“God will not let you stay stuck.”
Weeks ago I read an article with this title, and ever since I have kept that Safari window open on my phone. It’s a daily reminder beaming with hope when the voice in my head tells me I’m stuck.
In this short post, Graham Cooke addresses seasons of waiting and tension:
“We have to resist the urge to doubt God when things take longer to happen than we want or expect. ‘Nothing’s happening,’ we whine sometimes. ‘Am I even in the right place?’
I’ve discovered the more impatient I am, the more God slows things down.
He’s like a watched kettle — He never boils when we’re in a hurry.”
Isn’t that the truth?
Here’s another tab to keep open: Tension doesn’t mean something is wrong.
“When we feel tension, we assume that something is wrong. Yet, I have reason to believe that tension is really just telling us that something is happening. After all, movement cannot happen without tension.”
I remember how my children behaved when they were on the cusp of developmental milestones – cutting teeth, wanting to crawl, wanting to walk, wanting to talk, longing to communicate their budding opinions and preferences. Just before each change, they would suddenly become so unhappy. Impatient. Difficult. RESTLESS. At times even in pain because of their body’s growth.
Eventually I realized their unusual behavior was a sign that change was coming. Not that something was wrong, but that something was happening. Sweet six-month-old Cas grunted cries of frustration when one day, upon seeing a toy across the room, he had the brilliant idea to crawl over and get it. His grunts ballooned to wails when his body didn’t quite know how to make that a reality. Two-year-old feisty Jake screamed in protest when forced to sit still, unable to articulate in words: “Mom, I need to get all this energy out! Let’s go play outside!” And lovely Molly Claire had finally quit sucking her fingers until kindergarten became a reality, and the impending transition called for comfort.
I think we never outgrow the desire to transition quickly. And since life is one long string of change after change, in a way, we are all still toddlers. We are all still learning to walk and run, and we get downright mad or sad when we end up stuck in the middle of the floor or face-planting on the sidewalk. Especially when it seems like the rest of the world is filled with professional marathon runners.
During this season of transition, I am learning anew how to aid the maturation process. Two distinct lessons come to mind:
For one, I’m learning to slow down, because God is never in a hurry. And if He is slowing things down, I’d do well to follow along instead of resist the process. God’s timing always wins, He doesn’t waste time, and He doesn’t usually take shortcuts. If a little one must learn to walk before she can run, then I must be retooled to enter a new season. And my Good Father means to supply me well for what He knows is up ahead. I’m grateful for this, and I want to take it all in – even the hard parts.
I am also learning to consider the tension, anxiety, restlessness and difficulty and reframe them inside the boundaries of His Goodness. Because maybe… it’s actually God. Maybe what I see as pain is actually my requests being made known to Him – the teeth are about to break through the gums! Maybe all these feelings of confusion and weakness are because I’m learning to walk in a whole new place and I just don’t quite have my footing yet. Maybe He’s teaching me a whole new language and I’m struggling to find the words.
What is it they say about struggle and the butterfly?
Transition is real, yes it is.
Graham gives practical advice for any of us feeling restless, wobbly-legged, or wanting to reach for a pacifier:
Next time you come into a situation where tension is present, ask yourself questions like these:
What’s happening here?
What is God moving us into?
What’s the dimension we’re coming out of?
What’s the dimension we’re entering?
What does that look like?
I would add, What have I been asking God for? What if that is what’s happening right now?
Reframing current frustration within the context of our lives and the Goodness of God is so very important. His perspective is best and truest and most hopeful – like a parent’s hand or a blankie to hold onto – and a very present help in trouble.
Take heart, all you toddlers – He never leaves us stuck! Your breakthrough is coming!