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January 7, 2013

What Are You Waiting For?

I started the new year jobless, and have been learning what it means to wait and trust in the Lord.

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A few weeks ago I made what might be called a careless and foolish decision: in a time of economic uncertainty and at a stage of life that has me screaming for stability (read: mid-20s), I quit my job.

It made for some uncomfortable discussions when family or friends would ask me about my plans for the beginning of 2013.

“Um, to be determined?” I would say sheepishly.

But if it was poor planning on my part, it has been perfect timing on God’s. In propelling me toward an exit, God is challenging me to put my hope back in his promises—promises that begin with the birth of the Savior.

Navigating the early stages of adulthood has me perpetually “in waiting,” praying for a sustainable job, meaningful relationships, and a sense of place and purpose. I’m both an impatient and fretful person. Waiting is difficult for me, and thus, at times, so is hope. I struggle to distinguish that still, small voice of God amidst all the instructions one hears when it comes to the future. In the swirl of imperatives the world offers about living a fulfilled life, I lose track of the real source of it. I start believing that misery, hopelessness, and dissipation are part of the life God intends for me.

Henry David Thoreau wrote about this conundrum in Walden: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. . . . They honestly think that there is no choice left.”

When my job started to encroach on me like a prison, I resigned my whole being to the suffocation. I believed my situation was too small or common to matter, that bringing it before God would make me petty and ungrateful, that I couldn’t ask for deliverance.

We are a people easily enslaved, aren’t we? By fear, anger, selfishness, sorrow, weakness, indifference, and despair. But the feeling of entrapment Thoreau describes is far from the truth of our status as God’s children. Jeremiah writes in chapter 29:11 and 14: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope . . . I will be found by you . . . I will end your captivity.”

The coming of Christ promises us freedom from the world’s modus operandi—we are rescued from death and offered new life. And not just another life, but a transformed life. What’s more—that different, better life need not wait until heaven. Satan and the broken world around us would have us think so, but Jesus insists: “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10).

I think it’s perfect that Christmas is closely followed by New Year’s. With the birth of Christ, all things were—and are—made new. As applications for jobs, internships, and grad schools pile up, my future feels as hidden as ever. I don’t know what’s next. But a renewed sense of freedom has been shooing my fear out of the dark corners. As I stand on the brink of huge change, I feel God reminding me that the transformative power of his incarnation isn’t restricted to a single day of the year, phase of life, or region of my heart.

As we usher in 2013, what are you waiting on God for? Perhaps, like me, you have been pressing on with a weary soul. Maybe you too are seeking freedom from the trap of resignation. What would it mean for you to live in the hope of life that is Christ and his coming? Could you dare to believe in his promise of abundant life, on earth as it is in heaven?

Ashley Gray is a writer and regular contributor to the TCW blog.

Related Tags: adjustment, adventure, attitude, belief, calling, challenges, choices, god's faithfulness, god's will, growth, new year, trusting god, unemployment

Comments

Well, it was the end of 2008 that i realised my time was up at my former job. And so i resigned having no clue what am going to do after i leave that job. All i had was the good feeling in me that i was doing the right thing. In march of 2009 i had this idea of starting up a company doing the same work i used to do, God provided everthing i needed to do that and five years later i dont regret a thing for leaving my job in the first place. I am healthier, happier, more organised and am all smiles because God as been sooo faithful. Actually, a year later i had left the company sadly it collapsed. Am sure God was taking was protecting me from that.

I couldn't relate more. I'm in this same kind of situation now and I have the same feelings regarding my future, but I agree with your statement that the transformative power of his incarnation isn’t restricted to a single day of the year, phase of life, or region of my heart. Thanks for this encouraging post, Ashley!

Hi, Ashley! I have also been out of work for several months, and I also have an accumulation of grad school applications, decisions about internships, and job applications! But what I am trusting God for direction for is knowing whether or not this is time to step out on my own (I am a counselor and a writer) or am I to continue to work for someone else for a season? I don't miss my old job at all, but do miss my clients. Thank you for your post; will pray for God's direction and guidance for you as well!

Romans 5. Was my devotions today. Perseverance in tribulation gives us patiences - patience - character - character then hope. Hope in Him..HE IS IN CONTROL AND HE CARES FOR You. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He is interested in your character and what you learn during this time. He knows you need a job and He will be faithful.

This could have been written by me. I have been very weary of late. But as of two nights ago, I've decided to surrender to the Lord, to the best of my ability, the things that are weighing me down. Every year I have hope of the breakthroughs, I am firmly trusting in the Lord, that this is the year of answered prayer. Really enjoyed this article, hit the nail on the head!!

Thank you so much for this encouraging post. I have been jobless for months following a redundancy. But, I have learn that God is faithful and as Romans 8:28 says " He works all things together for our good". The very good question for me to ponder now is "could I dare to believe in His promise of abundant life here on earth as it is in Heaven???Thank you Ashley..

Even though I am a lot of years older than you Ashley, I am in the same place you are due to a move across country. I am praying for a job that fills the desires of my heart. God is taking my husband and myself through another walk saying He will provide for our needs and we are having to wait on Him. I am re-evaluating just what God has for me and realizing He doesn't necessarily want us to take a job just to pay the bills. He has so much more in mind for us. Thank you for your article! It was very encouraging. Praying you grow as you walk to path with the One who loves us so much.

God bless you, Ashley... I was not going to comment but then I thought you should know that your article is blessing a lot more people than would comment (and a lot more than you would guess)... And so many of us (with different backgrounds and cultures) can so relate... We thank God for the encouragement and the call to commitment you have given here. May He continue to show Himself strong in all

Wow....Ashley, you just wrote the story of my recent life. I really needed to read that someone my age was going through the same thing. I'm practically growth, and trying to decide whether I should transfer money over from my credit card account to pay bills, or if I have enough trust in the Lord that he's going to provide that money right in time.

Thank you so much for the encouragement.
~Sarah

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