I remember the frustration of hearing from God, yet knowing I had four years of college left until I could pursue my calling.
I had just returned from a three week trip to east Asia where I saw the awe and wonder in people’s faces as they heard about Jesus for the first time. That desperate, thirsty look in their eyes changed me forever. I knew when I left Asia that my life would never be the same.
I came home, and I was ready to chase the passion the Lord put inside of me. But all I could think was, Now what? I’m stuck in the United States until I can graduate college. How can I get where God is calling me while I’m waiting?
I’ve been out of college for a few years now, and I’m still not serving overseas. I’m living in Anderson, South Carolina, and I haven’t been to Asia in three years. However, I’ve learned that whatever I’m doing right at this moment is what God has called me to right now.
Waiting is not meant to be a time of frustration, but an invitation into an intimate relationship with Jesus.
The times when we are unsure or frustrated are often times of immense spiritual growth in our lives. Be obedient to God while having faith that He will guide you where He promised. Ask yourself, are you allowing this time to be fruitful or frustrating?
Three Things We Can Do While Waiting for What’s Next
1. Remind yourself of the truth of God’s Word.
When our emotions get the better of us, little things can feel like big things. We start believing that if it isn’t happening now it won’t happen ever.
The Bible is our stabilizing, firm ground while we are unsure of our circumstances. God’s Word never changes, and He will never contradict it. As we remind ourselves of God’s character and ask for His help, God gives us the strength to continue waiting (Hebrews 12:1-3).
The Bible is full of stories from people who waited on the Lord and were rewarded. Joseph is a great example (Genesis 37-50). Joseph has a dream that one day he will be in a position of leadership. Joseph brags to his family, and his brothers respond by selling him into slavery. Years pass, and every time it looks like Joseph is stepping into his calling another setback occurs. A woman accuses him of rape, and he’s thrown in jail. A friend meets the king and forgets to ask about setting Joseph free. It had to be frustrating. But God worked in each situation to shape Joseph’s heart, and when Joseph’s vision became reality, he was better prepared to lead in a way that honored the Lord.
2. Rely on community.
Proverbs 27:17 reminds us, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Much of the sharpening that happens in our seasons of waiting comes through real, honest friendship with other Christians.
Surround yourself with people who are older and wiser. Surround yourself with people who have been where you want to be. And surround yourself with people who are passionate about the calling the Lord has placed on their lives. Their passion will fuel your passion for your calling, and their perspective can help you to be patient while you wait.
Lots of sharpening can happen while we’re waiting, so ask for help. And let others’ advice and experience grow your faith in this season.
3. Live out your calling where you are.
You don’t have to put everything on hold while you are waiting to be in your calling. We are called to serve the Lord wherever we are. Ephesians 2:10 says, “we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Yes, there are things you can do right now to prepare for your calling. While I was in college, I majored in east Asian studies so I could learn as much as possible about Asian history and culture. I studied the language, and I made as many Asian friends as I could. I used my summers and a semester to travel to Asia.
But just because I feel called to Asia doesn’t mean my ministry is limited to Asia. There are opportunities to learn, serve, and grow right here in Anderson. Just like Joseph’s experiences prepared him for his position, the experiences we have now are all preparing us for what’s next. We just have to be willing to say yes to the opportunities as they arise.
It is difficult when you want to chase after your calling, yet circumstances force you to wait. Consider that your season of waiting is a calling in itself, and remember that we have the ability to make the best of a waiting season and turn it into a time of growth.
In Isaiah 55:11, God says, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” If God has called you to something, He will make it happen in His perfect timing.