Waiting For Permission
Have you ever waited to be noticed for weeks, months, maybe even years, only it never happened? Maybe it was a promotion at work. Or maybe it was for the cute barista at the coffee shop to finally make eye contact. Or to be invited into a group you’d watched from the outside. Maybe it was a life calling that would break you out of the mold of mediocrity and finally place you where you always knew you belonged.
I remember the faces of dozens of friends and acquaintances in their early 20s who tread water in their minimum wage jobs for years as they waited for God to initiate some sort of revival movement that would sweep them off their feet and make the rest of their humdrum lives unimportant and unnecessary. I was one of those people. If ONLY we pressed into prayer, intercession, and worship with more sincerity and passion, we would surely tip the scales and miracles, prophecy, and physical manifestations of God’s power would roll over the earth like a tide.
Dealing with disappointment
Then it didn’t happen. Then it didn’t happen again. Then it didn’t happen a third time. You get the picture. Something between my expectations and reality didn’t mesh. I was waiting for something that didn’t happen. And it wrecked me. Really wrecked me.
When your expectation of life is to see healings and signs and wonders every day and instead you feel like your prayers are fizzling out before they reach the target, it’s not long before Depression lies at the door, knocking.
What’s Plan B?
The first problem was that I didn’t have a backup plan. I had connected dots in my mind that weren’t connected by God. And in this imagined reality, all commerce essentially would halt and people would walk the streets in an unrestrained atmosphere of glory and majesty. I had read books about the Welsh revival. Azusa street. And more. I don’t know what all these other Christians are waiting for, but I’m willing to be the guy who ushers this back in again.
The problem with planning on an unrestrained revival is that you’ve made no plans to earn a living. Or develop skills. Or form a family. None of these meager earthly things have been accounted for. So when revival fails to show, guess what? Depression it is!
Are you crazy or eccentric?
There’s a bitter culture shock that comes with realizing that everything you’ve planned on life being about is out of order and that you have wasted valuable time that should have been spent honing skills and practicing presence.
Oftentimes the difference between crazy and eccentric is the degree of wealth and success that result. If you bank your whole life on a risky investment and it pays off, you’re a genius. If it doesn’t, you’re a fool. I felt like a fool.
You never know what the end result will be before you start. The choice to act now comes with all kinds of risk.
- What if you choose the wrong path?
- What if you act at the wrong time?
- What if the right path was going to present itself to you a month from now and you’ll miss it if you get distracted with this now?
The gurus and the ad agencies will tell you to JUST DO IT. And they’re not wrong. But they’re not always right. Sometimes action would be the hasty choice. I think it all depends on what type of person you are, and what your motivation would be to NOT “do”. What do you gain by inaction?
- Sometimes we wait to hide from pain and risk.
- Sometimes we wait because we fear our motives.
- Sometimes we wait because the choice is unclear.
- Sometimes we wait because we don’t know what we want.
I’ve waited for each and every one of these. But now, as I approach 40, I realize that I could have chosen to GO at every moment and it would all end up okay. In moments of uncertainty, action isn’t the enemy. You can press forward toward a temporary goal with an open heart and a willingness to be course-corrected mid-trip. I think that’s the answer. Bill Leckie used to call it “Ready? Fire. Aim.” It means action and motion and willingness and flexibility. Momentum is often achieved before the destination is visible.
You can’t steer a ship that’s anchored. Steering only takes effect when there is motion.