I don’t want to brag, but I have a lot of skills.
I can go to Target and only buy what I initially entered said store to buy.
I can scrape ice off a car windshield with only a ballpoint pen and a rewards card at my disposal. (Possible but not recommended.)
I once ate eleven pancakes in one sitting.
I cannot, however, wait.
I have my smart phone on standby for any moment I may have to pause. If data’s scarce, I also carry a book or two in my purse at all times. If that fails, “Hey stranger, you catch the new revival of Gilmore Girls? No? Okay, well, in act one we find Lorelei sitting under the gazebo…”
There are actually a lot of great articles and books out there about the beauty in waiting – the patience earned, the lessons learned, the opportunities for growth. (Not while waiting for your oil to be changed or your oven to be heated as that type of waiting is only ever cumbersome – see above list of tools to avoid such situations.) No, they’re talking about the life waiting.
I, however, cannot for the life of me figure out if I am waiting.
How can you tell if you’re patiently waiting or lazily sitting?
I’m cool with waiting, whether or not I’m good at it. Those writers and speakers and encouragers have absolutely convinced me that waiting is good and important and full of amazing opportunities for personal growth.
Can someone please just tell me if I am, in fact, waiting?
See, God’s promised us a few things. He’s promised to never leave us. He’s promised to forgive our sins when we confess them. He’s promised eternal life through his Son.
Good stuff, good stuff.
He has not, however, promised us a trendy job, a sexy spouse, a sudden and overwhelming sense of fulfilled purpose and absolute self-worth coming from whatever series of things finally clicking into place (that place preferably being an apartment in a cool part of town with exposed brick walls, obviously.) The things so many of us wait for diligently were never promised to us in the first place.
This has been an odd year for me. And by “this,” I do not mean the past six days since 2017 started. Please. They’ve been fine. Whatever.
What I mean is that I initially moved to Knoxville fully planning to be here one and a half years. I would live in Knoxville, have a fun adventure, meet some cool people, learn some new things, and then finish my internship and jaunt right back down to Texas.
But I stayed. And finding myself in Knoxville another year later made me feel, well, odd. Unsettled. The word “indefinite” makes my hands go all adorable and clammy. Don’t get me wrong, Surprise Year has been great – about a million times better in a million different ways than the the first year here. I just want to know what to call it, you know? Because the problem is there are people all around me who are changing jobs or moving across the world or pursuing new adventures and as a self-proclaimed over-analyzer, I want to make sure my current life state is the right one too. Am I still here because God’s preparing me for something else? Well, what is that then? Should I try something new? Go somewhere different? Or is this going to be my life? Will I wake up in twenty years and still live across the street from the cute cafe and the big ole church? Is this interim, preparation, the right thing, the wrong thing, the final chapter, ARE WE ALL JUST SLOWLY MARCHING TOWARDS INEVITABLE DEATH?!
If I’m waiting, what am I waiting for?!
Another skill I have is quickly thinking myself into oblivion and despair. Thankfully, there is always light at the other end because Jesus takes my hits and questions and he gives me a sassy eye roll (I’m assuming) and gently reminds me of what’s true, sometimes through songs and Scripture and wise friends, and sometimes through mega-celebrity Christian speakers.
I still don’t know if I’m waiting or not. I also don’t care anymore.
Because mega-celebrity Christian #1. Levi Lusko spoke truth to me last week and I wrote down these notes:
“I’m chained to x, y, z? No, it’s chained to ME and I’m going to share the light of Christ right where I’m at with gusto!”
(In the moment, I could not think of a more eloquent synonym for “gusto”…)
And mega-celebrity Christian #2. Christine Cain spoke before him and I wrote down these notes:
“The here and now is what’s going to take us to the there and then. Stop living for the there. Dig into the here.”
(I put about ten exclamation points and a star next to “Dig into the here,” but bold and italics will suffice for now.)
None of us really know what phase of life we’re in until we’re well into the next one. We don’t know what this phase is, what it’s teaching us, what it’s preparing us for, how long it will last. We certainly don’t know what will come next. All we know is that right now, we’re here.
My here is is different from your here. My here is Knoxville, Tennessee and all the whos and wheres and whats that entails. I want to be faithful to the here God’s given me. I want to dig in and try hard and love well and say yes. Because this is my here. Mine. And I won’t waste it, worried I’m sitting instead of waiting or waiting instead of moving or moving instead of resting.
If we’re all just slowly marching towards death, I’m going to make mine a freakin’ conga line, ya know?
What’s your here?