Have you ever gone through an unbelievably difficult, dry season? A season of hopelessness, heightened emotion, or searching and doubt? I have. I am. And it is tiring.
In the last couple of months, I have learned an incredible amount about myself, about life, and about my relationship with the Lord. My faith has been challenged, my friendships refined, and my patience tested. In fact, that is exactly what I want to talk about today – patience. Or rather, waiting.
They say that patience is a virtue. It’s actually Biblical fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and for me, it’s a lot harder than it seems. I would guess that this is probably something that everyone struggles with in some aspect, whether it be in relationships, school and work, or our faith. Patience has a lot of facets. It’s kind of abstract; a blanket term covering times of waiting, trusting or often a combination of both.
After experience and reflection, I want to break that term down into two categories: indefinite waiting and definite waiting. Definite waiting is the type of waiting that can (relatively) be measured. It’s the kind in which you know how long you must wait; for example, waiting for a test result that you know you’ll get in a week. It can be hard, but you know that eventually you will get your result or answer.
The second kind, indefinite waiting, is what I want to focus on today. Indefinite waiting is the agonizing period of anticipation we have when we are expecting something and don’t know when (or sometimes even if) it will come. I have experienced my fair share of this – maybe even more than a ‘fair’ share. It can happen when we are praying for something, expecting something from a relationship, or waiting for changes we can’t control in a specific area of our lives. Out of these situations often come feelings of hopelessness and desperation. It’s a slippery slope that can lead to frustration, depression, blame, and reckless decisions.
Now you guys, I really wanted to wait and write this post this after I had time and motivation to pray about it and come up with some solution or explanation for this kind of waiting. I wanted to have an answer; a process or practice that can eliminate or subdue these seasons from our lives. But, truth be told, I haven’t found it. More than that, chances are that I never will find it. However, I have come to learn that these situations are ones that we learn how to manage, not diminish. So, I want to share with you some things that the Holy Spirit has taught me through the seasons of hopelessness I often find myself in.
- Remember you are never alone // I know this one is vague and indefinable, but if you let the truth of it pierce your reality, it will change you. If you need reminders that the Lord is constantly closer than your very skin and bones, here are some references to remember and repeat to yourself when you feel abandoned and alone.
Romans 14:7-8 | Deuteronomy 4:31 | Deuteronomy 31:6 | Romans 8 (yes, the whole chapter! It reflects the Lord’s unending love and pursuit of us.) | Matthew 28:20 (Jesus’ words!)
- Let yourself be taught, refined, and grown // You learn an incredible amount if you allow the Holy Spirit to move. The Lord uses these times to speak. He may use a quieter voice, and you might just have to listen more and move less, but He does. Make it your mission to wake up every morning, repeating declarations of commitment to pursue God’s lesson for you in this season. Pray that the Lord gets the most glory for the situation (even when you don’t feel like it!!), and I promise he will not only bring you through your circumstance, but he will hold your hand through it and let you look back on it and see exactly what you can learn from it – even if you don’t understand the purpose.
- Don’t morph your own ideas and plans to look like they’re God’s // This is a huge one. Keep your mind and prayers focused on finding His will. Sometimes, we are asking God for confirmation of our own will and he hasn’t even given us a plan yet. Don’t let yourself forget that God doesn’t just bless our plans – he gives us his own. I know this is hard, but stay persistent in your prayers and don’t lose hope. We may not know the promise, but the principle that God’s timing is always perfect still remains. It, whatever it may be, will happen according to his will and will not be delayed from that (see Habakkuk 2:3).
- Trust the Holy Spirit’s prompting // If you feel the Holy Spirit say something to you and you’re unsure of it, write it down and pray over it every day until the Lord makes it clearer to you. Pray for wisdom, discernment, and clarity. I promise the Lord will be there to guide you through. It is so much better to pray for something that you feel the Lord has placed on your heart and end up being wrong than to completely disregard it. Don’t miss out on a blessing because of a lack of confidence in your ability to hear the Lord speak.
If you can consistently commit to these things, I promise the Lord will be faithful to bring you through your situation, whatever it may be. There is power in your prayers, and there is freedom in the truth that God’s plan will prevail if you are praying for it. It’s not easy, but Jesus never promised that it would be.
The burden of your surroundings and circumstances can be overwhelming, but we have the gifts of God’s mercy and joy amidst all of them. Give God the entire weight of your worries, and he will replace them with His presence.
// Alexa //
P.S. I am a musician, and so naturally music is a huge part of my life. Because of this, I often find comfort or peace from the Spirit when I am meditating on Scripture and/or allowing the lyrics of a worship song to seep into my soul. I have often heard the Lord speak so clearly while sitting in a quiet room with a cup of coffee or a journal to write my thoughts. Below I have linked some songs in which you can listen to and find comfort in your season of waiting. It might just transform the way you think of God and your faith! Enjoy!
Closer Than You Know // Hillsong United | Do It Again // Elevation Worship | Even When It Hurts // Hillsong United | Never Alone // Hillsong Y&F | Thy Will // Hillary Scott | Trust // Hillsong Y&F | God I Look To You // Bethel | Joy Is Coming // River Valley Worship | Let Go // Matt Hammitt | Name Above // Freedom Church