Dear impatient friend,
Quick responses, immediate answers, fast results, and speedy decisions are exactly what most human minds expect. Thinking thoughts like, “If I just get this part of my life started then I will be satisfied!” and even more agonizing, “I’ve waited so long, why haven’t I gotten this yet?”
Most people throw out the “in God’s time it’ll happen” to try and calm the emotions, and I firmly believe that to be true, but I know I sometimes want to punch a wall after hearing that for the millionth time. God works in the small, yucky, dark, and even glorious moments of our lives. All of it is His attempt to work in us, with us, and through us.
In my life, any time I have prayed to God about a big decision, a big dream, or a future endeavor it was never a peaceful “Dear God, let’s do this next! Thanks! Amen!” and then boom it’s in my grasp. It looks more like spending countless agonizing moments crying, groaning, and in anger (which shows me how I handle stress).
It’s wondering whether I’ll get my desire tomorrow or in 10 years.
It’s running past the temptation to run away from the desire and never believe it will happen.
It’s not giving myself permission to even about it (whatever ‘it’ was) too much. “Now, now. Don’t paralyze your own heart and sink deeper into a sadness!”
And when I do experience this openness of my own heart, allowing myself to accept what it is I dream of waiting for, I feel everything.. all at once… and it’s expressed all over my face.
This is such a scary place to be; to put my hearts out there, to God, in front of God, with others in total vulnerability is a very scary reality.
When it’s not me, I will say, when I talk to others about their own waiting and frustrations, I am more moved by their wrestling emotions and frustrations than by their numbing comments that sounds like something along the lines of, “It’ll be fine. I’m fine.”
“Simply by making us wait, God increases desire, which, in turn, enlarges the capacity of our soul, making it able to receive what is to be given to us.” -St. Augustine
It is only through the frustrations, agony, crying, and unsettling emotions we realize God is there. He holds. He hears. He cares so deeply. He see’s, in that moment, and wants nothing more than to be there. Not to give us our desire and then run, but to walk with us and show us how rewarding it will be to get there.
Or think of it this way. If you have ever cleaned out any kind of closet, clothing drawer, or a messy car you know a ton of purging has to happen. Coats thrown over the head, shoes falling from the shelves, boxes under boxes with stuff filled to the brim. It’s a process, but it’s necessary for more room to be made. The same is true for the human heart.
Purging out emotions, questions, frustrations and misunderstanding’s are exactly what God desires for us to enlarge the soul. Since waiting usually comes with some kind of emptiness, and until that emptiness is filled, nothing seems to be enough. Most people succumb to the temptations to mask or numb the emptiness in whatever way they choose and stop living and dreaming. In another breath, some keep SO busy that they never have time to express the hurt or frustrations they feel in that waiting.
Any closet that is cleaned out looks larger and more open, so it’s only true that enlarging the capacity for the soul to receive something great (someone great) requires preparation, thought, and activity.
When Mary was told she was to be the mother of Jesus, God started to speak to her in her emptiness. Emptiness wasn’t the absense of purpose, but a receptivity to it. It’s a choice we make, “Let me open up my schedule, time, life to receive this.” She opened herself up to God, to be made into what He desired her to be, and patiently let the Holy Spirit grow the child in her womb. In that patience, in that waiting, in those nine months of letting little Jesus grow she stayed active while His plan developed (literally).
The first thing she did after she found out this marvelous plan was go to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was 6 months pregnant. Her pregnancy, any pregnancy, takes a slow 9 month process. The angel didn’t come with the baby Jesus, throw Him in her lap, and leave. He proposed a plan, a desire from God for His glory to be made in her, and she shook off the fear and said, “yes” when she could have said no. After that, Mary did what we all hate doing; she waited.
Mary didn’t pop up on a throne with a bowl of grapes and ask people to fan her since she’d be the mother of a King. In those nine months while the babe is growing, developing, coming to full term, she stayed with her daily routines and built the foundation her son needed to be ready for. She and Joseph hashed out the misunderstanding fast and started making room for Him.
Nine months later He is birthed and that is only the beginning to life on Earth. Realistically all humans are on a never-ending journey of growth in new ways. Jesus’ glory was something that was tended to, cared for, and developed over time. Mary was still — she never rushed Jesus’ life. She watched Him grow to fullness, she was there when he needed it, and Joseph taught him how to work and live. Then after many, many years Mary knew the exact moments God was giving her the promptness to act, to prompt her Son to perform His first miracle. She only did it then because she allowed adequate time for God to reveal all these things to her about who Jesus is and what He could do. She was fearful, but still. Active, not passive. Results didn’t happen all together overnight but little results happened every day and they were beautiful.
Like Jesus, we are waiting for that moment to be prompted to act in a way that will set our whole identity on fire.
God really does show us how much He loves us by entrusting and gifting to us desires that open us up. A God who desires specific dreams to be made through us as a gift to our identity, growth, and state of life. He never wants our hearts to become so hardened that life looses it’s dullness. He puts something in our heart to renew our joy in Him and His promise for abundant life. His glory, His love, His beauty… HE is the dream. He is the love we sit with, consider, contemplate, and peacefully invite into our souls. This abundant love of Him is the very thing we fill that emptiness with. Making time to let God overwhelm our hearts is the cure to all. The moments I wait on God’s timing are the moments my whole being feels complete worth and love. Nothing I want outweighs that because until I find that dream that provides real ability to experience His love tangibly than I will never be able to settle for the path/decision/life that is anything less than the imprint of His goodness and love. If we knew the love God had for us I firmly believe we would be content waiting for the rest of our lives.
“There is, however, one big thing we can do with God’s help, that is, we can trust God’s plan, we can put aside any quibbling or bitterness about ourselves and what we are. We can accept and seize upon the fact that what we are at the moment, young or old, strong or weak, mild or passionate, beautiful or ugly, clever or stupid, is planned to be like that. Whatever we are gives form to the emptiness in us which can only be filled by God and which God is even now waiting to fill.” – Caryll Houselander
Who am I to say if you’re actually impatient because you might just feel “stuck” right where you are; unmovable, numb, unsure, and content. My encouragement to you is to keep praying, feeling it out (literally; crying, anger, hurt, frustration) and please make adequate time with God. Read His Word, attend Mass, pray alone, find a good read. Share your heart with a trusted loved one. Meditate, and journal on how far you’ve made it with this desire and where you want it to take you next.
An ongoing relationship with God gives us permission to keep talking, keep expressing the need, and knowing there is a space to feel welcomed with all our baggage and emotions where we are unconditionally loved the whole time.
“If you are not anchored in the goodness of God you will lower your theology to match your pain.” -Christa Black Gifford
Being “fixed” and sent on your way is such a cheap solution to any problem. We don’t worship a God who fixes us and forgets us, we worship a God who walks with us, heals us, knows us, serves us, and reaches out to us everyday.
Remember that a man was born into a man and woman’s inconvenience and prepared by their love to save the world from the mental and physical decline of destruction which made a generation of broken hearts. To this day, we celebrate the memorial of this and the reality that He can still redeem these hearts, set them free, and save them from their own misery. This love, this companionship, this relationship with Jesus, who only offers, prepares, and overwhelms you with His goodness and knowledge of what it is you need most is the key to unlocking the rest of your life.
“We think we can celebrate without preparing, and that’s why we’ve lost the sense that we need God.” -Fr. Micheal O’Loughlin
I can’t help but encourage you to know that God will put a desire on your heart to open you up. He longs to speak to you in that desire or dream. While the desire grows, like a baby in a mother’s womb, you will see it is not an idea or a casual thought, but a loving God reaching out to you, looking at you, loving you enough to propose a compass for your life’s happiness. He see’s potential in you and wants to gift it to you. He see’s what you want. He knows you’ve been frustrated and He has a solution. It’ll be a compass that leads you down a path of unexpected joy, struggling, and love but it will always prove to you His love for you.
Have hope that after enough time, prep, activity, and trust it’ll be birthed to you.
You might just need to start by giving yourself permission to open up and follow it.
Continue to be patience – it’ll be good for you,