Waiting on Pure Delight

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I’ve shared this haiku before.  I wrote it several years ago and for me it captures the essence of how we do Christmas.  We hustle around trying to do it all and even if we don’t quite feel the merry in our heart we put on that bright, merry smile anyway, assuming that if we fake it long enough it will be true.  We hope that we end up with the pure delight.

I’m not against a little hustle and hurry because that can be exciting.  I used to love to go out on or near Christmas Eve when everyone was making that last mad dash for presents.  There was something magical about being in the bustling crowd getting caught up in the flurry of the season, but all too often we allow the hustle and hurry to take over and steal our joy.

For too many years, I got caught up in the wrappings of the season and wanting everything to be just perfect with the end goal of sitting in the peacefulness of white lights and a perfectly coordinated Christmas.  Of course, a lot of times that peace eluded me because I was so exhausted from all the running around gathering up the perfect bits and pieces that would somehow make Christmas more special.

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A few years ago, Christmas was already over, when I finally sat down and started reading a Max Lucado Christmas book I had left over from gift books I’d purchased.  Reading it was peaceful and it helped me focus on the real meaning of Christmas in a way I hadn’t before.  I wondered why I hadn’t started the season by reading this book; it would have made all the difference.

I’m still working on the right balance during the Christmas season, but little by little, I’m learning to drop the need for perfect.  I’m learning to let go of much of the hustle, bustle, hurry.  I’m learning to hold onto the cold, bright, pure delight instead.   Especially, the pure delight.

Pure delight is wrapped up in the Christ Child. It is the core of all we celebrate.  The pure delight is the one for whom we wait.  God With Us.

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23

What if, instead of the hurry this season, we just started with the anticipation of the pure delight.  What if instead of waiting impatiently in line, arms crossed, fingers tapping and heavy sighs, we open our arms with palms lifted up, waiting to receive; waiting for the pure delight that Immanuel offers.

Waiting does not necessarily come naturally to us.  If we take time away from our hustle and bustle for rest, we somehow feel that we aren’t doing enough.  We think it means that we are unproductive.  If we’re searching for direction we want the answer to come immediately, even though, learning to rest and wait might be the answer that is most needed.  We complain about how God is silent and doesn’t seem to be hearing our petitions.

He does hear, but sometimes, I think the silence is necessary to slow us down.  Do you remember, as a child in school, when the class was rowdy how the teacher would stand quietly at the front of the room staring calmly.  Eventually, everyone would start to notice and pretty soon, it would quiet down and once the teacher had everyone’s attention, she spoke.

I imagine that is how it is with God sometimes.  He just quietly stands close by waiting until he has our attention.   What seems like waiting too long, is not a punishment, or God ignoring us, it is simply because he knows we need time to be ready for his revelation.

The children of Israel waited a long time for the Messiah.  They had been hearing the promise for many years before it was brought to fruition.  I’m sure they must have wondered about God’s silence, but still, those who were faithful waited because they knew that he was there, standing, watching out for them, even when he didn’t speak.  They knew when the time was right all would be revealed.    They waited with anticipation for God With Us.

I found a prayer written in the back of my Bible that I penned a few years ago about waiting on God.  I’d like to share it with you.

I wait for you in the silence and even though you don’t speak I know you are there.  You know my name, you know my struggle and you care. You will sustain me; you will be my strength.  You will come in your time and shed the light of your presence upon me.  

I don’t remember the circumstances of what prompted that prayer, but I am beginning to understand the faith in praying that prayer and waiting for him to come.  He will bring the pure delight.  After all, he is God With US.

I hope during this season of Advent that you will wait for the pure delight to enter your heart and you will ease into this holy season with a renewed faith in the waiting.

Waiting in grace,

Teresa

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Today’s post is 1st in an Advent series, one for each week of Advent.  Wait, Watch, Prepare and Praise. For all four weeks in the series you can click on each title:

Waiting On Pure Delight (week 1, this weeks),

Watching For God With Us (Week 2)

Preparing To Make Him Room (week 3)

 Praising his coming. (week 4)

 

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In The Waiting

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I read the Sarah Young devotional this morning and Isaiah 40:31 was one of the verses. The whole theme of waiting is hard for me.  In a contradictory kind of way.  If you know me at all, or are starting to get a glimpse of me through reading my blog, you may have noticed that I can sometimes reside on both sides of the coin.

So, even though I am bad at procrastination, I am still impatient about getting started once my mind is made up to do something. Once I come to a decision, I want the results now.  Once I get started on a project, I may work until midnight or later so I can finish. I have a hard time slowing down and enjoying the process.

You can imagine that I might go a little stir crazy waiting on answers to where God is leading.  Sometimes, I think maybe there is something that I’m not getting.  Maybe, the waiting is over and I just haven’t’ read the memo yet. There could be a lot of truth in those scenarios, but there could also be another reason.

Maybe, I haven’t yet learned what the waiting is teaching me.  Could it be that in the waiting is where we learn how to live?

Waiting teaches us to trust in even the most difficult of circumstances.  When you are living on savings and you know it won’t last forever you have to choose to worry about the future or trust that God has a plan for your provision.  I have been saying for two years that God has a plan.  I’m still not sure exactly what that plan is. But, I know he has one.

Almost two years ago we made a decision to move back to my hometown to be near my parents who were going through some health issues. My husband was finishing his dissertation preparing to graduate.  We knew it would be at least a year before we had any real income.  We naively thought that once he was finished (May 2013) that the job offers would be there. He has invested a lot of time in applying for positions and networking with others.  He has stayed busy with his music, but not in a solid income generating kind of way.  I have constantly told him that God has a plan.  Even when doubts knock loud on the door of my soul, I still believe God has a plan.

The waiting is hard because you feel like you may not be accomplishing anything of worth.  It is hard because you worry that others may be judging you for the decisions you have made. I still know the decision to move was the right one.  I have no regrets. And, for the most part I have learned not to worry about what others think. But, still, there are days you feel low in spirit because life seems to have stopped spinning in your corner of the world. You realize that your dreams and plans may have to change.  You may have to open your heart to new desires.

Psalm 37:4 says to “take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  I believe that means I am to open my heart to him freely and allow him to decide what those desires are.  I truly believe that if we are waiting on him, he will give us the desires that are best for us and if we are willing, he will allow us to pursue those in the best way possible.

His ways are always best. I have found myself lately asking him to give us his best, not what we think is best. We had plans, they may still line up with God’s plans.  They may not. He may totally change our plans into something even better. We have to be willing to wait on his timing and we have to be open to a change of heart that only he can perform.

Is it possible that until we learn the lessons in the waiting, we can’t move forward?  It has dawned upon me that only when I sink into the waiting and allow God to do his work in his time and accept his plan, will I be free to move forward. Moving forward may not look like what I had imagined, but if it’s God’s plan, it will be even better. The question I have to ask myself is, am I willing to learn and change in the waiting?

What are your thoughts?  I am not an expert, but I know the theme of waiting has been a big part of my life the past couple of years.  If God has us waiting, then there is a purpose and we need to discover that purpose.  We need to allow the waiting to prepare us for the next part of the journey.  With God, nothing is wasted, not even waiting.

Learning In The Waiting,

Teresa

 

 

end of the old, beginning of the new (part 2)

Update: If you are here from the Lettered Cottage, Welcome!  This is part two of a two part wrap-up and new beginning post that also includes my word for 2013.  You may want to start with Part 1. Thanks for visiting and please feel free to leave a comment!

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When I started my out with the old, in with the new, state of Sadie address yesterday, I had no idea the direction it would take.  I had jotted down some random thoughts earlier in the week and had caught up on several blogs which gave me food for thought.  I basically meant to do a little discourse about my 2012 word and introduce you to my 2013 word(s) and my thoughts about that and lessons learned and so forth.  You get the gist.  I just thought I’d serve up something clever and be on my merry way into 2013.

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What I wasn’t prepared for was the depth of emotion that looking back welled up in me.  In looking back at 2012 I had to actually dip into 2011 for it to make sense.  Everything just came together in one big blur.  I say blur because I actually cried.  I wasn’t expecting the tears or the path I found myself on, but I went with it.  I figured it needed to be said, at least for my benefit and since only about five people besides me read my blog I thought maybe I could be indulged.

I don’t apologize for yesterday’s rather long post or the content because it did help clarify some things for me.  And I think it was necessary for me to deal with the emotions in order to move on.  I realized that over the past few years I have gone through some things (who hasn’t?) in a way that got through them, but didn’t actually deal with them.  They were filed to sort through later.  I also realized that in October of 2012 I began dealing with them in a non-planned sort of way.  I think the cracks in the dam finally gave way and I had no choice.

I came to realize that I had to totally depend on God and trust Him for everything, which led me to the epiphany that I had to rest in him, wait on him, trust in him, and listen for his truth.  Of course I knew all this, but it sank deeper into my soul and found roost.

Around this same time, I remember reading John 15:4 – “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”  The word “remain” lodged in my heart and my first thought was that this would be my word for 2013.  It would be a reminder to rest, wait, trust and listen.  I even wrote it on my kitchen chalkboard wall to remind me, so it sort of became a word for me in 2012 too, along with Joy.

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I think Joy will still linger in 2013; Remain will definitely be big this year and I’m pretty sure a word lover like myself cannot be satisfied with just one word, so stay tuned.  I am excited about the possibilities for 2013 – to grow, to learn, to heal, to discover words, but most importantly – to remain.

Remaining in Grace,

Sadie

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Are you choosing a word for 2013?

Join others to share your word

Days 12-15 – Weekend Rewind and Moving Forward

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight                                                                                                                                    Proverbs 3:5-6

Obviously I didn’t post for a few days, which means I didn’t write.  On Friday I probably would have late in the day, but yet again, my Friday was interrupted by circumstances that threw me into a tailspin.  This time it was a horse of a different color, but nevertheless, it is a situation that would be in the top two on my angst list.

It made me feel out of control and helpless.  And I learned something about myself.  1.) I really have control issues. 2.) I find it really hard to let go of things. 3.) I allow things that aren’t in my control to derail me. (I’m sure I already knew this, but it really hit home to me and I need to say it out loud.)

I also came to the conclusion that God is challenging me, through my circumstances, to give up all control to him in these situations.  I know I need to and I honestly have been trying.  Just when I think I have, something new develops and I derail.  It has taken me most of the weekend to gain perspective.

Because of circumstances and the derailing I didn’t write.  I put something I’m passionate about on hold, due to a temporary (hopefully) circumstance that I have no control over. I realized that this is a pattern that has happened before – I’m too ready to throw in the towel and sabotage myself when I feel helpless or out of control.

The situation is what it is, God is still in control (so I don’t have to be), and my role is to Wait on him.  To trust him.  To rest in him.  To listen to him.  He has this.

My role is to move forward with purpose.

Moving on in Grace,

Sadie

PS – What about you, do you ever derail when a situation makes you feel out of control?  How do you gain perspective?