Last Sunday was an extremely difficult day for me. For the longest I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I felt exhausted, frustrated and even disappointed with God. I couldn’t figure out why, despite all my hard work, my situation never seemed to be where I thought it should be. I never doubted God’s Word, His ability, or His power, but I did question my situation, why He’d “abandoned” me, and what I was doing so wrong. To my surprise, once I became quiet and heard what God had to say, the answer was simple and clear. My lack of work ethic wasn’t the problem; however, my hard work was.
Don’t misinterpret. God appreciates and values a diligent work ethic, but all too often we get so caught up in working hard and bringing the vision for our life to fruition, that we forget to allow God to do His part. That was me. I know God’s vision for my life. It’s so clear I can see, I yearn for it, I even live it at night in my dreams. I know God’s vision for my life is too big for me to accomplish on my own, yet somehow I got caught up and began to believe that it was MY responsibility to make all the things God had shown me manifest. So I worked…endless. I’m talking two, three, four jobs to ensure everything I dreamed of became reality. I was working to make something happen that was never in my power. That’s why I was exhausted and frustrated. I’ve spent years working, pushing, and fighting to manifest God’s plan when in reality only God can do so.
As I lay in bed Sunday night crying and pouring out my heart, I heard Him say, “Trust Me. Do what I say and nothing more.” I have to believe that God’s plan is enough and stop looking for supplemental things to do to “make ends meet.” I have to trust God’s ability to do what He promised He would do. I have to remember that if God showed it to me, then it’s His responsibility to do it. It’s only my responsibility to follow His direction.
Sarah is an amazing biblical character who’s often celebrated as being the mother of God’s children. But in a lot of ways her story is painful to me. God promised her the world, then, it seems, left and forgot about her. For years, Sarah sat with nothing more than a vision from God. After awhile, any human would begin to question what they were doing wrong and working to correct the error. Unfortunately, that’s not what God wants from us. He wants us to seek Him, hear His instructions, and do only what He tells us to do. The vision is too big for us to “fix” and if we attempt to “fix” it, it’ll only cause a bigger conflict that we aren’t prepared to handle (look at the ongoing conflict in the Middle East between Sarah and Hagar’s offspring).
As I read my Women of the Bible devotional this week, a quote struck accord with me. It read: “We think waiting, and doing so quietly, is somehow less worthy, perhaps even a bit lazy. We’re great ‘do-it-yourselfers,’ and we often get in God’s way when we take things into our own hands.” Sarah got in God’s way when she gave her husband, Abraham, her servant, Hagar, to have kids with. I got in God’s way when I begin working like a Hebrew slave and not trusting God to provide my way. What about you?
Lesson learned: listen to God, and make sure you’re during what He’s told you to do. If He tells you to work, work. If He tells you to sit still, sit. But stop trying to do you in an effort to manifest His vision. It won’t end well.
For more on Sarah’s story, read Genesis 16:1-20; 16:1-8; 17:1-22; 18:1-15; 21:1-13; & Galatians 4:22-31.
Also, enjoy these scriptures on waiting on God: Psalm 27:14, Psalm 130:5, Isaiah 30:18, and Micah 7:7.