I’ve been walking through an interesting tunnel of my life recently. I expected a few doors to open, and at the point of writing this post, a year has passed for two opportunities in particular.
If I could hurry God up, I would, but the joke would be on me since He is actively working on the things I can’t see. He’s simultaneously in today and tomorrow, seeing all the moving parts and weaving it all together. The entire journey has been nerve-wracking, as I anxiously await a few calls as a sign of progress.
I’ve processed the guilt of “feeling” impatient because I ought to wait patiently on the Lord. I say guilt because if you’re anything like me, you overthink – A LOT! So I’ve thought about whether I’m truly waiting patiently or if the feeling of unrest in the wait is normal. I’ve possibly thought of most, if not all, the likely outcomes. What have I learned from overthinking? It leads to more anxiety. It’s a thorn in my flesh I’m still working through and maybe something you’re working through too.
While going about my business this week, I stumbled upon a Facebook Memory I wrote about 4 years ago:
“Your cocoon is a place of transition. Hold on, a time of birthing will come.”Shaquille Millar – Circa June 2015
A Call To Remembrance
Don’t you just love it when you school yourself? 👀
I love Facebook Memories. I’ve probably said that on here before, lol. But the quote reminded me that perhaps this stage or “season” of waiting was a step in the right direction toward something unseen. I don’t always immediately remember God’s goodness. This is another aspect of my life I am actively working on. I want to remember God’s consistency more often rather than overthink first. Sometimes I begin to fret, then, mid meltdown I remember a ridiculous scenario that was overwhelming, yet, here I am to tell the tale. I made it through with lessons in tow and that moment of remembering brings reassurance and peace.
The FB memory reminded me that perhaps the feeling of disappointment because of having to “wait so long” was an integral part of what was yet to come. The process is pruning my attitude and perspective. I don’t know yet what absolute impact the lull will have in the days to come, but I can tell you that I’ve been working my gratitude and reflection muscles in the interim.
Although I can’t see into tomorrow, I know for sure that God’s thoughts toward me are good, and His thoughts toward you are good too! It is with this understanding that I encourage you to remember. Remember God’s goodness during dry and disappointing seasons. Recall how He came through in a tough time before. Remind yourself of who He is, even if the tide turns in a way you didn’t anticipate. You may ask yourself why would I do that? Well Because despite our nagging desire to want to know it all, I don’t think we can ever truly manage it all at once. Overthinking leads to more anxiety, make a choice to be present in the now instead. When things get tough, choose to remember instead of wander.
Walking It Out
Managing our emotions during disappointment is one of the hardest seasons to walk through. I think it can be harder still as a believer. I’ve received many warnings to heed Proverbs 3:5-6, as though I hadn’t been digesting this scripture all my “believing” life. Is there a place for believing the Word of God AND feeling humanly upset because of disappointment? I say yes! The game-changer is how we respond to disappointment and manage ourselves in the process.
What is our heart posture? What is our attitude? Do we curse the process? How do we trust God and feel bad too? We tell Him how we feel.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do and He will show you which path to take.”Provers 3:5-6 NLT
We can trust God and feel upset too. We can trust God and ask Him questions. I believe when God made us, He made us with emotions for a reason. I’ve questioned Him on many occasions – in good times and bad. I’ve asked questions because I required clarity and direction, and He’s been faithful to respond time and time again. The challenge here, is choosing not to depend on our own analysis when disappointment strikes over what we can actually see manifesting itself. A choice to trust God is a nod that we acknowledge His sovereignty although we feel down and out. His decision is final.
Granted, sometimes our own desires lead us off course and we may become disappointed because the outcome greatly differs from our initial expectation. But even in those moments, we can see God’s hand extended, beckoning us back to Him if we look to find Him.
I often envision myself climbing onto His lap and staring in His face, brutally alight by glory. As I sit there I’d talk to Him about the things that weigh me down. I’d ask all my whys, what about, and what if. Sometimes He answers by voice, other times, by way of His choosing. I love that even when we may become disappointed, that God is consistent with His love. Even when the road gets rocky, He isn’t inclined to bend His hand to please us. If we’re honest, we can be nagging children sometimes but He is good regardless and He knows best at all times.
It Is Humanly Possible
I believe there is space to trust and space to feel. God did not make robots, He made humans, and better still, humans in His own likeness and image. Meaning that He understands our emotions, our thoughts, and our wandering hearts. He totally understands the fickle nature of feelings and emotions. This is why I think Paul says in Philippians 4:6 “Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything.”– NLT.
The difference between worry and prayer is this, worry is a one-way street. It’s you against the world. You against your thoughts, your voice, and your conclusions, prayer is different. Prayer is an invitation to a conversation, a two-way street, our piece, and God’s response.
Imagine chatting with the One person who already knows everything before it happens. There is a peace that can be gained from a chat with someone like this. And I get it, it’s hard waiting for a reply because the response may not be immediate, and at other times it may be. What is critical to muting worry during those in-between periods, is engagement.
It is so easy to misinterpret God’s silence for disengagement. I don’t believe God ever deliberately turns His face away from us because He is uninterested. He wants to hear all the things and talk with to us too. Sometimes silence is an invitation to come closer, to persist in communion rather than walk away.
Paul goes on to say in Philippians 4:6 – “Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He’s done. Verse 7 – Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Tell AND thank! Anxiety and worry are one dimensional, neither emotion leaves room for gratitude. Practicing expression AND gratitude is a battle we should all aim to win. It’s easy to offload and be disgruntled, but a key component of navigating disappointment is 1, remembering the victories from before and 2, showing gratitude for what has been done and is still yet to come.
Finally, Paul says in verse 8, to think on a few things. NLT version says Fix your thoughts, which suggests that something may be out of place if worry and anxiety are present. None of the things Paul says to think about includes disappointment. Does this mean we won’t feel the sting? No. But it does mean we can lift our gaze again. Go check out the elements he says to think on ( this post is already too long, lol)
If I had to summarize this entire post into a few steps I’d use the following. Feel free to reference these in your daily going out and in:
- Don’t worry about anything, but if you are worried ->
- Pray. Pray about everything, talk to God and listen out for His response. He speaks as well.
- Tell God what you need, yes but let us practice more thanksgiving.
- Be a person of gratitude. The wait may be an uncomfortable place but there’s always, always something to be thankful for.