Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous. -Psalm 27:14
Our dog Walter’s mealtime habits have earned him the nickname “Cletus” after my husband’s maternal grandfather. Family lore has it that whenever he was hungry, Grandpa Cletus would simply sit himself down at the kitchen table and wait for his next meal to arrive. A one room schoolteacher and Indiana state patrol officer, Grandpa Cletus had many talents. Apparently, cooking was not one of them or maybe he was just a product of his era and thought it was Grandma’s job to make the meals. Whatever the reason, Cletus would sit and wait. Similarly, our pup Walter plops himself down on the foyer staircase somewhere around ten minutes till 7am or pm, his scheduled mealtime. From there he peers in at me as I work in the kitchen making the morning brew or finalizing dinner. Sometimes Walter will snort or yawn casually to alert me of his presence in an effort to remind me that his mealtime is soon arriving. But otherwise, Walter, like Grandpa Cletus, just waits. He doesn’t make any steps; he doesn’t do anything. Just waits.
I can relate to behaving like Grandpa Cletus and Walter. I myself have spent a lot of time waiting around for someone else to feed me before I did my next thing. Perhaps I wasn’t waiting for an actual meal; maybe it was more like I expected someone else to notice me, reward me, encourage me, or fulfill me in some way before I felt like I was ready to move on a project or decision. But unlike Grandpa and the dog, I’ve come to realize that there are some things I’m responsible for doing myself. I’m not always supposed to get comfortable in the waiting. Now, I am not saying that we’re supposed to do things all on our own, but there are things we are each responsible for doing in our own lives. I heard Joyce Meyer preach it once like this: “If we will do what we can do, God will do what we cannot.”
Many of us have lived our lives feeling as if there is something more we’re supposed to be doing. Something big perhaps. I talked to a friend recently who said she had always believed she was supposed to have a place for healing and recovery, maybe for substance abuse recovery or families with that in their history, it wasn’t clear. In this feeling, she said she thought it was supposed to be something big, like a conference center or a ranch of some sort; she wasn’t sure. What she did recognize though was that it was a grand dream and because it was so big, she felt like it was too great a challenge to move on. Where could she start on such a big dream? There was too much to tackle. “What about teaching a skills class at a recovery center near you? Or leading a group at one? You could do that, you’d be great at it,” I offered. She paused. “Yeah, that wouldn’t be so hard—but all of a sudden, that seems really scary,” she replied.
Sometimes in working toward that thing we feel called to, it is easy to sit on the step and wait for someone or something else to intervene on our behalf; we secretly hope someone will simply hand us our dream, tell us, “Yep, you were called to do that big thing and here it is!” But it is when we’ve paused on that bottom stair that God is actually calling us to take a step toward the dream–and Him and do. It does not have to be a big step; it just has to be what we can do. In that space is where God is holding out an invitation for us to “do.” He wants us to do simply because it is in the doing that we grow. It is in the doing that we declare our trust in Him. It is in the doing that we align with our Heavenly Father and recognize our place in His purpose. It’s where we practice being brave and courageous.
If you think the doing sounds terrifying, I’m right there with you! Like I said, I’ve sat on the staircase waiting more times than I would like to admit. But these days I am taking steps. They are tiny and some days I feel they’re nearly imperceptible, but I know I am making progress because every now and then I can look back and see I’ve there’s a difference in where I’m standing. More importantly, I feel more peaceful and hopeful than I have in quite some time. My prayer is to remain content through the process knowing after I have done all that I can, God will do what I cannot.