I still remember the days when summer break was like much needed oxygen after a long run. The school year felt like an obstacle course with hidden surprises and constantly moving finish lines. By the time I turned the page of my crowded mommy calendar to June, I just longed to sit in a lawn chair, read a novel and squint at kids splashing in a pool through my dirty sunglasses. I was exhausted and ready to sit still.
Of course my kids weren’t ready for a rest. They clamored for adventure and art projects and outings and play dates. I knew they needed a change of pace at least, a change of scenery if possible and a change of attitude by week two. But to them summer was a time to cram in all the activity and fun that the school year prohibited. I longed to sit. They wanted to go. I longed to be quiet. They wanted to squeal and laugh and sing and yell. I longed to breathe. They wanted to create and build and climb and bake and decorate.
I let them have a little of all of that. But I won out more times than not. Mama needed to sit down and kids needed to spend some time reading books to fill their summer reading list from the library. I worked it in creatively, but I got my rest. And it was bliss.
Today those kids are adults and the school calendar no longer controls their biological clocks. It doesn’t control mine either.
I do not long for rest the way I did when raising children kept me perpetually on my feet or buckled behind the steering wheel of my mommy van. I do not desperately flip the pages of my calendar, hungry for white space. I do not have to get in my car alone and drive away from a noisy house in search of quiet for my ears and rest for my soul.
I do not crave rest. I, like those children unleashed from school with energy to spare, hunger for adventure. Like a child who has soaked up knowledge dutifully and obediently for months in subject areas I did not sign up for, I itch to pour out more than I take in, roam new terrain, explore new opportunities and laugh with unbridled joy.
But God has me resting.
I’ve asked nicely. I’ve bargained. I’ve whined. I’ve wondered what I did wrong to cause me to have to stay inside and read a book on a sunny day. I see others playing. I see others creating and building and exploring and climbing and running and holding hands and laughing. But I watch from behind a window, and I’ve not been allowed to go outside and join up.
I don’t think I’m speaking a foreign language to you. I think you may know what it feels like to want to do more, climb higher, go further, give bigger, laugh louder, splash wetter. I think you may know that there are seasons when God insists that we sit on the edge of the pool a little longer before jumping back in.
I have craved rest and had to wait for it. Now I long to get up and move forward, but God has me sitting in the lawn chair, dangling my feet in eager anticipation.
When God Says Wait
This morning my daily Bible reading from my First 5 app took me to Numbers 9. I read the whole chapter, but verses 15 – 23 drew me in. This passage was familiar to me. It explains how God’s presence in the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night directed the newly freed Israelites on their journey to Canaan. Before, this scripture taught me how to discern God’s will: you stop looking for God’s will and just seek Him instead. If He moves, you move. Where He goes you follow.
But today I noticed something new–something encouraging and convicting–in verse 22.
Whether it was two days or a month or a year that the cloud lingered over the tabernacle, staying above it, the sons of Israel remained camped and did not set out; but when it was lifted, they did set out.” (Numbers 9:22)
Who knows why God would have the Israelites linger in some spots for less than 24 hours and camp out in others for months or a year. Who knows why God would allow some seasons of your life to speed by like a much anticipated summer vacation while others crawl sluggishly like the days before payday.
But this I know. God is good. He has a plan. He’s working His plan. And He can be trusted, more so than a mama who sends her swum-out kids to their rooms for naps even though they protest. The Lord doesn’t put us in holding patterns to punish us or because He forgot about us (as I sometimes did with my kids). His timing is perfect and He asks us to wait well.
I’m still waiting. But now I’m waiting with purpose and faith. I’m keeping my eyes on God and enjoying His presence. When He moves, I’ll move. Until then this is where you’ll find my lawn chair.
Are you on hold right now? I know how easy it is to get antsy and anxious. And I know the temptation to feel left out or behind. But God created you for a unique purpose and calling. Today that purpose may simply be to rest in Him, to read His Word, to sing His praises, to trust His plan. Undoubtedly He wants you and me to be obedient to Him today…right where we are. Choose well your words, listen more than you talk, forgive when you’re slighted, serve selflessly and honor Him with all you do…even the most mundane.
If your soul feels restless with a sort of insatiable hunger these days, I’d like to suggest my Bible study, Satisfied…at Last. It could just be that your hungry soul is driving you to reach beyond God for satisfaction. Don’t. Learn from God’s Word how He alone can satisfy your hungry soul and provide the contentment and fulfillment you crave.
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Between this and day 5 of Habakkuk study, it’s just what I needed. I’m in a hard season of being still, waiting and watching… Thank you for the reminder to seek HIM out, not just His will. Always love reading your words Kay.