Time out! Yep, I’d like the world to take a short commercial break for me. Not that I watch commercials, or TV for that matter, but I really would like everyone to just stop what they’re doing for a while so I can have a time out. Send me to my room, tell me I’m grounded, tell me everything’s cancelled, I think I need a time out. Do you ever feel that way?
It’s about the time of year when I get that feeling. If you’ve ever lived in Michigan in the winter, and the long grey days, you’ll understand. Everyday I find myself saying “I just need some sun!” I begin to scour flights and places to go to get me a little sunshine to get me going again. I look ahead at my spring and summer calendar and realized it is already getting booked up making the hope of coming warmth and God-given Vitamin D to feel as if it’s already being used up before it actually returns to our cold state. It’s this time of year when the fog sets in and I’m not sure how to accomplish it all on so little fuel. I begin to wonder what am I doing, where am I going, can I just take a nap?
As I was reading in my study this morning I marvel at how purposeful life is without distractions. I see how in spite of our feeling, we have a calling. And how clinging to the balance of sheer life and death can bring clarity and purpose to anyone! I’ve studied Moses, a lot. I’ve always loved the example of God’s call and Moses’s answer to the difficult tasks he faced and the purpose God set him to accomplish. But I don’t think I ever noticed how difficult it must have been just to survive every day until he even could recognize that call on his life. When he was a baby, daily survival was a great big deal. Because Pharoah had set to kill the baby boys of that day, we see the story in Exodus of how his mother made a basket to float him in the river just to hide him. The questions in my mind swirled. Did she float him between feedings and risk being seen with him every time he needed to be fed? Did floating him sooth him so he didn’t cry and risk being heard? For how long did this process go on? How tough it must’ve been to get through the long days of praying this little boy kept living. I’m sure Moses’ mom would’ve wanted to call a time out at this point. “You all take your baby-killing decrees and go sit in your palaces while my baby and I have a timeout right now.” She would’ve wanted to snuggle him and feed him in peace, and without the day to day struggle, never knowing if the hope for the months ahead was worth it.
God had a different kind of time out in mind though. Moses was scooped up by Pharoah’s daughter, his life spared, his momma became his nursemaid, and he was raised in Pharaoh’s home. God set in motion the plan for his life to free an entire nation from bondage. He was set up for his calling in the dreary, fretful, dark days of ancient Israel with what looked like no hope in sight. I was so deeply reminded that in the mundane, in the dreary dark days of the winters of our lives, (both literal and figurative), that if we yield to God’s will, we are being set up for His calling on our lives. Fulfilling His calling IS the light that moves us forward into the next season of our purpose.
I’m still looking for flights! But with the full knowledge that the next season is more about fulfilling God’s plan for me than it is about me escaping the mundane. Are you in need of a time out too? Let it be a place of being set up for fulfilling God’s purpose. Dig deep and be prepared, be in communication with God, be ready! God’s call is real and we don’t want to be caught taking a nap when it’s time to move!
Here’s a few practical tips to make it from the dreary winter days of your life to the light and warmth of your purpose being fulfilled:
1. When you can’t see very far ahead, keep your eyes on God and be reminded of what He has already done in your life.
“Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually and always. Remember the wondrous works that He has done, His miracles…” 1 Chronicles 16:11-12
2. Be assured, God knows when you’re struggling to make it to the next season in your purpose. You are not wallowing alone, grounded or set in a time out without Him knowing it.
For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9
3. Make sure your perspective is eternal not stuck in the moment that you are in. If you only look at how you feel today from your own human perspective, you will never know where you need to be tomorrow and you certainly won’t be prepared for the day God moves you to the next place in your calling.
“The Lord does not look at things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
4. Be ready! Be watchful! God’s purpose for you may be building up inside you while you are waiting. And when it is time, you don’t want to be caught sleeping. Get in shape! You may have a big task in front of you. You have to do your part!
“You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With Your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.” Psalm 18:28-29
5. When it’s time, move. God will steady you, He will be your strength and He will be your guide, but only if you move!
“I waited patiently for God to help me; then He listened and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out from the bog and the mire, and set my feet on a hard, firm path and steadied me as I walked along.” Psalm 40:1-2
I hope you’re hoping, I hope you’re waiting, I hope you’re digging deep. I hope you’re ready! God never calls us to nothing and so the next season is coming! The next season in your calling…your life…your purpose.