Thursday, January 12, 2017

Wait


I’ve been reading a lot about selecting a “word of the year.” For some, it is seen as a divinely-given word that will help focus their heart and mind on where God is leading. For others, the word is carefully selected as a symbol of their focused dreams, desires, or wishes.

And even while I admired the word choices of others, I honestly didn’t feel a desire to pen one of my own. After all, how could I put my current, mostly muddled feelings into one single word?

But one afternoon, while driving back from Lowe's, I tried to express my current state of mind to my husband.  Earlier that morning, in one of those pop-up Facebook memories (which are quite helpful for a woman of my age), it said that four years ago, I had published my first (and only) book.

I was shocked to realize how time had sped by.  In these four years, I’ve often been asked – what is next?  My answer continues to be: I have no idea.

There’s plenty of reasons why. Life has been busy. I uprooted my family and moved hundreds of miles to a new home. I’ve switched jobs, said goodbye to old friends, and tentatively started to open my heart to a few new ones. My husband and I have watched our only child graduate high school and begin college. And (the reason for another trip to the hardware store) we’ve been painting and rebuilding and cleaning our beloved 1960s beach house.

So while the past four years may not look super productive on my writing resume, I’ve put mile upon mile on this weary soul of mine. Maybe this is why, as I began this January, I sensed a word quietly resonating in my soul.

“Wait.”

The word “wait” can have many meanings. To “lie in wait” means you are going to ambush the enemy. And then there is the type of waiting that anticipates a very specific event: “I can’t wait until Friday” or “I’m waiting for my package to arrive from Amazon.”

But that isn’t the type of waiting I mean.

I was thinking about the unique way the word “wait” is used in Scripture – to “wait upon the Lord.” It means to have an attitude of your soul that points God-ward. As one writer explains, “It implies the listening ear, a heart responsive to the wooing of God, a concentration of the spiritual faculties upon heavenly things, the patience of faith.”

This type of faith contains anticipation, but not merely of something happening to me – personally, more of an expectant interaction with the Almighty.

As the Psalmist says, “My soul, wait thou . . . for God only” (69:5).

Rather than feeling guilty about not writing, not doing, not achieving. Rather than seeking out the next project or looking for a new challenge, I am going to sit back and wait.

And, let’s be honest, this type of waiting doesn’t come naturally, especially for me. I like to do. I like to plan. I like to dream. So waiting can feel a whole lot like giving up. It can even feel like failure or laziness. But, this year that word keeps whispering into my heart.

“Wait. Wait on everything. Wait on me.”

And so I will.

Friend, I have to tell you – this might be the best New Year’s resolution I’ve ever made. It feels good. It feels right. Even as it rolls off my tongue, I can feel the tension in my shoulders release, as I breathe a sigh of relief. I can wait.  

I can put off deciding anything and everything in a God-ordained kind of way. I don’t have to have it all figured out. I don’t have to worry that I’m not doing enough. I can know for certain that this is the place I’m meant to be right now.

I’m going to sit in this moment.

I’m going to rest in His peace.

I’m going to push aside the niggling self-induced guilt.

I’m going to enjoy waiting on the Lord with that beautiful song by Mumford & Sons softly playing as a repeat song track in the background.

When He moves, I will follow.

Until then, I will wait. Lord, let me wait . . . resting my soul in Thee.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A New Year's Blessing


New Year's Day always feels a bit disconcerting to me.

My Christmas decorations are looking a bit "tired" . . . to put it nicely. One of the sheep in my nativity set has fallen over , and three chocolate bars are laying on the hay, right next to the wise men. It looks a bit like a cryptic crime scene.

Our once festively decorated dining room is now cluttered with a 50s fiberglass lampshade sitting askew on top of magazine ads, a pile of receipts, unpaid bills, and a Fannie May mint meltaway bar (missing two of the three sections of chocolate).

Yep. This is me - not the Instagram version - but the real one. Rumpled and a bit cluttered. Forgetful and uncertain.

This is the New Year. 

For all of our celebrating, the grand countdown, the auld lang synes, the kisses, New Year's Day always seems a bit ordinary, even a bit disappointing, doesn't it?

So here I sit - still wearing my flannel pajama pants, no makeup, Alfred Hitchcock on the television, Christmas cookies tempting me to put off healthy eating just one more day. My mind is torn between plans and challenges for the days ahead, and the fact that I really, really need to clean my house.

But I'm glad that on this ordinary day there is time for me, for all of us, to stop and think. 

So before I pull the plastic Christmas bins out of the storage area and pack up that poor, tired manger scene, Before I take a walk or take out the garbage that is piling up, I want to put words to this day. The first day of 2017.

Many of us have said we are glad to be rid of 2016. And, I have nodded in agreement. This year was a tough one. But I'm also realizing that in the midst of 2016 have been precious times with our friends and family. And I want more of those in 2017. I don't want grand, crazy, extraordinary things, just the regular stuff that I love, and a maybe a few special wishes thrown into the mix. 

So here is my "ordinary" New Year's wish list...
  • I want to walk on the beach and find another seashell.
  • I want to go shopping at thrift stores with my daughter, looking for t-shirts, purses, and jackets.
  • I want to bake muffins and cakes and cookies, and even a few of those recipes I've pinned.
  • I want to enjoy dinners at interesting restaurants with my husband, and maybe a glass of Chardonnay.
  • I want time and space to pray and think and read.
  • I want to work and write. 
  • I want to clean my house. 
  • I want to organize my linen closet, paint the laundry room, throw out junk. 
  • I want my family to be healthy. I want my mom to come through her cancer surgery successfully with as little pain as possible.
  • I want my friends who have suffered great loss and pain in 2016 to heal. I want them to feel loved and appreciated and find peace.
  • I want to honor God with everything I do and say. 
  • I want to avoid worry, cast my cares on Him.
  • And tonight, I just want a quiet family fondue dinner with a late-night showing of Rear Window, and maybe a glass of that almond champagne that's been chilling in the fridge.
Blessings to you, my friends. Thank you for sharing my journey in 2016. And may you get all of your ordinary wishes for the New Year. 

Love to you in 2017.