So, your plans for your life fell apart. Now what? It might be tempting to simply take yourself out of the planning game. I sure did after my diagnosis. I stopped dreaming, and I stopped hoping. It just hurt too much to think about my now-broken future. So, I sat in one spot—waiting to see what else might fall apart. But that’s not living. Waiting for the axe to fall is just that—passively waiting.
I found a meme on Pinterest (yes, we know those are as good as God’s given Word) partway into this waiting season of mine. It said, “Until God opens the next door, praise Him in the hallway.” Yeah, the hallway, I thought. That must be where I am. I’m just waiting for God to open a door before I take the next step. And just like that I justified sitting in fear and wallowing in my pain. After all, I wasn’t wallowing. I was practicing godly waiting. I was trying to discern God’s will for my life.
Friends, I gotta tell you—that’s junk. It really is. God has made it abundantly clear in His Word what His will is for our lives. He tells us to feed the hungry. Give to those in need. Share His Good News with everyone we meet. Love Him and love each other. And do it all in His name—for His glory.
When we turn our focus inward and obsess about our next steps, we take our eyes off of our Savior and off of those around us. He’s given us MORE than enough direction to move forward. And, if He wants to redirect us—He will! I think the God of the universe can handle that. Don’t you?
My guy and I were talking (in the hallway of all places) about my diagnosis about a year after that fateful day. We realized that nearly all of our decisions during the past 12 months had been made out of fear. Fear of the future. Fear of the unknown. And a gripping fear of making the wrong choices. It’s ironic, really. There we were, wanting desperately to move in the right direction, but we couldn’t even take a single step because we were too afraid.
I’m not suggesting we all run wild and do whatever we want as long as we’re moving forward in some direction. But I am saying that real living is not simply waiting.
Real living is looking at what we know to be true in Scripture, praying for wisdom and guidance, and stepping out in faith—trusting that God will let us know if we’re going the wrong way.
I know we’re neck-deep in metaphors at this point, but I’m going to wade a tiny bit deeper. What can I say? I love me some figurative language.
I believe the way we think about life influences our attitudes and actions each day. Those add up over time to equal who we are and what we’ve done. If we keep telling ourselves we’re in a hallway—or in a building of any kind—just waiting to enter a different room, I think we’ll end up living a more timid life. But, if we tell ourselves the truth: That we’re on a grand adventure with the Sovereign God—one with epic mountains, quiet plains, rocky valleys, rushing rivers, and vast seas—my guess is we’d live a little differently. We’d live like we believe we’re walking with the Almighty. We’d live like we know our future is secure, no matter what lies ahead. We’d set aside our waiting-room living (as Ann Voskamp called it), and dive into the journey of this life in all its fullness and frailty.
If you’re in a hallway right now, you might be scared. Tired of the beatings you’ve taken from this life. That’s okay—I’ve been there, too. But, friend, I’d challenge you to step out of that hallway and into the beautiful plan God has for your life. It won’t be void of pain and sorrow. But, He’ll use those things to shape you into His likeness and to show those around you what a Mighty God we serve. And that—that sounds like worthwhile living to me.