I recently made a major domestic “oops”.
Our town sends out the trash truck weekly, but they only pick up recyclables every other week. By the time week two rolls around, historically we’ve been overflowing with seltzer bottles, milk cartons, empty cereal boxes and more. In fact, we actually called the waste company to upgrade us to a larger recycling bin…but apparently I should have asked them to supersize that.
Needless to say, during recycle week we are on high alert, prepared to deploy our bin at a moment’s notice. Occasionally we forget which pick up week it is, and glance as inconspicuously as possible at our neighbors’ driveways hoping for a clue. When in doubt, we send the bin down anyway; better to let the neighbors know we can’t count than be stuck with overflowing heaps of #4 recyclables.
But a week and a half ago my husband said he was going to take the recycle bin down and I uttered roughly the following fatal words: “Don’t take it down yet; I have a little more to add.”
Did I remember to add more? No. Did I remember that I was supposed to take the recycling down? Yes. Right as the recycling truck passed by my house the next morning. (I can’t think about it too long or I’ll have trauma flashbacks.)
Perhaps I could take my bin across the street at a neighbor’s house? Maybe they’d listen to my pleas for mercy! I could stash a few recycle items in the bins of some good-natured friends! Ooooh! I could drive up the road, cut the recycle truck off with my mini-van and stage a truck heist!
OR…I could be a rational person for once and just wait. Eventually recycling day would come again.
But nearly a month of stashing recyclables has a way of changing “waiting” to “longing”.
So here I am, recycle day dangling a mere three days away, with an overcrowded bin and more besides.
This is a calendar worthy event, rivaling my children’s own birthdays. In fact, I may have to resist the urge to hug the recycling people in my sheer elation at their arrival. If you pass my house on Thursday and catch me twirling my empty bin in the driveway and crying passionately, please know they’re tears of joy and promise me you won’t have me committed.
But I’ve found lately that the recycling truck isn’t the only thing I’m waiting expectantly on. Recently I felt impressed that God was doing something new in my life, but I couldn’t tell you what for sure.
I had some ideas, (don’t we all?) but I wanted the full, detailed, google maps version of my life plan, complete with pictures and alternative routes in case of an unforeseen delay. I figured if I pestered God long enough, He’d give me the complete 411.
It’s been weeks now and in place of piles of recycling I have pages of journal entries contemplating what God is up to. I’ve been praying and wondering and using my master’s degree in overthinking.
And the truth is…I haven’t gotten any burning bushes or writing on the wall. (OK…there’s writing on the wall, but it’s crayon and suspiciously includes all the letters in my three year old’s name.) God hasn’t made plain whatever it is I thought He might be leading me into.
So….maybe God’s just reminding me that He’s always up to something and I should keep my eyes open. Maybe He will give me some more direction in the future.
But no matter what, I think He’s smiling a bit because in all my wondering and journaling and waiting…I’ve been sitting at His feet a little more. I’ve found that the waiting has turned into a renewed longing for God. In all my straining to see what’s ahead, I’ve been humbled to find that there’s no clearer place to view my life than on my knees in prayer.
And even though I’ll probably forever want to stay two steps ahead of God when it comes to my life plan, I’m learning something about what it means to wait on HIM instead of treating Him like a divine GPS. He doesn’t just want me to wait on Him for directions, blessings, or dreams. He wants me to learn to wait WITH Him…eagerly expecting that when I set aside my to-do list to seek Him, He’s there already.
In this season we’re all waiting on something. Maybe it’s the look on your child’s face when they open that gift they never thought you’d get them. Maybe it’s a long anticipated trip to see family for the holidays. Maybe it’s a fresh start in the new year. Perhaps you too are waiting for that recycle truck so you can finally be rid of all your empty amazon boxes!
My prayer for each of us is that those places of temporary expectation cause us to be aware of a deeper anticipation bubbling up in our souls. In all our other waiting, may we learn to desire God Himself and find that what He has to offer us in His presence today (and tomorrow and the next day) is more than enough for us. He is greater than anything else we could hope for or dream about.
And He won’t keep you waiting.
You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6 I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’