“Just trust God’s timing.”
I think I speak for just about anyone who considers themselves a Christian that this statement is something we’ve heard again and again and again and again. When we want prayers answered, for ourselves or for our loved ones, we have to remind ourselves that God does everything in His time. We remember that His plans are greater than our own, and we should faithfully wait for His answer. This can be hard, but in our hearts we know that this is the only way.
I know personally, I am reminded of His timing when my prayers are asking for something. “God,” I find myself saying, “thank you for all I have, but I really need _______.” Whether these are actual things, people, relationships, whatever they may be, it’s always me asking for something. There’s nothing wrong with asking God for grace, to heal this person, to mend this broken relationship, but I find that its easier to accept that things might take a while when we ask for something.
But what about the things we ask Him to take from us? Do we fully trust in His timing to take away our insecurities, our addictions, our doubts? Or do we expect that as soon as we recognize and identify our struggles, He should instantly take it away? Why is it so much harder to trust His timing when we’re asking Him to take what He took away with the cross?
For a long time (longer than I realized until recently), one of my many struggles was my worth, my value, what defined me. I was constantly defining myself through the eyes and words of people around me. This was a dangerous thing for many reasons, but also because I was so afraid to show people my true self, that the way they defined me wasn’t really me at all. Not too long ago, I was talking with a relatively new friend. I don’t remember the whole conversation, but she looked at me with a big smile on her face and said, “Well yeah, you’re a bitch. But its cool, you’re really funny, and we love you.” As I laughed this off, I couldn’t help but take that identity she had given me and put it with the dozens of other terms from other people that I used to describe myself. So now I was a bitch, awkward, funny, sweet, serious, quirky, down for anything, too uptight, good time, buzzkill, book-smart but not street-smart, caring, cold hearted, ice queen, unimpressed, easily amused… the list could go on. The more I thought about it, the more confused I got. How could I be a sweet bitch? A caring ice queen? Trust me, the bad ones far outweighed the good ones. So thats how I started to see myself. And let me tell you, when you see yourself as what the world says you are, its not pretty. I lost my value, and looked for it in anyone that would give me attention. More specifically, I started to find it in the those that wouldn’t give me the time of day.
That’s a story for another time, but fast-forward to when I really started to get to know Jesus. I was so excited about this new life and doing things “the right way” that it took me a while to realize that the little battles I had fought were nothing compared to what was just under the surface. When I realized how completely skewed I saw myself compared to how Jesus sees me (insert verse here), I started to pray for a change. This has been months, and I’m still not even close, honestly. I ask God to take away all of these identities I’ve compiled over the years, and until recently have been wondering if I’m doing something wrong because its not poof magic gone. But today as I was driving to school, I was listening to a sermon on the radio that really changed my view on so much. I don’t remember the exact words, and don’t want to put words in this pastor’s mouth, but it went something along the lines of this: God’s timing of answering prayers isn’t just for giving you what you ask for, but also for taking what you’re giving him.
Wow. This completely blew my mind. It was something I’d never even thought of, but subconsciously did all of the time. I could trust God’s timing and accept the waiting process for the things I wanted Him to bless me with, but when my prayers to take away some things weren’t immediately answered, I started to question it. But the more I reflected on this, the more I realized that when He doesn’t take things away ASAP, it’s not because He wants to punish us, hurt us, or doesn’t care. It’s quite the opposite. He’s making us stronger, He’s making us lean on Him, and maybe if we’re really lucky, He’s making the process just a little longer so that our test turns into a testimony that helps someone else.
It’s one thing to say, “I used to define myself through the world, now I define myself through God.” Thats great, but we tend to take advantage of things that are just handed to us. How much more will we cherish it when it takes work? Some days might be bad, but when you push through and work for something with God, it means so much more in the end. His plans are perfect, and His timing is accordingly perfect as well. I’m still on this journey, and the road to truly being able to look in the mirror and see myself as a worthy daughter of God is turning out to be a long one. But I know that the deeper I go in this, the more I fight for it, the more I ask God to take away the insecurities, and the more faith I have to wait patiently in His timing, the more beautiful the outcome will be.