Saturday, March 30, 2013

The quiet wait

Have you ever had to wait? You know something is changing. You're not able to read the outcome of what's coming. You hope it will be good, but the past is still with you - and you're not sure you're going to be able to negotiate the future.

The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter has become an annual day of reflection. Today I look out my office window at a forest of bare branches among the evergreens. Inside those trunks, life starts to stir. The cool nights and warming days trigger sap to move and buds to swell and open.

A few plants are early adapters. The Japanese maples have begun to unfurl; the witch hazel is setting out leaves after dropping its blooms; the sword fern fiddles are peeking out of last year's growth. But the big oaks, maples, and alders? They look deader than dead while their new energy accumulates.

Are you a quick sprout-er or does it take you a while to leaf out?

How do you negotiate the "between" day or days - when what's coming may not be confirmed but the past is too uncomfortable to hold onto? When you're being propelled into the future, whether by choice or circumstances?
  1. Remind yourself that God knows the past, present, and future. He's able to help you into - and beyond - tomorrow. Be intentional in asking and listening for His help and counsel. For Jesus' disciples, hope had been crucified. The Messiah was dead. In contrast, God knew the glorious resurrection, the unanticipated wonder of Easter, coming in the morning!
  2. Transition is a process. Give yourself grace as you explore, fail, reinvent yourself, and become more than you are today. Like the disciples, you may huddle behind a door in fear. Or you may be like the women, doing the chores of grieving to move on.
  3. Let the past rest. You can't change yesterday. Resolve to move ahead with who you are and what you know. Yet don't let the limitations of the past determine the rest of your life.
  4. Let the day unfold. Wait and watch. Transition is uncertain, scary, wonderful, awful, delightful, painful, healing, and many other experiences. Emphasize the emotions, actions, and attitudes that will move you forward.
  5. Get a coach or mentor while you're negotiating change. Mentors show you what they've done. Coaches help you figure out what you want and how to get there. (NOTE: I have some "free" hours available for phone-coaching. Please contact me if you're interested in being coached. Your benefit: coaching. Mine: hours toward certification.) Trusted friends and family can also help you see where you are and where you're going.
  6. Take steps toward the future. There are big and small steps in any change. Sometimes it means journal-ing dreams and hopes; sometimes it means making a phone call or sending an email; sometimes it means moving to another job, a new neighborhood, or another city. However, don't just blindly move. In a rafting metaphor, you have some control of the process: get your paddles and safety gear in the boat and make sure it's in good repair. Be purposeful about pointing the raft into the stream, and then let the current help get you there.
  7. Evaluate whether you're moving in a good direction. Change course if you need to. Jesus' disciples spent listening to the risen Christ. The experience of Pentecost empowered them with resources and possibilities beyond their wildest imagination. If they had said, "We've never done this before. It's more comfortable not to think about what God's calling us to do," most of us (2000 years later) would never have known about Jesus.
  8. The future is better than the past. God has taught you through family, friends, school, experience. What you know is important. Who you become serves and changes the world around you. Whether one or many are affected, fulfilling your destiny and following your passion is your choice. GO FOR IT!
What transitions have you negotiated? What about the new place surprised you, either in the moment or in retrospect?

Read more:
*You shall eat your bread to the full, and live securely in your land. Leviticus 26:5 NLT

*And taking the five loaves and the two fish, Jesus looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And all ate and were filled. Luke 9:16-17 NLT

*Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV

Moravian Prayer: Jesus, may we recognize you in the miracles of daily life: bread shared; a helping hand; a welcoming embrace. Feed us with your Spirit, so we will be inspired and willing to work toward your just and compassionate realm. Amen. 

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