Waiting as I Wander

“But I trust in you, O Lord, I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands…” – Psalms 31:14-15a (NIV)”

“There is an appoint time for everything. And there is a time for everything under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NASB)

“All the different periods of life:
The times of prosperity and the times of adversity,
The times of advance and the times of retreat,
The times of activity and the times of waiting,
They are all in your hand.” – Steve Gallagher

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” -Psalms 27:14 (NIV)

     I have never been very good at waiting. It’s a character flaw, I suppose. I live in an impatient society. My generation is one of instant gratifications, a phenomenon studied by many psychologists, some of whom I would imagine were not raised in an era where that was even a thing. I live in a world where smart phones get more attention than our friends and family, Netflix is chosen over a good book, and looks are all that matter. It’s heartbreaking, but you can’t help but get caught up in it all.

     Yet, when I do, I not only reduce my ability to wait on the things I want, but I also lose my ability to wait on the things of God. I want an “instant God.” I want my prayers to be answered and my desires to be delivers right away. I don’t want a mediated “No.” because something isn’t meant for me. I want everything to be a “Yes, of course you can have that, Anna.” I want the wages without the work, so to speak.

     The Israelites wandered 40 years in the desert searching for the Promise Land, even though the journey should have only taken days. They grumbled and complained, they were not instantly satisfied, even though God provided for their every need. And Moses failed to enter the Promise Land because of his disobedience to God. WOAH, what?? Fast forward a few thousand years and let’s apply that to my life.

    How often do I feel “lost” and like I’m wandering without a purpose? DAILY! How often do I complain or question that? More times than I care to admit! And if God is telling me to wait on Him and I am being disobedient, is He going to withhold His promises from me? YOU BETCHA!

     Praise the Lord that a story of searching that happened so many years ago can relate and reflect my life today. To me, things like that teach me lessons, they bring the Bible to life and they guide me in the ways I should go (as the Word is meant to). So, while I may be wandering in my own little desert right now, I need to PRAISE GOD in the midst of my journey for all He has provided me. My obedience to Him should be of the utmost importance, and if I follow Him, He will lead me into a land overflowing with the abundance of His promises.

God is something else, something that may not be instant, but He sure is eternal. Amen!

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Here I am, send me.

These last few weeks, I’ve been struggling with what to do after graduation. I haven’t taken the GRE, I haven’t applied to graduate schools, and I’m only half sure I have a job lined up.

My time has been completely consumed with classes, my internship, homework, workouts and God. I am growing in God ever-so-slowly, but ever-so-beautifully. In the past, I’ve jumped in to my relationship with Him after youth camp, weekend seminars or just spiritually-intense worship session. And as I returned back to every day life from those incredible experiences, I lost my passion and the fire that I so immensely felt just a week before.

I am not a prime example of a Christian. I have drank, smoked and lived a very worldly life these past few years, but I have always kept my relationship with the Lord. Sadly, I left it sitting on the back burning, just barely warm. I don’t know when I felt him tugging so hard at my heart again, but suddenly, I could no longer deny that he was. No task, amount of alcohol and fun, or relationship with another person could keep away the fact that the Lord was calling out my name.

I wish I could tell you that it was loud and clear, but it wasn’t. It was a gentle tug, and a soft whisper.

 

I used to have a heart for the Lord and for missions. My senior year of high school, I wanted nothing more than to do a year-long program through my church to grow spiritually while reaching out to those in need. However, many voices told me that was a silly idea and that school should come first. So it did. I packed my bags and moved three hours from home, only to return a year and a half later with still no idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I’m three months shy of graduation and I still don’t have a plan. I’ve been flip-flopping back and forth from just working and saving up for graduate school in London, to working part-time and getting my Master’s at Lindenwood. However, neither one of those options is thrilling me.

One of my prayers has been for the Lord’s guidance. I know that His plans for my post-grad life are far, far greater than mine. Missions has been on my heart lately. I kept seeking the Lord about my heart for missions when I was younger and how I fell away from that desire to serve. I have lived a very selfish life these last few years. I have put myself before others, going so far as to distance myself from the friends and family who love me the most. I have become so involved in the material things of this world that when I don’t have them, I act in a way that I am not proud of. I have gotten so wrapped up in the social aspect of my life and career that I have trouble interacting with people sometimes. I was mean and cold-hearted and bitter over so many things.

But I’ve released all of that. Or at least I’m working on it. It isn’t a quick and easy process, it’s slow and it’s steady and it’s a lot of hard work and pain and tears. But, my, oh my, is it ever worth it.

This morning, I woke up in a pretty good mood. I got ready, then sat down with my breakfast and devotions. I’ve been working my way through the book of Psalms, five verses at a time. And I’ve just restarted “One Minute of Praise” by Darlene McCarty (a short devotional my mom had bought for me years ago that I never made it through). After that, I ran to Starbucks to get a latte so that I could make it through my morning classes and test. As I was sitting in class, deciding that my coffee was not tasting good, I suddenly had this…I don’t know what it was. It may have been a feeling or a thought or even a still small voice I’ve not yet learned to recognize, but suddenly, I found myself googling “missions trips for college students” on my handy dandy iPhone4.

The results led me to Experiencing Missions, a program I had never heard of but quickly became very interested in.

All throughout summer and these last few weeks, I’ve been freaking out about graduation and graduate schools and where I was going to live, and in these past few hours, I have suddenly realized that the reason that no program was settling well with me was because that might not be where I’m meant to be. I honestly feel like God is calling me to do a missions trip. I’m absolutely terrified. I am so accustomed to this ever-changing, fast paced world of technology and communications (I’ve been studying it for three and a half years, so it’s hard to not completely immerse yourself in it…even my friends worry about my social media habits). But my fear is so great that I won’t be able to spend time in a third-world developing country without my phone and friends.

I was so overwhelmed when I thought about going into the missions field for SIX MONTHS, both with excitement and fear. I saw a three month program and then thought that maybe the two-week trip would be better for me. But as I browse the website more and more today, I realize that I can do the longer trips. I know that with God, I can do something so incredible and worthwhile.

Right now, I’m praying hard-core about it. And if you’re a prayer warrior, too, I ask that you keep me in your prayers. I first and foremost am waiting for God’s guidance on this. I want to be absolutely sure that this is from Him, and not from my own desire to travel. Second, I will need financial support in funding this trip. I am unsure of where begin with that, but know that if this is truly from the Lord, then He will provide. Last, I will need to break the news to my mother, which may be the hardest part.

But I’m trusting in my Savior to lead me right to where I am supposed to be.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here I am. Send me.” – Isaiah 6:8