learning to thrive in the "waiting season"

Thursday, October 9

If you've been following this blog for a half minute, you've seen a lot of talk about how i'm in a "waiting" season (which is essentially a nice way of saying I'M IN A SEASON THAT SEEMS SLOW AND BORING and sometimes like a waste of time!) *Gasp*…I said it. Don't we all have seasons like that where we reminisce on the "good ol' days" where we were engaged in epic work {like helping trafficking victims in Nepal, or living in intentional community in diverse neighborhoods} or we dream about the future and exciting opportunities awaiting us?

But the present…oh geez…what a drag. survival. just get through it. press on.
the struggle is real.

Currently, i'm in grad school using my brain cells more than I have in years, Kevin's working, and we're living with his parents in the suburbs. Don't get me wrong, i'm so incredibly grateful for the Lord in providing us with all we need to sustain ourselves in this season. But I itch to be moving along towards something that seems adventurous and purposeful, and new.

Lately, i've been incredibly challenged to quit my whining about wanting to be "somewhere else" and start thriving in the precious time God's given us here. We're HERE, that's the bottom line, and we don't have to wait till we're THERE to be a blessing or make a dent in the bigger story of redemption.

It's like those cheesy posters…"today is a gift, that's why it's called the present". But honestly, today, this season, it is a gift. It's a collection of days that can have meaning in and of themselves, because it forces us to rely and trust the Father in a way that is different. The waiting seasons make us ponder, think about what we so desire in life…a calibration of sorts. But it also give us space to dig deep into avenues we may have never thought about before. The waiting season, really, becomes a season that actually isn't about waiting, but about pursuing. Pursuing the next step, pursuing our dreams, pursuing other people. I want to look back on this season and see it as a darling in my life. One gift of a year that held purpose, intentionality, and gratefulness.

Here are a few ways i'm learning to thrive in this pursuit…

1. Posture: A few weeks ago I told myself it was time to posture myself in a new way. Instead of just seeing this season as a necessary step for what I really want to do in life, I needed to see it as an integral part of my spiritual, emotional, and physical life now. Today is REAL, today MATTERS, today is where it's at baby! So my posture needs to be active, it needs to be intentional, and it needs to anticipate good stuff happening (instead of forecasting the good stuff for the future).

2. Lots of dreaming & lots of praying: God loves a dreamer, and every good dreams starts with a foundation of prayer. I've been focusing on spending my mornings sitting in my big comfy chair, drenched in the sunlight, praying into all the ideas and dreams and thoughts God has given me. It's so fulfilling to know that never a thought or desire is wasted on the Lord. He is so tender and so creative in partnering with us in our visions.

3. Get Involved and Be Intentional: Those dreams…they can start now: What's to say we can't take active steps to be involved in areas where we have been dreaming? Kevin and I dream of living overseas and building relationships with the people we meet there. And then we realized, if we can't physically be overseas this second, why not work to get to know the people that live HERE who are from overseas! So we found a group that works with international students, and we've started to volunteer and meet new friends! {see here} There is something so beautiful about living into your dreams. Pray and dream BIG, and then take steps!

4. Make your Mark, Build a Sanctuary: So like I mentioned, we live in a room upstairs in Kevin's parent's house. {so glamorous, I know...} For the last 8 months I've just kept all the decor/paint/furniture how it was when we moved in. But that just wasn't us. So recently, I asked Kevin's mom if I could paint the room, decorate, and add my own furniture... in which she totally consented with great approval. I've been craigslisting and yard sailing like a champion, and have put my mark on the room. I now LOVE to be up here, cozied up on my couch, surrounding by my new plants, and inspired by the small details of the curtains, the bookcase, and other items that feel like me. I think it's incredibly important to have a refuge that inspires you. Even if it's just a small nook, the place we dwell is important. It certainly doesn't have the break the bank either…pinterest DIY ideas, garage sale, or buy a few plants for $1.99 at Home Depot. Even little pieces can change the entire feel of a room. Create a room that makes you smile.

5. Challenge yourself towards deep relationships: I often think we are afraid to truly dig deep into relationship if we know we will be moving on shortly. BUT THIS IS A TRAGEDY. Even if you are only in a holding tank for a short amount of time, will yourself to be involved in the lives of others. Human interaction and community feeds our soul. We were born to be loved, and to love others. For Kevin and I, this looks like being committed to our Bible study, getting to know the international students, and planning dinners with friends. I sometimes can get caught up in all the home work I have, but my soul REQUIRES people to walk with me. And so does yours, so find friends and mine that relationship for all the treasures it posesses:)

6. Explore!!: Never, ever, ever lose your awe and wonder. The day we do that, is the day our soul dies a little. Even if you are living in your hometown, there are bound to be places in the surrounding area you've never been! Kevin and I have made it a goal to discover new beaches, new parks, and new towns. The wonder of wandering and the surprise of the view keep us on our toes!! So just get lost and enjoy the journey! This also includes getting lost in a good book. Explore the world through fiction and nonfiction. Get a library card and see the world from a new author's perspective!

7. Be thankful: One of the best ways i've found to enjoy this season is to soak in all gratitude for it. The minute I started thanking God for the little things, is the minute my heart feels at peace. I've tried to make a spiritual discipline of this when I go for a walk, and when I journal. I keep a running tally of all that i'm grateful for.

8. Make boundaries on social media: When we are not where we "want" to be, it's easy to find people on social media who are. It can be soul sucking to look at a picture on IG of someone living their dreams, and to think, "I want to be there too". DO NOT GET CAUGHT UP IN THAT! It only takes a piece of you that is hard to get back, and it makes you a lame friend. We should be so welled with gratefulness for our friends living into their dreams, not jealous. At the root of it, it's satan stealing and destroying our joy. Instead, set some boundaries. A few boundaries i've made in this season are:
- No IG in the mornings: I find i'm super vulnerable in the mornings, so I'd rather wait till i'm in a more stable place before I scroll. This also helps me to accomplish the goal above of spending the first fruits of my day with God. The foundation we give our day is what we feed off of the rest of it!
- Sunday Sabbath: A few weeks ago I decided to completely go off social media on Sundays. It's actually been incredibly wonderful, and helps to refocus my week on thanksgiving.
- Not looking at anything that compares me with others: Social media is kind of obsessed with numbers, and has tweaked our mind to equate the stats of someone to their intricate value. This is so wrong. I no longer look at numbers, stats, or any of that. It helps me celebrate the uniqueness of myself and others in a more positive way!

So here we are.
In a waiting season, that really should be called a pursuing season,
but also a gifting season.
And in this gift of today, thrive.
Don't get stale and bored and mopey,
get excited, pray a lot, and grab that bull by the horn and get on it!
You just never know what the Good Lord has for you:)

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