Just because you’re still waiting doesn’t mean you’re lost

My yard is full of weeds. We don’t have a lawn here at Safe Haven Farm. We have weeds, and at certain times of year, the green “grass” is practically yellow with all the dandelions. But it’s not worth pulling them up. One, there are just too many of them. Two, their roots are so deep and so intertwined with the other plants that you can’t ever uproot them completely. And, three, even if you get them all up, the seeds will still plant themselves in spite of your efforts. So out here, we don’t worry about them.

It’s a never-ending battle with weeds. If you garden, you understand. Could you imagine what gardening would be like without weeds? But weeds never go away, kind of like other unchanging circumstances in our lives. Maybe it would be easier to live without those situations or relationships, but that’s not the path we’re walking.

See, following God is easy when He asks us to do easy things. When He asks us to help a friend, when He asks us to be kind to someone who has been kind to us, when He asks us to be thankful for all the good things He’s given us, those are all pretty easy to accomplish. I mean, I don’t know many people who would turn a friend away if they needed help. And most people I know are kind in return when someone else is kind to them. And from personal experience, I know it’s easy to be thankful for all the blessings God has given me. But following Christ isn’t about the easy moments.

pexels-photoToday’s verse is Hosea 12:6.

So now, come back to your God.
Act with love and justice,
and always depend on him.

I prefer using the New Living Translation when I read the Bible, but when I want a deeper word study, I use the Amplified Bible. And this verse is interesting in the Amplified Version:

Therefore return to your God! Hold fast to love and mercy, to righteousness and justice, and wait [expectantly] for your God continually!

The part that caught my eye this time is the last bit. That part about waiting expectantly always stings, because I’m good at waiting. But waiting expectantly is different than just waiting. Waiting expectantly means you fully believe that God’s going to do something. What really grabbed my attention was the very last word in the verse: continually. 

Stop and think about that for a moment. Wait expectantly for God continually.

That means we’re supposed to be still and expect God to do great things all the freakin’ time. Not just on Sundays. Not just on Wednesdays or whenever you’re at church. Not when you pray. Not when you’re singing in the choir. All the time. Continually. Of course, that also means God is continually doing great things, and we’re the ones who aren’t paying attention.

Sometimes we lose our patience because we have to keep waiting. In our instant-gratification culture, waiting for anything usually indicates that we’ve made a wrong turn or a wrong decision. But that’s not always the case when you’re following Jesus.

Being a disciple of Jesus means that we walk His footsteps, and Jesus didn’t have an easy life. We are to help friends, but we’re also supposed to love our enemies. We are to be kind to everyone, not just the people who are kind to us but those who hate us. And yes be thankful for the good things, but we’re also commanded to give thanks for the “bad” things too.

The Christian life isn’t sunshine and daisies all the time. It’s more like hurricanes and dandelions. It’s pulling up weeds that never stop growing. It’s trusting that God is right even when everything in your life feels wrong, and it’s waiting and waiting and waiting because you believe that God’s going to work things out.

Just because you have to keep waiting doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path. It actually might mean you’re on the right one.

Sometimes even weeds can be beautiful

In the spring and summer, our yard here at Safe Haven Farm is full of dandelions. Weeds. All over the place. We’ve had some years when the yard was practically yellow from all the dandelion flowers. And what I’ve learned about dandelions over the years is that the more you try to get rid of them, the more keep popping up.

Dandelions are like the Hydra from Greek mythology. Whenever the hero would chop off one head, two more would grow back. Weeds are the same way. You can chop them off, poison them, hack them to bits, but they always come back because the roots are too deep in the soil to remove completely. Have you ever stopped to think that worry and anxiety is exactly the same?

No matter how efficiently you think you’ve dealt with your worrying, it won’t go away completely. No matter how far away you’ve distanced yourself from anxiety, those horrible, twisting anxious thoughts keep coming back. And it’s not because you want them. It’s because the root of the problem is buried too deep to reach.

What is the root of the problem? For me, it’s fear.

I’m afraid that I’ll fail, that I’ll disappoint people, that I’ll screw up, that I’ll make a mess of things, and that I’ll do such a good job of it that not even God will be able to get me out of it. That’s the fear that whispers to me. Fear tells me that I’ll never be good enough, that I’ll make mistakes so great and so grave that no one will forgive me. And even as I listen, I know it’s all lies, but somehow I still worry. Even though I know it’s not true.

So what do you do? How do you respond to the paralyzing fear that holds you in place and tries to convince you that it’s not worth even trying anymore?

Dandelion at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Dandelion at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verses are Psalm 56:1-4.

O God, have mercy on me,
for people are hounding me.
My foes attack me all day long.
I am constantly hounded by those who slander me,
and many are boldly attacking me.
But when I am afraid,
I will put my trust in you.
I praise God for what he has promised.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?

Fear doesn’t come from God. That’s not how He works. So if you’re making decisions based in fear, you might want to make sure you’re following the right person. If you’re feeling fear, which is leading to worry and stress and anxiety, that means you’ve got the enemy’s attention. Usually that means you’re doing something right.

I know that’s not much comfort. Believe me. But it’s the truth.

So how do you manage worry and anxiety if it’s never actually going to go away? And it’s not happening because you don’t trust God. You do. You wake up every morning determined to trust Him for everything, yet still that little voice whispers in your mind. And soon you’re in knots because you’re worrying, and then you tie yourself in more knots because you try to stop worrying so that you won’t worry about worrying. Ugh, it’s a vicious cycle.

I don’t know the answer, but I do know who God is. And I know what this verse says. When I’m afraid, I need to trust God. When I’m afraid, that means I’m trying to solve problems on my own. I’m looking at the difficulties I’m facing and trying to overcome them in my own strength, and I can’t do it. I’m not big enough.

The problems in my life are God-sized. And when anxiety gets the better of me, it’s usually those moments when I’m trying to rush God’s plan or trying to do it myself without Him, usually because I feel like He’s moving too slowly.

Trusting God means not taking matters into your own hands. It means letting go of your plans and your dreams and your goals and giving them to Him. It’s hard and scary, and often it hurts because letting go of anything that matters to you isn’t fun. But that fear you feel in response to letting go isn’t from God. It’s from Satan. He’s trying to keep you from experiencing the very best God has, because God can’t transform your life while you’re still holding on to it.

Remember what God promised. He won’t leave us. He wants the best for us. And His plans for us are good. So it doesn’t matter what anyone else can do to you, as long as you’re on God’s side. You stay right with Him, and He’ll take care of the rest.

You can wear yourself out pulling weeds, and they’ll all just come back again the next day. No, just wait. Let them bloom. Let the seeds scatter. And if at all possible, enjoy them. Even weeds can be beautiful at times, and even weeds like dandelions have can be useful.