Monday, November 07, 2005

A Question for My Readers

At what point does "waiting on the Lord" become an excuse to justify laziness rather than an example of virtuous patience and trust in God?

Now is the time for all you lurkers to comment (you don't have to have a Blogger account to comment!) and weigh in with your $.02 on this. What do you think?

10 comments:

pk said...

We can never know someone else's motives. They could be doing the most selfish thing, but to us it looks selfless. Or the other way around, they could be doing the most selfless thing, but we think it's selfish. There's just no way to know for sure. We can have a hunch, but that's it. Often times the fruit or lack thereof that becomes apparent down the road helps shed some light on things.

So to your question, I'd say we have to search out the answer in our own hearts. I've seen people who waited out of faith for a long time...and the fruit was good.

Know yourself. Search your own heart. Don't make excuses; just life faithfully.

K said...

I think part of waiting on the Lord is opening your eyes and ears to how He will choose to speak to you. It may be through your husband, a friend, a flier, a voice over the radio.....God uses us to communicate what He is saying to each other sometimes. Waiting turns to laziness when you close your eyes and shut your ears and find contentment in "waiting on the Lord". Being open to God's calling and using the skills and wisdom He's given you to move when He leads is waiting on the Lord. That's my $.02. I could be way off but that's the way I see it.

Amy said...

Paul--thanks for your thoughts. It is definitely easy to evaluate others' action/inaction at a shallow level without having any idea what God is doing in them!

Kayla--I think your comment hits on part of what I'm getting at. You say, "Waiting turns to laziness when you...find contentment in 'waiting on the Lord.'"

Yet Paul (the apostle, not PK :) urges us to learn with him "the secret of being content in any and every situation" (Phil. 4:12)--wouldn't "every situation" include "waiting on the Lord"?

So what gives? If you are content in waiting on the Lord...are you living Biblically? Or are you being lazy and settling into complacency when you really aren't supposed to be waiting around--you're supposed to be out pursuing something (what?)?

Natalie said...

I think it's all about what you're pursuing...or rather, WHOM you're pursuing.

When the Apostle Paul is talking about contentment in all situations, it seems that it's pointing to a contentment not in his circumstances but IN THE LORD.

Then, tag that onto Ps 37:4 (Delight yourselves in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.)--the goal isn't to enjoy God SO He gives you your desires, but to desire God period. Then, as a natural overflow, He meets the desires of your heart.

So...in waiting on the Lord for a specific circumstance or situation, the goal isn't to wait on Him just so He brings about what you need Him to...but simply to focus on Him and delight in Him. If you're able to do that (which is MUCH easier said than done), then it doesn't matter how long you're waiting on Him because that's not the end goal anyway.

So, that's one side of it. Then, the other--I don't think we're supposed to just sit on our hands until "God moves" in a situation. I used to believe that (and somehow, God honored it at times). But what He's shown me recently is that, as long as I'm pursuing Him and His heart first, I need to just go for the things I want/need/etc. He'll shut the door for the things He doesn't want to come about and He'll open the door for the things He does.

That's my $.02...don't know if it helps, states the obvious or just adds more confusion...

Jules said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jules said...

Hmmm…deep thoughts.

I think a lot of it depends on how you define contentment. If I am “content in all circumstances,” it means that even though my situation isn’t ideal (according to me), I will be satisfied and happy. Not necessarily that I’m happy ABOUT the situation, but content in the midst of it nonetheless.

However, are we ever really supposed to be content with where we are spiritually? Aren’t we supposed to be continually wanting MORE of God…desiring to be closer to him and deeper in our relationship with him? I think in that way discontentment can be a good thing. No, I am not content to be idle and complacent! I desire to keep growing!

I think there’s a difference between wanting more of God, and just plain never being happy. Sure, I want to be closer to the Lord, but I’m not going to throw myself into a “funk” (or allow myself to slip into one) and wait for God to hit me over the head. I am going to be happy and satisfied with my life, while continuing to seek God.

Perhaps the key is to diligently seek the Lord in the midst of our waiting.

Sandra Andrews said...

Hi Amy! It's been a while, but I enjoyed "peeking in" your life a little by reading your blog. Sorry I haven't written sooner...I do miss you and hope that you and Steve are doing well!

As to this post, I felt led to comment because I had a conversation with my pastor on this very same question.
The conversation led to this train of thought... many people use "waiting on the Lord" as an excuse for not "stepping out in faith". We should live with full force and reckless abandonment for God. God will not force us to move or to get up and do something. But if we take the initiative to move, He will be faithful in guiding us and directing our paths. If our intention is to glorify Him and our actions are off track, He will close some doors and open others.

I would like to say that I live out this train of thought in my everyday life...but I think at times I am too scared to really "give it my all". Maybe I'm scared of rejection, or scared of putting myself in circumstances where my growing will be painful, or scared of how it may look foolish to other people, or scared that I may be faced with a costly sacrifice.

Or maybe I'm just lazy.

K said...

Amy, In my answer to you I meant to put more accent on the "close your eyes and shut your ears......" Just like Julie was saying, if you shut yourself off to growing and find contenment, you are settling (maybe lazy) But if you are content to be where you are WHILE you are seeking God's direction, then you are waiting patiently for God's Will.
Sorry I didn't clarify my thoughts better. I hope you are finding peace and the answers you are seeking through all these friends that are sharing their wisdom. You are lucky to have so many Christian friends in your life!

Combs said...

I think that it's a very hard distinction that we can only truly make in our own lives. Personally I believe that God works in two parts, what He is doing and the way we either need to repond or just stepping out in faith. I think that a lot of time we are "waiting on God" he may actually be waiting on us to step up, be the person He's created us to be, and run in a direction. I've found that often if I just simply do that, God is ready and waiting, if He's not been working there all a long. But then again sometimes God tells us to simply wait. This doesn't mean do nothing on the other hand. It means to be watchfull, to be ready, willing, and anxious for what God is doing. So...how does this answer the question? If your not doing something, if your sitting on the couch watching Soap Operas all day not doing anything, you're not waiting for God.
A.T.H.

Amy said...

Thanks for your comments! Kayla is right--I am *blessed* (no luck about it) to have godly friends like all of you.

I have to laugh at myself because I think I was looking for an easy answer. It's like when I used to ask my parents for advice, when I really just wanted them to tell me what to do (which of course they wouldn't do) because I'm so indecisive. And of course all of you basically said, "we can't tell you, you have to evaluate your own heart/life."

Duh, Ame. Ah, it was interesting to hear your thoughts anyway :) I was going for something like, "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed" (Prov. 15:22), or maybe, "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise" (Prov. 19:20).

Natalie: love your thoughts here--"the goal isn't to wait on Him just so He brings about what you need Him to...but simply to focus on Him and delight in Him. If you're able to do that (which is MUCH easier said than done), then it doesn't matter how long you're waiting on Him because that's not the end goal anyway."
Yeah. Like you said--something I KNOW, but something I am not always good at DOING.

Jules: You hit the tension I'm feeling with "discontentment can be a good thing." Am I discontent because God is calling me to something more, and I'm not chasing after it? Or am I sinfully discontent because I'm wanting something other than what I have right now? That's what's at the heart of my original question.

Sandra: thanks for jumping into the conversation :) What you said is so true: "many people use 'waiting on the Lord' as an excuse for not 'stepping out in faith.'" It makes sense to think that "If our intention is to glorify Him and our actions are off track, He will close some doors and open others." I guess maybe sometimes I want to be lazy when it comes to seeking Him--I want Him to "force [me] to move or to get up and do something" so I don't have to struggle through the uncertainty of discerning where He's leading.

When of course, as Natalie pointed out, the goal isn't seeking a plan or a purpose anyway; it's seeking a Person. HIM.

And Combs: No, I'm not watching soap operas and eating bonbons :) Though my computer habits and frozen Snickers addiction is perhaps nearly as bad...

Well, I feel like I've talked a whole lot here and not said much of anything. Perhaps I should go back to good old Proverbs: "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise" (10:19).

Thanks for weighing in, everyone.