So…. A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about “Waiting on the Lord”. I promised to continue on that theme. What happened? I’ve been learning to “wait on the Lord“! J
This whole process of desiring to know more of what it means to “wait on the Lord” began in North Carolina this summer when Pat, Debby, Jean and I went to a conference called “She Speaks”. One of the speakers said that too often we start a meeting in the church with a perfunctory prayer and then continue as though our own agenda is all that matters. The speaker explained that when they have meetings for their women’s ministry that they stop frequently during the meeting to pray. The women don’t proceed with any action until they have clear direction from the Lord. If they don’t receive any clear direction, they table the action until they do have clear direction. They often spend more time in prayer than they do with the agenda. It became my heart’s desire for this pattern to always be true of FLAME. The 4 of us that went to “She Speaks” began to hold each other accountable for “waiting on the Lord” before we make decisions.
Waiting is hard! Who has time to wait when the day is so full of things to do? My headstrong, prideful, self-reliant spirit rears its ugly head and says, “Let’s just get it done already!” I tend to be task-oriented. I want to see a list being accomplished or I start to stress out about it.
Enter “Breaking Free”. This fall a group has been going through the “Breaking Free” bible study by Beth Moore. I realized that self-reliance instead of God-reliance is a stronghold that holds me back from God’s best plans. Too often I forge ahead with my own plans and then have to go back and clean up messes that I made because they weren’t God’s plans.
I began to search scriptures for every verse that speaks about “waiting on the Lord”. In typical fashion, I found many many verses and thought “I’ll plunge in and write a blog about ALL of these.” I began with Psalm 5:3. God clearly said: “This is enough. There is enough here for you to ponder on and apply to your life. Wait for the other verses.” Okay God.
Psalm 5:3 says “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” NIV.
God pointed out first that it says “in the morning” twice in one verse. Obviously, I need to notice. Perhaps because many days I plunge in first and then speak to Him later when I‘ve gotten into a mess?
What should it look like for God to ”hear my voice in the morning“? Does coming “in the morning” need to involve an hour of prayer and meditation on the Bible? What about days when that would not be possible? Some of the translations I read even said “daybreak” or “sunrise”. How could I do that when mornings are my worst time with POTS and I’m not even up at daybreak or sunrise most days? Many days I struggle till 10:00 or 10:30 in the morning to function. What do I do with “in the morning”?
God brought back to my mind a book that many people at FCC went through a couple of years ago. It’s called “Soul Revolution” by John Burke. By wearing a stopwatch and reminding ourselves each hour to look for the Lord, we practiced living in His presence. “In the morning” has come to mean to me that as soon as I wake, whether or not I’m functional, that I start a conversation with God about the day that continues through the day.
Two translations of Psalm 5:3 stood out to me when I was thinking on what “in the morning” would mean in my everyday life. The New King James Version says:” My voice You shall hear in the morning O LORD In the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up!” Wycliffe says:” Hear thou early my voice; Early I shall draw nigh to thee: and I shall see; Hear thou my voice in the morning; Early in the morning I shall stand near to thee. And I shall see thee.”
Some mornings that might mean a long time of prayer and meditation. But always it will mean that I will come near to the Lord with my soul and re-start conversation with Him. James 4:8 says: “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” He’s there, but He wants me to want to come and stand by him, near to Him and look up into His face. A picture comes into my mind of waking in the morning, Jesus holding my hand and helping me out of bed while I look into His face. He helps me up and puts His arm around me as we start out on the day together. Together.
I’ve also been reading “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. Ann is the mother of 6 children that she is home-schooling. She also farms with her husband in Canada, is an author and blogger. Exhaustion and lack of time are a daily occurrence for her. During a time of deep depression, Ann was challenged to write down “1000 gifts” from God. She began to look for moments of time to be fully present with God and enjoy what He’d laid before her. The gifts she found include things like: the rainbow on a bubble in the dishwater and moonlight on some pillows. There it is! The key to “in the morning”. I need to start “in the morning” looking for as many moments in the day as my humanness can offer to be fully present with God and allow Him to speak to me. I need to go through the day looking for opportunities to say “Oh Jesus! Did you just see that? Thank You!” “Father, I see this is what the day holds. What do you think we should do?”
So now on to the phrase “lay my requests out before You”….what? What’s that You said? That’s a topic for tomorrow. Okay. I’ll wait.
Keep my soul, heart, mind and spirit open to You and Your voice. Keep my fully present to You throughout this day.
With love as I look into Your face and You lift me up!