The trouble with waiting on God


So—I’m kind of nervous. OK, more like really nervous. 

Today is the day before I start a brand new position in a brand new place and my stomach is doing the barrel roll because change is one of the most terrifying things that happens in my world. I go through it enough, you’d think I’d get used to it. But I don’t. And today, as I enjoy a day off before the crazy schedule kicks in again, I’ve become reflective. 

I’ve needed this change for a while now. I wasn’t going to where I needed to go–goals weren’t being met and I wasn’t growing the way I should have been where I was. I miserably trudged through work days, all the while knowing I should make a change, but I simply didn’t. “I’m waiting on God,” I would often say. “He must want me here.”

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And today, looking back, I realize the ridiculousness of that saying. Waiting on God. Waiting on him for what? To send a lighting bolt across the sky, the tail of it scrawling a message that tells me what I should do? Waiting on a grand vision? 

Let me tell you, it’s a phrase I hear a lot–always by people who want to make the best decisions and align their lives with Christ–but a phrase that shouldn’t be said half as much as it is. I’m waiting on God for my big break. I’m waiting on God for a husband. I’m waiting on God to start getting along with my estranged child again. I’m waiting on God to tell me if I should start up that business. 

Always waiting.

And that phrase quietly excuses us from creating the life that He actually has planned. 

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The truth of it is, I shouldn’t always be waiting on God. He’s simply waiting on me.

It’s a lesson that’s been hard to swallow because I have the tendency to absolutely love step-by-step directions from the Almighty. Where do you want me to go, Lord? Show me! I sometimes catch myself thinking. Because if he shows me, I’ll most certainly go there. I wouldn’t even hesitate. If I got a sign or some kind of dream or…well, you get the gist of it. I’m that kind of person.

But I have the power to choose for myself. And so do you. The Lord never gave us agency only to tell us later on that we can’t use it or that we have to wait for his cue. The Lord never says in the scriptures to wait for a sign before making a decision to change a miserable situation, to forgive that son, or to put a down-payment on a house for your family. Instead the scriptures say in Proverbs 16:9, “A man deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.” 

In D&C 58:27 the Lord also discourages us from hesitancy and idleness but instead says, “do many good things of your own free will.” 

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Blasphemy, you might be thinking. How can Kayla say that I’m supposed to choose a direction and just start walking? I have to get the green light from God!

And I don’t blame you for thinking that. All my life I was Queen of seeking revelation. And sometimes I got just that. Sometimes I felt strongly to do something or felt guided by the spirit to take a certain path. But other times Heavenly Father falls silent–an unresponsive ear pressed against the windows of Heaven, and I would sometimes sit on my knees, wondering why something so important would go unanswered. I think that with many of us the silence of God is  the time when our faith trembles and our doubt seeps through the cracks, whispering lies to our hearts. That’s when we abruptly stand up from prayer, clench our teeth and decide he turned away from us. Or it could be the time when we decide that silence is merely our answer to just wait. Wait on God through misery, long days, depression, brick walls that stop us in our tracks from ever achieving anything we’ve ever planned.

So much of our life is spent waiting.

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I fell into that category. It wasn’t that I was lazy. No, I actually can be ambitious to a fault. I can be hard on myself at times or push myself the extra mile when I can easily be satisfied with where I’m at. But I still fell into the category of expecting God to hand over a blueprint and check off suitable directions. It was too terrifying to do it on my own. What if I made the wrong choice?

In the midst of my decision to leave something I had become comfortable with, a job that was good but not the best for where I was headed, I had to become comfortable with slipping into the driver’s seat and using the free will He gave me for such a time as this.

As I once heard in a sermon given by evangelist pastor T.D. Jakes, Heavenly Father never gave the world a chair. He gave the world a tree and we used our talents and our need for somewhere to sit in order to create a chair. He offers raw talents, raw emotions, raw circumstances and materials–and he lets you create your beautiful life.

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I wonder now how many times I passed up an opportunity to create something within my life simply because God was silent and I took that as a no or as a “just wait”. I wonder how many times in my life Heavenly Father simply folded his arms and waited for me to just work up courage enough to pick the path and then ask for help along the way.

Martin Luther King Jr. once eloquently said, “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” For too long I wanted to see the staircase. Too many times I simply want an answer on if I’m even ON the right staircase.

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But faith doesn’t work that way. Faith is using free will instead of waiting to be told. Faith is coming to God with a decision, and trusting that he’ll provide along the way. Faith is penning the business plan and investing the money even when the only kind of answer you have in your heart is desire. Faith is moving your feet.

Sometimes there will be days where you have to wait. Sometimes that’s the answer you get. Sometimes the Lord’s timing isn’t quite your timing and he’ll tell you so. But more often than not we’ll come to realize that we have a Father in Heaven who is just waiting for us to MOVE.

Now here I find myself, looking forward to a whole new journey ahead of me, and it’s natural to be afraid. I can’t help but feel fear that takes the form of the big knot in my gut and my pacing back and forth as I try to decide what to wear tomorrow for my first day.

But I also can’t help but feel that for one of the first times in my life I came across a tree in the path. And I decided–finally–to just get to work and make that chair. 

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  15 comments for “The trouble with waiting on God

  1. March 17, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Kayla, I love the way U put Ur thoughts together. I appreciate Ur openness.

    I’ve seen a lot of “just plain ol’ procrastination” that comes under the label of ‘waiting on God’. And yes, I’m talking about myself!!

    Ur post made me think of one I wrote a short while back – “The Next Step”

    http://itreallyisjustthatsimple.com/forward-2-back/

  2. March 17, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Thank you for writing this, Kayla. The freedom that these thoughts communicate are liberating.
    I am not sure why, but as I read this blog I felt like I needed to keep these thoughts close and apply them to a soon-coming situation in my life.

  3. GMAIL
    March 17, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Words of Wisdom today Thank you Kayla

    Sent from my iPhone-Paul Olmstead

    >

  4. March 17, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Gook luck, girl! Here’s to wishing you all the best with this new direction!

  5. March 17, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Beautiful post. And much needed, I think. My husband and I have been trying to live this way, with the understanding that God wants us to move and He’ll stop us if we turn the wrong way. We ask Him about important decisions, and try to pick the best answers ourselves if we don’t get a distinctive answer. Sometimes, with important questions like “Is it time to have kids yet?” “Is there a specific place you want us to continue our education?” we do get distinct impressions. And sometimes, we ask the same questions, and we don’t get answers.
    The idea of “Stop me if I’m wrong” truly is terrifying…but I think it does fit in with what God told Oliver Cowdry in that passage in D&C about receiving revelation, about studying [the subject] out in his mind first, before asking.
    Thank you for this post – and congrats on your “chair”.

  6. Mindy
    March 17, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Thank you for this article. I am like you in this area. It is a lesson I am learning as well. :)

  7. T
    March 17, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    I agree and I have thought a lot of these same thoughts. I love the way you put your thoughts into words.

  8. Eve
    March 18, 2014 at 12:22 am

    Such wisdom! Thank you!

  9. amandaandrus1999
    March 18, 2014 at 1:30 am

    This is what I needed to hear. Your words and thoughts really touched me heart. You have a wonderful way with words and I thank you for sharing them.

  10. March 18, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Well said! I love the image of the tree and chair.

  11. March 19, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    I just found your blog (via your post The Mormon Feminist Protest…., which I really liked…Amen!). In regards to this post, for many years I have thought the phrase “waiting on God” means to patiently move ahead, obeying the commandments, and doing my best while having faith that what I don’t have or understand now will come in time (sometimes a very tall order!!). The older I get the more I see the wisdom in this, and that it works. I have also heard it explained as serving God. In either case, waiting on God is a way of life. It’s a pretty deep concept!
    I can’t remember any time that someone used this phrase to mean something other than this. Curious. Maybe I’ve been oblivious to it!

  12. Lou Ann
    March 22, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Your inspiring words have been helping me find my faith! It has been a hard life and I have lost faith several times, but reading your thoughts and scriptures , I can relate to many things that you are writing! Thank you for your posts and helping me find my faith! It has and will always be a hard journey for me but hopefully with the help of God I will continue to live and just be!

  13. March 25, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    this is perfect timing for a dilemma in my daughter’s life. Am passing on your wise words. Thanks

  14. April 11, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    I’ve never been to your site before, but this just blows me away! Just what I needed to read. I feel I’ve been waiting for 20 years! I need to build a chair — no, a whole dinette set to make up for lost time.

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