This downy woodpecker’s body language communicated anticipation. He sat there, eager and ready for his turn at the suet lunch counter. When the second the other downy left, he was there.
I know there are times when it’s important to wait passively, and I’m not good at it. For so long I believed all waiting (especially when waiting for God) required a resignation of sorts – a reluctant standing still. I prefer action and at the very least fidgeting.
Over and over I wondered (at times with my teeth clenched) if there was another kind of waiting that I’d missed along the way that would still please God.
Like Mary of Bethany. She sat, but her sitting was full of energy while she waited to hear every word Jesus spoke. At first glance, her position at His feet seems passive, but I’ve come to believe her waiting was full of energy like a woman on the edge of her seat – eager, intense, poised to move, and ready to receive something great. Like the downy woodpecker.
Psalm 27 is one of my favorites and people who know this have often reminded of verse 15 which says, “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” (ESV) I get the feeling what they want is for me to cool my jets.
My heart desires to do right and dig deeper. When I feel that way, I turn to Strong’s Concordance. Oh, my goodness – I learned that the word used in this verse for wait is a verb – it’s not a passive thing, and the definition is: looking eagerly for, to linger, to expect, to hope for.
This kind of waiting is not sitting around with my arms crossed over my chest, my toe-tapping in boredom with my eyes closed so no one will see me rolling my eyes (but they might assume I was praying) and then pretending that this kind of waiting is sacred.
It’s anything but. Instead, this right kind of waiting (in certain circumstances) is active and motivated by hope. Sort of a holy kind of fidgeting. Yeah, I know, that’s probably stretching it.
Anyway . . .
While waiting for the birds to come and get their pictures taken – okay – biding my time until they to come in for the seeds I put out to bring them closer, I’ve been remembering times of waiting that were active.
When Grandma Joy was coming to our house. While we waited for her to arrive, Mama prepared foods she would enjoy, Mama and Daddy planned on sleeping in my bed, and I’d sleep with Grandma in theirs on the main level, and Mama made a list of the things her mother liked to do. My brother anticipated games of checkers, and I could hardly wait just to be with her and tell her all that was in my heart. I got out the things I wanted to show her – like that book report I received an “A” on, or the poem I’d written, or a funky flower I’d drawn.
We waited and counted the days and kept busy getting ready. One thing on my list was making sure I took no babysitting jobs and didn’t make plans with my friends. When she arrived, we lingered longer at the table with her or sat close by while she played the piano and sang.
Our waiting to do the other stuff in our lives was also active and enthusiastic, and we didn’t return to normal until she got back on the bus to go home.
To me, there is a grace in this kind of active, joyful waiting.
I’ve also been pondering The Parable of the Talents. I do NOT want to be the servant who buried the talents he’d been given to do something with because he waited too long, did nothing, and then blamed his intentional decisions on his master.
Sometimes, even when I knew better, I’ve said, “Well, it must not have been God’s will for my life.” Often, even before I’ve finished that sentence, there’s been a nudge of conviction in my spirit, and I’ve wondered to myself, “What if it was God’s will for me to do what it would have taken to see that happen?”
The possibility that I blamed God for not using the talents He’s given me to do something, even if I can’t measure the results is enough to make my heart sick.
The other servants didn’t try – they actively obeyed their boss and increased his investment in them while waiting for him to return.
When it’s time for me to leave here for heaven or Jesus comes for all of us who believe, I want to have done what He gave me to do!
The same day the downy above stopped by so did this sparrow, and it seemed to me he looked right at me, and it felt like he might be saying, “What are you waiting for? Take the picture already!”
And there was that familiar tug in my gut and this question, “What about those stories you want to write and the new way you want to get them and your photographs out there?”
I was procrastinating because new things are risky and when something scares me, I’m good at passive waiting. Yeah – I know – hypocrisy is an annoying thing.
Today I said yes to a new way of doing things, and while there are no guarantees, internally, I’m sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to take in new lessons willing to do my part to make it work.
And here’s the cool part: no matter what happens I’m choosing to wait actively. Courageously. Enthusiastically. Hopefully. Boldly.
Until Next Time,
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