This started with the series from North Point Community Church that at least three of my friends mentioned/blogged/tweeted about. Then it went to my addiction with The Civil Wars song, “To Whom it May Concern.” It was all wrapped up into a neat little package by a church that has blessed me so much in the almost two years I’ve gone to it. The series that started it all was Andy Stanley’s The New Rules for Love, Sex & Dating. Rocked my world. Then The Civil Wars started linking all of these thoughts together in my head with their song that reads more like a love letter to that person you’re always waiting for—sometimes impatiently and sometimes in the designed patience that God wants us to live in. And then, in one of those you just have to laugh about how funny God can be type things, all of the past series from Highlands have linked all of these thoughts together into one. Patience, not settling for what we want, but what God wants, worrying, resting in God’s grace-- all of these things that are such a burden on our hearts.
Andy Stanley’s series was one of the most riveting I’ve heard. The main point? Are you who the person you’re looking for is looking for? Wow. Wow. Wow. That was so convicting, inspiring, and true all at once. He spent the next few weeks diving into how to be that person. Watch it.
Then there’s this love-letter-song by the Civil Wars. Some of the lyrics?
Why are you so far from me?
In my arms is where you ought to be.
How long will you make me wait?
I don't know how much more I can take.
I missed you
But I haven't met you
Oh but I want to
How I do
Slowly counting down the days
'til I finally know your name
and then at then end, my favorite part/story of my life/ part that tugged at my heart:
Dear, whoever you might be
I'm still waiting patiently
Waiting patiently –for someone who is not in my life or not revealed to be that person yet? That’s the hard part about anything in life. We rush into things, like marriage, because we're impatient and don't get the timing right-- we (I) don't always listen to God's timing. Sometimes I joke and say, “patience is the virtue I definitely don’t possess.” When I think about it though, that impatience is like saying that what I want is better/more important/not worth waiting for. Clearly that is NOT God’s plan, that’s Satan’s handiwork—a truth that was pounded into my stubborn skull in the two series at Highlands, From the Grave and Life Story.
We’ve been having a series of visiting pastors while ours, Chris Hodges, is on a sabbatical. They’ve been rocking my world just like he does. Rest, worrying, displaying who WE are meant to be, not who we’re trying to be? Yep, those are all hitting straight into the heart of yours truly. The topic of rest was particularly convicting. If we want true rest, we have to surrender our lives fully to the will of God. Ambition, pride, impatience —they’re all barriers from seeing what God truly wants for our lives. The unforced rhythms of grace happen when we stop trying to be something we’re not and relax in God's grace. Yup, I needed to hear that. So many times I limit myself to the paths of others because it’s safe, and I’m not patient enough or dependent enough on God’s plan for my life. … Not gonna lie, that’s a hard thing to realize.
Rick Bezet’s sermon on worrying was by far the part that hit home the most. Every one of my friends knows my perfectionist, anxiety-driven personality. What if things don’t happen in my time frame? What if this awful thing happens? What if I don’t get what I’ve been praying for for so long? What if there isn’t the person I’ve been waiting for for my whole life? What if I don’t get the career I’ve always dreamed about? Worrying is the paralyzing fear that God tries to save us from. It’s a tool of Satan to drag us away. We can’t reach God’s full potential for our lives if we live in fear.
So, once I opened that package, I found rest, relief from anxiety, a stronger trust in God, and an even stronger thirst for God and His plan for my life, not my own.
Whew. Now that sounds like a love letter in itself, huh?
Photos via Pinterest.