ Mike


  1. AWESOME post. I really needed this right now. Thank you.

  2. I am so familiar with waiting. So I know it's not easy. It really takes work. But it's worthwhile.