Get Active… And Wait

Today’s post is going to be fairly quick.

I’ve got a few projects in the works, but those are still cookin’. In the mean time, I’d love to share some thought fodder.

I just finished a study in James yesterday, and last week, I was wrestling through the last half of the fifth chapter. He discusses patience in waiting for the Lord being like that of a farmer waiting for the harvest.

Be patient, therefore, brothers,until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

The thing that struck me about the waiting of a farmer is that it is active. He must prepare the field and tend the plants and the soil throughout the season. He can’t just plant the seeds and let it go. He won’t have fruit that way.

So what about me? How am I patient as the farmer is patient? How am I establishing my heart for the coming of the Lord? I’m still trying to think about this and as we are in the second week of advent, I think this is a valid discussion to start. So tell me what you think:

  • What does it mean for you to actively wait in your current season and stage of life?
  • How are you establishing your heart?
  • What does it even mean to ‘establish your heart?’

Have your own questions? Throw them out there! I’d love to hear them as well as your thoughts.

Wading in Tension

A few months ago, an acquaintance of mine shared a thought that I had to chew on for a couple days:

An artist has to wade through the tension in life, but really, the tension is the gift.

The tension is the gift.
Do I ever look at it like that? I don’t know about you, but I spend my days striving to rid my life of tension. Solving problems, knocking things off my to-do list, trying to free up as much time for myself as possible. Toil free, work free, problem free, tension free.
And yet, tension always seems to show up. In relationships, in my schedule, in my work. It is always there. Like the pimple that just won’t die!
preppy bohemia lens clouded womanAt least, that’s how I’ve been seeing it through the glasses I’ve had on for most of my life. But through a new lens, tension begins to look a little different.
For the past few weeks, I have been going through the interview process for a job I would really enjoy. I am optimistic as I wait, but just over my shoulder is the fear that I may not get it. It seems like the perfect fit for my current employment needs and my experience, but a lot of things in the past few months have looked so positive and then fallen through. So that niggling voice in the back of my voice keeps saying ‘If you don’t get this, you’re not going to find anything else. This is the only job that will fulfill your needs and desires. Don’t get this, and you’re stuck, kid.’
There’s the tension: hope and fear, truth and lies, success and failure.
So I’m in this holding pattern. Waiting. Interviewing. Hearing from references called. Everything looks really good, but there is still that chance it may not work out.
This is the tension I wade through. I’ve become super jumpy, waiting for my phone to ring with a number I don’t recognize…which has happened and it has not been the employer. Lots of near-cardiac arrests without much reason.
But this is the gift.
In these two weeks, I have got to put to practice what a friend calls giving up ‘material for sacrifice.’ I have been given a good desire–to do good work that encompasses my gifts. And I have no control of that desire being satisfied. I can get really drawn up in fret and desperation if I let myself. But it’s not supposed to be that. That’s not what tension is for.
Tension is the gift. It’s the offering.
When I trust in God, offering my desires up to him, that is when I experience the freedom and peace he offers. I am able to look towards either outcome of this process with courage. I am learning to trust my father and his good gifts.
This tension of being so close, but not close enough to know is my playground right now. It is a season that is hard, but full of rich discoveries.
Tension is the gift.
Dwell on that. I hope you find it true.

Why is the Rug Gone?!

A few weeks ago, I had written about heading into the next chapter. About my dream internship and moving on and growing up.

…And then I stalled out.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, some things fell through at the company and there was no longer a job for me there.

The wind was knocked out of me.

I was back at square-one. Back at my old job. Back in that stage I was ready to be done with.

Even three weeks later, I am still a little stunned. I’m not really sure where to go from here. The rug has been ripped out from under me and now I just feel stuck.

It is in these moments that I feel more than a little confused. What was the point of  going through that if the experience wasn’t going to be substantial? Why did that even happen, God? 

I’m lying here, back to the floor, rug now askew, and I have nothing. No idea, very few prospects, and empty hands.

Remember when I said I wanted this year to be about godliness and contentment? God answers prayer.

So I’m here. Back where I started: job that’s not my favorite, future uncertain, and loans to pay. Am I going to thank him for this. Am I going to learn to trust him in this. Because I have a job in which I get flexible hours and work with some awesome people. Because I have a God who has promised to fill my needs and guide me in a story he is writing to his glory. Because here is not such a bad place to be “stuck.”

I have been given a talent here. Am I going to invest with this little and prove myself faithful for more? Am I going to be obedient and learn to live fully where I am placed? Is there really anything else I can do? Godliness and contentment. That I what I have asked him for. This is how it is being given to me right now.
So I can scramble to get the rug back where it was, or I can trust it was moved for a reason.

I really feel God calling me to stay put for a month or two. Some opportunities are arising that I would not have been able to look into had I still been at the internship or another job. (Don’t worry, I’ll let you know once they’re set in stone.) I have more time to devote to my novel and was just given a wonderful plot twist only yesterday. I have time to invest into my small groups and writing group and my friends. I have been given an opportunity to enjoy what I have been given. Even if it was not given in the way I would have preferred.

So, yes, the rug has been ripped out from under me, but with purpose. Even if the purpose is not yet clear, I am going to trust that I have been placed where I need to be. I’ll tell you how it goes from here.


P.S. Tune in Thursday at noon. I’m trying something new and want to know what you think!

I Live in My Parent’s Basement with 50,000 Cats…

The title is what it says.

No, I did not get a cat. I will not get a cat. Gross.

In the house my parents recently bought, there is a huge bathroom in the basement where me and my sister’s rooms are. And the walls are covered in cats. Lots of cats with staring eyes and odd facial expressions.

I love our new home. There is plenty of room to entertain people and I’m really figuring out how to make my space my own. It’s wonderful.

But the title is what it says. I live in my parent’s basement with 50,000 cats.

Not exactly living the dream.

Here is a close-up of my lovely cat friend. I think
the hearts beside the names signify some sort of
rating system, though I’m not sure why Fat Cat
is better than Calico Cat…

‘Tis the season for engagements. ‘Tis the season of remembering that those engagements are not my own. ‘Tis the season for discontentment and materialism and poor-me-ness. ‘Tis the season to forget what this season is truly about and wallow in self-pity and loneliness.

This season is not about me. Not the Christmas season, not this season of life, and not life in general.

And yet I feel entitled to pout. Pout because I live in my parent’s basement with 50,000 cats. Pout because I am alone at Christmastime. Pout because I have been alone for a while. And pout because its just easy.

Honestly, I often hold a negative view of singleness because I am lazy. Rather than seeing each season as the classroom God has placed me in, I wine and belly-ache, trying to get my way with no avail. I am wasting what God has given me in the hear and now.

Rather than spending this time investing in the friendships, opportunities, and time he has given me, I allow myself to sit and do nothing. By doing nothing, I get bored. My days become filled with discontentment, loneliness, and honestly too much Netflix. Rather than investing in a redemptive friendship, I watch White Collar reruns. Rather than deepening my relationship with God, I deepen the butt divets on my couch seat. Rather than taking time to better myself and my craft, I piddle away my creativity trying to formulate witty tweets and statuses that will garner numerous retweets and likes. I am wasting this season.

I am not seeking God more fully, I am not growing in community, and I am not becoming a better writer. I’m hardly traveling beyond the basement!

If this is singleness, then yeah! This is shit!

But I have fallen for the grand lie. You see, I have not been doomed to singleness and a life among the cats. I have been blessed so completely with opportunity up the wazoo!

This is the cat I can seen from the shower. Notice his
disturbed facial expression. I call him Peeping Tom Cat.

Here is the truth:
My parents are wonderful God-fearing people who have encouraged me to live my dream and pursue the calling I believe God has given me (aka. writing.) My parents are sensible people who understand that writing pays nothing…. sometimes negative nothing. As such, they allow to me live in their house RENT FREE as I pay off my schooling and pursue a job in the publishing industry. Let me repeat: I live in an awesome house, complete with pool and cat-laden bathroom RENT FREE.

As such, I have an opportunity to gain experience in my field of study. I have a splendidly patient supervisor who wants me to learn and make industry connections. God has equipped me for this position in oddly comical ways and has provided wise counsel exactly when I need it.

I have time in the evenings to work on the novel I’ve been itching to get to for the last three years. I have a chance to host small groups in my home and grow in relationship with the word of God, the people of God, and the spirit of God.

Because I am living rent free and have a wonderful job that helps me keep the loans in check, I can begin to save to travel. I have the chance to invest my time, treasure, and talent into so many things that I would not be able to be as devoted to if I had married right out of school.

God has blessed me with the season of life that I need right now to become who I am called to be. I am not settled yet. I am not all he is going to make me. I am not ready to be married and it is not until I get off the couch, and out of the basement, and into his word that I begin to realize there is more to this season than my wants and desires. There is a God who is shaping me to be his servant no matter what lies ahead. 

I live in my parent’s basement with 50,000 cats.

Title is what it says. I live there as God trains me to go out and embrace his will. I won’t have the company of the cats forever. Time to devote to my writing won’t be so generous in the future. The quiet moments with my Father won’t be as easily gained.
I need to enjoy and embrace this season while it is here. This is one chapter of many more and the next one can’t begin until this one is written.

It’s gonna be a good chapter. I can feel it.

The Weight of Wait

Patience is not my virtue.

Moving quickly. Getting things done. Rushing. Worrying. Griping. Those are my virtues.

I don’t do waiting.

At least not well.

bd637-58939a7305c7c0e4c04bbe0f927d7dbeAnd yet the answer to everything right now is ‘wait and see’. The house we put a bid on—wait and see. My dream internship—Wait and see. the publication I sent some work to—Wait and see. Having that guy I met get in touch with me—Wait and see. Having a job out of school—Wait and see. Everything—Wait and see.

The point of waiting, I don’t see. Instead, I wallow in self-pity because I may or may not get hired. We still may not be moved by Christmas. I may not get published. I may never hear from that guy again.

Heck! I may never get a real job and have to live in the musty basement of my parents current house, own a cat I hate, writing stories no one cares about only to die alone in the end.

Or I may just realize the truth: I am not in control. Of anything! The fact that these things are not working out in my time frame is glaring evidence of that.

You see, often when we aren’t getting what we want, we are being offered God instead. I have forgotten that this week.

As a result, I have spent my days moping, impatient, and fretful.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
Lord Almighty,
Blessed is the one who trusts in you.
-Psalm 84:11-12

What I have been offered is a life guided by God, my heavenly father. He is not holding out on me. As part of that gift, I have been given this season of waiting.

It will not last forever so I must reap the lessons laid out for me here. Is it easier to pout? of course! That requires no effort. Absolutely no giving of self. Bu that calling is beneath me.

I have been called to wait an consider it pure joy. I am called to embrace this season–this portion with grace and gratefulness.

Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
Apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will duffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You will make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
–Psalm 16

Here’s to the journey.