Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Actively Patient: a Rewarding Struggle

Things are popping up for me. Instead of being a journalist in the conventional sense, God is calling me to something different. I am still very much a writer. But, he's telling me what he's been saying all along. I pushed it away saying, "God can't use me." The truth is, he's already using me for his good purposes. Here's the deal, I never thought I would work with women. But the more I wait for God's timing, the more he is teaching me to reach out to them.

As I waited for the Lord, he brought me to a place of complete submission. In that state, he's said, "Joy, go to seminary." You may think I'm crazy. Some days I think I am. I began filling out my application to Bethel Seminary a few weeks ago. I thought of all the things I needed to do; people I needed to network with; who needed to get reference forms to; What I need to do currently to be prepared for ministry, etc. All the details began to cloud my mind. Instead of fretting and whining, wondering what was next and not allowing God to make me feel content right here, I gave it over, which was very difficult. It took quite a few nights of weeping in my car, wrestling with God until I finally gave up. "God, I am nothing and can do nothing without you. Please take these things I feel I want to hold on to. Just use me." And I waited. No voices screamed in my head on this issue, but a calm presence saying, "Right here, just like this. This is what I ask of you. You get it."

Here's where it gets interesting. A week after I began filling out my application to Bethel Seminary, my pastor announced that our church was getting a deal with the school. Anyone who has been an attender for the past year can qualify for a 30 percent discount on tuition. 30 PERCENT! Now, if that isn't one sign of confirmation, I don't know what is. Then I was unsure about the letters of recommendation. Within the past week I was able to meet with the pastor's wife, not an easy meeting to get, she's a busy gal. She was excited to fill it out for me. I was also able to pass my church Elder form off to the only Elder I know pretty well. Now, all I have to do is get my last professional reference to my editor at the Star Tribune. Things fall into place when God allows them to.

And he's opening doors for other things, including modeling, something I'll write more on later if it pans out. For now, actively waiting.

So now it's a waiting game for seminary. I have been asked to be actively patient. I am called to wait on God while being content, but also knowing something exciting is coming up gets me revved up the next thing. Its a huge paradox. How do I let things just fall into place while serving and seeking and wait without looking too far ahead?

I'm a firm believer that today is all of the future that I am guaranteed. I could go to sleep tonight forever. I could be hit by a bus downtown. Sheesh, I could die right here at my computer. But tomorrow is something I have to plan for in the world. I can't sit back on my laurels when things begin falling into place. I have to seize the opportunities as God brings them. So that active patience is something I'm developing.

And as I process this, sometimes I get nervous. I feel myself beginning to worry. Prime example, at 10:15 am, I feel some anxiety inside. I know it's not coffee, I gave that away to a homeless guy this morning. So I took my break. Still feeling restless, I opened up my Bible and there it was, just staring at me.

2 Peter 3:8-9, "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

I'm not waiting on Him, well I am. But he's waiting patiently for me to come to Him, as it says in vs. 9, and admit that I can't do this and that He is in control.

So, now, as far as you know, I am contented though so much is in the works. I will continue to actively wait, knowing that this isn't a time to sit back, but to prepare. And if things don't work out the way I think they should, then that's exactly what's supposed to happen. I'll know things will work out how God wants them to be. And knowing that things aren't up to me takes a lot of pressure off me. Thanks God.

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