If you read my last post, you might recall that I encouraged you to consider your purpose, people, and place as a way to evaluate your level of peace as you enter 2019.
Perhaps your relationships are great, but you’re feeling unfulfilled and need to eliminate something unfruitful in your daily activities. Replace that thing with something purposeful. Or maybe your days are filled with purpose, but this is a season you need to add or strengthen relationships. You get the point. Pinpointing specifically where you need to make changes is a critical step to having peace.
If I’m honest, the first time I heard this idea of people, purpose, and place, my first two reactions were: “That explains a lot,” followed by the question, “What if all three are off?” Maybe you’re thriving in all three areas. If so, I urge you to intentionally see how you can share your peace with someone who may need a little help from a friend. In my journey, a few key people shared their peace with me in a way that helped me heal.
But what if you look at your life and you’re discouraged? When all three areas are pointing in the wrong direction, it’s disorienting and painful. The temptation is to either blame yourself or to blame God. Neither option will help you rediscover peace.
There are two answers thrown around by well-meaning people:
1. Pray; and
When everything’s dark, you’ve probably already had many prayers feel totally unanswered. Keep praying, really?
When everything’s dark, the last thing you want to do is wait.
Before you close this blog in frustration, consider the alternatives.
The alternative to praying is to try to muster strength without the One who is the source of strength. The Lord clearly tells us that we’ll encounter trials. He both warned us of and promised to stay with us through the trials. The way you let Him stay with you is to keep inviting Him in. There have been days when I didn’t know what to say. There have been days when I’ve just been sad or angry. There have been days when I’ve had questions and I don’t get answers. The beauty is that through prayer you keep the conversation going and you allow your heart to be heard. He will answer… even if it takes longer than you desire.
God will answer… even if it takes longer than you desire. Click To Tweet
Which leads us to waiting…
If you don’t wait, you’re effectively taking circumstances into your own hands. This probably seems like a good option if you think God’s forgotten you… but the truth is that God hasn’t; the truth is that when we hit darkness, it’s one of the few times we actually exercise our muscle of faith. We talk about it and sing about it, but in the darkness is when we either choose God or choose ourselves. Choosing ourselves may actually bring some short-term relief, but it also puts us outside of the protection that only God can offer.
If you’re in a season of waiting, I highly encourage you to take the waiting one day at a time. Like manna, God gives us the grace to wait each day. If you think waiting is forever, the enemy will quickly hijack your thought life.
To be clear, waiting doesn’t mean you sit idly by, worrying about the future. Nor does it mean doing nothing. Waiting is active waiting. Waiting means continuing to do the right things while you listen and watch for God’s direction.
I pray peace for all who read these words… Shalom.