Recently, life has been… eh.
I’ve definitely been in the valley, rather than the mountaintop.
It’s been over a month since I posted a blog, and that’s not because I haven’t written them. It’s because 14 posts are sitting in my draft folder waiting to be sent out into the world, but not right. Not ready. Not yet.
The past while, I’ve been restless, stuck, overwhelmed, feeling like I don’t know what’s next and terrified of this being all there is. What if there is no “next?” I ask myself. “What if this is it?”
I’ve never been good at staying in one place, or doing one thing. I entered my first airplane when I was a toddler, so I guess I can blame my parents for that. (Back then they took kids into the cockpit before the flights and gave them little pilot badges. Ah, the 90s.)
One year ago, I had just moved home from Scotland, saying goodbye to a lifestyle in which I traveled constantly, and I was so very (very very very) happy and content to be here, in Lancaster, home, even though I wasn’t sure what would come next. But now, a year has passed, and I’m read to move on.
But I know I’m supposed to be here. I know I’m needed, and I know God is using me, right here. It’s actually pretty annoying.
I find myself asking Him, “Hey God, are you sure you don’t want me to do this next, or go here next? See that friend going to YWAM or that friend spending the summer in Italy, or my sister in Thailand? Are you sure you don’t want me doing that? Are you sure you don’t need me there?”
But even as I ask, I know the answer is no.
“Not now. Right now, I need you here.” He gently turns my head toward the work I’m doing, to the places I’m serving. He points out the relationships, the friends who need me now. He points to my family, who are all living in a 20 minute radius for only a little while longer… and he lets me know that for this season, I’m needed here.
I ask God to give me grace in this waiting place almost daily, and the other day I realized I’m no longer waiting. He’s brought me out of the waiting place. He can use me right here, right now, because I’m realizing this is where I’m supposed to be. I don’t need to be looking forward to the next big thing, because the big things are happening every single day. They just look like little things.
Life happens in the gaps, in the process, in the waiting. Character is built and shows itself in the everyday things.
As I build trust and as I put the needs of others over my wants, I’m showing God that He can trust me. I’m showing Him that He can depend on Carrie to make wise decisions. I’m showing Him that even when my emotions and feelings are complete turmoil, I can come closer to Him rather than blaming Him and turning away. I’m showing Him that my faith is not based on circumstance.
I’m showing Him how deep my roots go.
For the past few months, I’ve been reading the book Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge, with my small group. It’s one of those books I feel like most good Christian girls read in youth group, but somehow I missed the boat on this one. It’s been so good and I feel like every young person should read it, male or female. (We’re starting Wild at Heart next. Bout to know all the secrets of men’s souls. Watch out world.)
There’s a quote in the final chapter of Captivating that has been influencing my every day life. Reminding me to be here. To be present. To not spend all my time looking forward to the next thing. To appreciate the people I’m with. HERE. NOW.
“To live as an authentic, ransomed, redeemed woman means to be real and present in this moment. We cannot have intimacy with God or anyone else if we stay hidden and offer only who we think we ought to be or what we believe is wanted.
“What have we to offer, really, other than who we are and what God has been pouring into our lives? It was not by accident that you were born; it was not by chance that you have the desires you do. The Victorious Trinity has planned on your being here now, for such a time as this.”
I have a challenge, if you feel like you’re stuck in the waiting place. Do something new. You may be unsure of your next step, but you can get creative in how you serve Him here, today. Do more than you think you can. Challenge yourself. Something I’ve been trying to do is bless others in ways that they will appreciate, even if it’s not the first thing I would think to do. Thinking outside your “love languages” and “gifts” is stretching, but God calls you to more than just one “love language” or two “spiritual gifts.” He wants you to grow in every gift, even the ones that come a little harder to you.
I want to grow in the the things I’m most blessed with, like mercy and leadership, but I also want to grow in faith, and prophecy, and exhortation, and administration.
Stretch yourself. Stretch your belief. Lift your hands and praise Him when you’d rather curl into a ball and cry. Make yourself available to God even when you’re not “feeling Him,” or when your emotions are pulling you away from Him. He’ll bless you for it and He’ll bring you out of the valley filled with a strength you didn’t know you could have.
His approval is worth it. He’s worth giving up everything else. He’s worth it. He’s worth it.
He’s worth it.