Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Waiting on God with an Impatient Heart

I first posted this blog in July 2012, but felt today was an appropriate time for a reminder about God's grace for waiting (as well as impatient) hearts. He is always faithful. He is always good. Whatever you are waiting for, take heart: our God is good.


Picture this.
There's an old man sitting on a park bench with $10, 000 cash in a bag and a signed, first edition copy of your favorite book in his hand. And maybe some donuts. He owns a publishing house, and he's ready to make you a great offer on your work in progress.

The catch? He'll only be sitting here five minutes. And once he's gone, that's it. He's gone for good.

What lengths would you go to to get to that man on time? Too early or too late, and you will have missed the opportunity. It seems obvious, doesn't it? We would do anything it took to get there at the right time.

And yet it hit me the other day that metaphorically speaking, this is exactly the situation we are in every day as writers. We have a story inside our hearts. We have faith in God's call upon our lives. The man is sitting on the bench, so to speak. So why do we struggle so much to believe it's all going to work out?

We operate with such a limited perspective. Remember the kaleidoscopes you played with as a kid? When we look at just this one moment in our lives, it's like we're viewing the world through a kaleidoscope. We color the limited landscape in all different ways with just a turn of our hands. The thing is, God's got so much more planned. He has a purpose for your whole life. He sees it all.

Source: Uploaded by user via Joanka on Pinterest

Have you ever looked at a book you've written and felt anxiety about it? Maybe you feel that way now. I think most writers operate with a certain level of worry existent all the time. Is my book going to be good enough? Will I ever find the right agent? How long before a publishing house buys it? And then, what about the reviews that roll in?

But these worries come because we allow ourselves to get out of sync with God's timing. We believe in His promises, but we try to get ahead or behind the pace He's set. Doing so causes all sorts of trouble for whatever season we're facing in our writing lives.

Imagine yourself running with a crowd of people. Yes, I know that for some of you, the image of yourself running is difficult to picture, as, if you're anything like me, it hasn't happened since high school. But bear with me here. The race starts, and you all start running together. Before long, you fall into a rhythm. Some people rush ahead of you, and others fall behind. Some are running right alongside you and help you find your own groove. (We call these critique partners, and they rock.)

Before long, you become very observant of everyone else. Those in front of you are getting all these opportunities, and those behind are learning from your mistakes.

How much easier is it to look at everyone around us rather than to see the opportunities right in front of ourselves?

The thing is, God has equipped you with a particular pace, and operating outside of that is going to throw you off. If you rush ahead, you're going to get tired, and if you lag behind, you're going to miss the opportunities He's set in your path.

I want to encourage you today that God knows right where you are in this season of your life and your writing journey, and He has you there for a reason. Resist the urge to look ahead or behind. Instead, look around. You don't want to miss the opportunities He has placed before you because, like the man on the park bench, once those are gone, they're gone for good.

We can avoid so many of the things we worry about if we just press on. If we stop telling God we need to be faster, or things need to slow down. Forcing something that's the wrong timing will never make the timing right.

And when the timing's right, we will have peace in that. Imagine what would've happened had you never gone to the place you met your spouse, had you never met your best friend, had you never decided to write. A few moments, a few choices different, and your life wouldn't have been the same.

So whether you're waiting to hear from an agent, a publishing house, or even to hear God's next step for your life, be of good heart. God has not forgotten you or let go of His plans for your life. He is holding them, carefully tending to them, as He has been doing all along. Every day, every moment, is just another step toward the next chapter of His plan.

Your moment will come.

Psalm 27:14 "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." 

Can you think of a time in your life where you waited and you're glad you did?

Ashley Clark writes romantic comedy with southern grace. She's dreamed of being a writer ever since the thumbprint-cookie-days of library story hour. Ashley has an M.A. in English and enjoys teaching literature courses at her local university. She's an active member of ACFW and runs their newcomer's loop. When she's not writing, Ashley's usually busy rescuing stray animals and finding charming new towns. You can find Ashley on her personal blogFacebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. She is represented by Karen Solem.


Debra E. Marvin said...

Re-posting is great... this is EXACTLY the message I needed today. I learned about the hurry up and wait club a couple of years ago and so much more about God's grace and timing in the last 15.

I'm in 'crazy' mode right now and I'm not stressing because I believe in God's timing. And I know He has a plan for my life and wants to bless me as His child.

And I'm a great believer is que sera sera. I just need to do my part, use opportunities and work steadily every day toward my goals. If something doesn't work out I wait or I move on. Time and again I've seen God's perfect timing at work.

Thanks, Ashley!

Jill Weatherholt said...

Such a beautiful post, Ashley! People are funny. We can wait 30 minutes at a restaurant for a table, but we have no patience when it comes to waiting on God. I've realized no time is wasted when you're waiting on God. Thank you for the reminder!

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Wow, I think God must be speaking to me. This is the third, count it one-two-three, blog I've read today about waiting and perspective. I am storing up all the sweet nuggets in my heart and my mind right now. God has a reason for showing me these. :)

I've waited for all the best things in my life. For the right man to come along who could actually love me and my idiosyncracies, for our two amazing kids, and yes, for writing. And YES, I'm so glad I waited for each of these!

I loved your verse at the end. Such a great encouragements, Ahsley!

Lindsay Harrel said...

Sooooo what I needed to hear today, Ash. God has been working this message through my heart a lot this year so far. He's asked me to slow my writing way down so I can focus on my marriage more and getting healthy. It's been hard, because I'm so goal-oriented and just want to do the next thing and work tirelessly on my book. But God's got the perfect timing, and I'm learning that rushing doesn't do me any good.

Julia M. Reffner said...


This is one of my favorites of yours. I'm glad you picked this one today. It ministered to me again this morning. Thing God definitely wanted this one up today.

Susan Anne Mason said...

I was thinking the same thing, Jeanne. I'm in waiting mode right now, but trying to keep busy by working on other manuscripts.

I so believe in God's timing and praying for patience! LOL.

Thanks, Ashley. Love this!


Susan Anne Mason said...

P.S. Praying for all you guys too!

P.S.S. Just booked my flight for Sept!

Ashley Clark said...

Debra, I just love what you said: "I just need to do my part, use opportunities and work steadily every day toward my goals. If something doesn't work out I wait or I move on. Time and again I've seen God's perfect timing at work."

I think there is SUCH profound wisdom in this statement. Sometimes we spend so much time looking up to the sky for an earth-shattering revelation of grace that we don't realize God has already given that to us in the day to day moments and the (sometimes boring) opportunities we have every. Thanks for sharing!

Ashley Clark said...

Jill, that's a beautiful way to phrase it-- no time is wasted when you're waiting on God. So, so true. Recently I've come to realize that I often consider the "harvest" a time when I see results of what I've been working for as I expect those results to be-- but really, I have no idea what God's harvest for me is going to look like. His plans are so much greater than my dreams. Plus, there's so much more that goes into the crop. The daily watering, weeding, etc. is just as important although perhaps less extravagant than the bloom of the flowers. So often, the harvest is just over the hillside. Thanks for sharing! :)

Ashley Clark said...

Jeanne, thank you so much for sharing that! I hadn't originally planned to repost today, so I appreciate that encouragement that it ministered to you! Hugs!

Ashley Clark said...

Lindsay, well-said! I also think it's wise of you to "slow down," as you said, because I've come to realize along the way that the healthier my heart is, the more transparent I can be with my writing--another post for another day! :)

Ashley Clark said...

Julia, you are so sweet! Thank you for that!

Sue, I want to encourage you that I absolutely think you are making the right choice to let your heart move forward to the next project. With my last book, I so BADLY wanted it to be bought as a series that initially, I could think of nothing else. But realizing that was no longer within the realm of my control, I decided (after some good advice!) to invest my heart in my next (current) project, and I really think this story is turning out to be the strongest yet. I think that's one of the hardest jobs of a writer... we have to learn how to invest ourselves so fully, yet also always keep our heart open to the next story God gives us.

Debra E. Marvin said...

Thanks for your sweet words, Ashley. One advantage to adding up the years is that I'm finally understanding how much of what I worried about became a non-issue with God's provision in place.

Casey said...

This line: The thing is, God has equipped you with a particular pace, and operating outside of that is going to throw you off.

That one right there. It is EXACTLY what I needed to read. I need to put that on my computer at work. Perfect, perfect reminder.

Ashley Clark said...

Isn't that the truth, Debra? Fretting never seems to do anything productive, yet it's so hard to stop sometimes!

Casey, you are so sweet! Thanks for sharing! :)

Unknown said...

Ashley, I appreciated this so much today! I fall into the comparing myself to other writer friends and always manage to end up wanting to throw away everything I've worked on when I see how successful they are. The reminder that God made us all to work at different paces was an encouraging reminder tonight:)