Have you ever realized how much time you find yourself waiting? We wait in the grocery line. Maybe, you are waiting for the right job offer. You might be waiting for positive test results. We wait in huge lines to go to sporting events or concerts. We could be waiting for a loved one to stop their addiction or destructive behavior. We could be waiting for a miracle. The bottom line is… waiting is a huge part of our lives.
I think waiting can be one of the hardest things we do in life, but it can also be a life changing experience. I have been watching the Winter Olympics since they started a few days ago. I love watching the athletes compete, but what really inspires me is each individual athlete’s story of what they’ve gone through to get to compete at the Olympics. No matter what sport they are competing in, each athlete has had to wait for this moment in time. They have faced many challenges in life and have persevered to get where they are now. They’ve learned to wait.
We can’t all be Olympic athletes, but we can learn to be good at waiting. Let me share this quote I saw on Instagram yesterday that Toby Mac posted. “Healing takes time. There is a reason the Lord waited 22 years to reunite Joseph and his brothers. The lessons were found in the waiting.”
After I read that quote, I knew I needed to sit down and write. I fell apart 22 years ago when I started experiencing panic attacks that completely took over my life. If you have experienced panic attacks, you know how scary they are. I felt like I was going to die. I really didn’t know what was happening to me. I just knew I needed help! I finally got some relief after my doctor prescribed some medicine that calmed the attacks down and I also started seeing a counselor.
I had a major misconception in my mind about healing from my abusive childhood. I thought it might take a few years and then I should be better!!! Boy was I wrong! The panic attacks continued for years before they went away and I am still in counseling. People that I love have made comments to me about why it’s taking so long for me to heal. I have beaten myself up over those comments. I have pleaded with the Lord to heal quicker. But, I have finally realized that there have been many lessons that I’ve needed to learn the past 22 years.
I have been very impatient with my process. I have gotten angry, cried a lot and pleaded with the Lord to heal me. But, the bottom line is… I want to know God. I want to learn. I want to understand. I want to change. I want to help others. I am determined to move forward and I will do whatever it takes to move closer to a deeper relationship with my Lord and Savior. He is my gold medal. He is my reward.
I want to share a story with you that is in the Bible. This story is about a paralyzed man in the book of John. I’ve read this story so many times, but I have learned a new way to look at it. This man, and several others with disabilities, were lying by a healing pool of water. Jesus enters the scene and learns that this particular man has been paralyzed for 38 years.
Jesus walks over to him and asks, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The question that Jesus asked the paralyzed man is the same question that He asked me 22 years ago. “Do you want to get well?” My response was a little more challenging than the paralyzed man. “Why would you even ask that question? Of course I do! Why do you think I am sitting here shaking all over?” (Thank goodness the Lord is patient and kind!!)
The next words that Jesus says to the man are, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
My response, again, was a little more verbal than the paralyzed man. “Do you see that I am shaking over here? I am asking for healing, but I want it right now! I can’t keep going on like this! I am going to have a heart attack from these stupid panic attacks. Get me out of this mess!!! How am I supposed to just get up and walk?”
I am laughing now, as I remember those words. I was a very desperate woman! I didn’t want to wait. I wanted healing right now! But if He had healed me at that time, I wouldn’t have the lessons I’ve learned while I was waiting. I wouldn’t have the journals, the books, the Bible studies or the counseling that He has given to me. I wouldn’t have the relationship I have with Jesus and I wouldn’t be writing this post.
I wanted to be healed immediately, just like the paralyzed man. That was his story. My story is different. I have had to wait for my healing. Now that I can look back at those really hard years, I am so grateful He has gotten me through them. I have learned that His timing is not my timing. His will is good and perfect even when it is really hard to understand.
At times, the waiting process can been excruciating. The paralyzed man waited for 38 years to be healed. When Jesus came to him, he had a choice to make. Do I believe this guy can heal me or will I ignore His question and just keep lying here? He chose to believe Jesus, so he was able to get up and walk away from his spot by the pool.
If you are waiting right now for something to happen, let me share some things that have helped me in my waiting process. First and foremost, I have to spend time with Jesus. I have to talk to Him. I journal because it helps me get my feelings out. Counseling is crucial. Find a reliable friend or friends to support you and pray for you. Spend time reading and studying the Bible. God’s words bring the truth that you are desperately searching for. I have read countless books that have really inspired me to keep moving forward. If anyone wants a specific list of books that I have read or studies I have done, please contact me. I can give you many to choose from. I am here for you! I want to help you move forward.
May I also add that friends and family mean well when you ask their opinions, but God is the One who truly knows the right answer. We need to ask ourselves if their opinions or comments line up with God’s word. I know I have fallen into the trap of listening to others more than God.
Let me leave you with some very wise words by Oswald Chambers and Jim Cymbala.
Chambers “Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led. But it does mean loving and knowing the One who is leading. It is literally a life of faith, not of understanding and reason—a life of knowing Him who calls us to go.” (Or, get up and walk!)
Cymbala “Faith enables us to see God on top of all our problems. If we see only the problems, we get depressed and start making wrong decisions….”Unbelief” talks to itself instead of talking to God…. When we talk to ourselves, we’re not talking to anyone very smart, because our outlook is very limited. But if we talk to God, we’re talking to someone who knows everything. He knows what He promised in the beginning, and He knows exactly how to fulfill those promises no matter the circumstances.”
If you asked me if all the time reading, counseling and studying is worth it, I would definitely say yes! My mental health is worth it and so is yours!! The lessons I have learned have gotten me to where I am today. I won’t be completely healed till I die and see Jesus. So, while I am waiting, I will keep moving forward towards that finish line where Jesus will be standing with my gold medal in His hand. Oh, what a glorious day that will be!
Until next time….This is my journey to joy!