being present : seasons
My commutes on Thursday mornings are eeaaaarrrrllllyyyy. I fondly refer to myself as a “morning person” but a 5am alarm can be jarring at times, even for me.
The drive time from my home on the mountain to the little school where I recruit, enroll, and advise is anywhere from 18 to 45 minutes. This particular Thursday, I took a different route to work and pulled up a podcast I recently discovered (I know, sooo late to the party). It was an interview between two leaders of major global ministries – one a pastor/revivalist/minister that I deeply respect and the other a preacher/teacher/ministry leader that I had the privilege of volunteering under for awhile during the California-years.
So I’m driving along, in the dark, on streets slicked shiny from the rain last night, light from solitary roadside lampposts sweeping across my windshield in an even pattern, and then these words come booming into my consciousness, resonating deep within my spirit. Havilah spoke them ordinarily, normally, but with urgency that alluded to the weight she felt because of her experience living their truth:
It’s just not your time yet.
What she meant was, when you’re frustrated because you haven’t written that book yet, or preached to thousands yet, or started a church yet, or gotten married yet, or had children yet…when you feel like you’re straining, trying to bring His promise to pass, to align yourself as best you can with the truth of what He’s said He’ll do and it’s just not happening…maybe it’s because: it’s just not your time yet.
Banning laughed a little in response, saying that leaders hate hearing that. We are taught that as capable people who are aware of what God wants to do in us – in our communities – on the earth, who are doing all the right things, being in the right places at the right time with the right heart posture with the right people surrounding us – all of those things SHOULD be a perfect opportunity for God to bring about His promise RIGHT?!?
Because, maybe it’s just not time yet.
Banning followed up after the interview with another zinger that is vital when processing the power of this realization.
Maybe it’s not your time yet – so then what time is it?
He went on to use the metaphor of physical seasons. Maybe you are looking forward to the Summer season, the harvest season, and you have lots of plans and exciting experiences in store for the Summer. But right now – it’s not Summer, is it?
Maybe it’s Winter, and you need to find rest and peace in the opportunity to stay inside, to hold your people close in the cold and wet and nurture through presence and good food and quiet moments in front of a flickering fire. Maybe it’s Spring – a planting season – to prepare and sow good seeds, to delight in the green shoots that are pressing up through former-hard soils, the birds returning from their migration journeys, soft, gorgeous, invigorating colors and sights and smells everywhere you look.
No, it’s not Summer. It’s not the hot, sunny, come-on-and-play-outside season that you’re desperately longing for – but can you appreciate the beauty, the power, the goodness that is available in this season, this reality, this now?
If we can find a way to live in the tension of the full belief that God will be faithful to fulfill His promise to us, and yet be fully present in this current season that we find ourselves in…I think we will find a beautiful, spacious, healthy place. That’s not to say it’s not uncomfortable at times.
I also think about the “now and the not-yet” tension that Jesus-followers live in daily…the fact that we have Heaven available to us today, right now, as we live and breathe and have our being on earth y e t we live in the assurance that this isn’t our home, and we have another future that awaits us in eternity that is nothing like we can experience in this life. Another topic for another day.
Where is that tension for you? That place where you need to wrestle with the discomfort of what your present reality is – being present and content in that – and moving towards the significant dreams, plans, and passions that are birthing in you?
For me, I find the tension in the fact that I’m a planner, I’m a dreamer, I have lots of goals that I want to achieve in this short lifetime I’ve been blessed with – to speak, to teach, to love, to lead – but I feel like if anything is true for me in the past 6 years, it is the truth possessed by that statement: “it’s just not time yet.” Finding contentment and gratitude and passionately applying myself to preparation, dedication, consistency, and simplicity of focus has been a lesson that has taken years to feel like I am taking even one step forward in. But I’m all about it. Because I have learned and aligned myself with the fact that I don’t want to miss out on what God IS doing for the distraction of what He seems to not be doing. It’s not worth it anymore. My worrying and striving and pining isn’t making the fulfillment of the dreams come any sooner or quicker. And there are massive gifts and joys and fulfilling experiences now that I am free to delight in fully and presently engage with. There is more peace in this way, I’m finding.
It’s uncomfortable only when I give in to the temptation of discontentment. Only when I compare my journey to someone else’s. Only when I get my eyes off of my Provider and try to provide for myself.
Be encouraged, dear reader. You’re on the right path. You’re doing the right things. Choose gratitude and choose to live in the tension. Your time is now – and it is also coming.
photographs by fabulous Madison Kay Photography © 2016