Are you sitting on the sidelines waiting for the chance to be called in? Called into the game? Called into the battle? You look out on the field of play to the faces of those in the game, and you wonder, 

“Why not me? Come on Coach! Why not now?” 

Are you waiting on the sidelines, dancing in your seat like a toddler who won’t stop playing with her toys long enough to go to the bathroom?  Are you anxious, clamoring for the chance to get your turn on the field – after all, this is your gift, this is your call, this is what you were made for! 

Your urge to jump into the game without the coach’s call grows stronger, and your faith in your coach to call the shots grows faint. If he knew what he was doing, if he was a good coach, he would have already put you in, right?!

In your fervor to “be in the game” you have forgotten who is calling the shots. You have forgotten who your coach is. You have forgotten, there are calculated plays laid out. There is a flow to the game, a sequence, an order. You have forgotten the pre-game study of the competition. 

You can’t stand it anymore. In your relentless desire to go from varsity high school benchwarmer to starter in the pros you leap from the bench, with your helmet cinched up around your chin. You beat your chest like you are ready to take on the world, like a champion.With great confidence you yell back to the bench, “I got this! Don’t you worry! We are going to win this!” 

Just like that, you made something happen. You think to yourself, “Forget you Coach! What do you know.”

Just like that, you are made a move toward your calling- to be in the game. And just like that you are now nose to nose with the fiercest competitor you have ever been up against. Staring into his eyes, peering through the helmet, you start to get nervous. 

The intensity of his stare and growl pierce you. You feel your stomach churning and your knees begin to knock. Before you know it your body takes over your mind and runs you off the field faster than you ran on, with a panic, yet relieved THAT guy didn’t have a chance to tackle you.

The coach knew who and what you would be up against. The coach knew you needed more conditioning, more lifting, more drills before you were head to head with this competitor. The coach made a decision – to keep you on the bench, giving you the opportunity to put your best foot forward, to be usable for the good of the team- not for self-righteous glory.

This isn’t some po-dunk Friday night football game. This is your life. And this life is meant to be lived with intentionality and purpose. This life is meant to be lived under submission to a Coach.

The Coach, his name is God and Father. And He has your best in mind.

Can you relate to this? I know this story all too well. Not as a football player of course, but as a participant and disciple of Christ, working to live out his call on my life. In this life, there have been countless times when I have lunged out ahead of God – with great intention and some skill. 

Yet, the amount of times I have fallen on my face is equal to the number of times I have made the choice to go “rogue”, to go it alone, to take my own path, to reach the goal, to reach the call I know he spoke over my life with my own ability and at my warped-speed pace. Waiting is not my gift. Patience, not my gift either. But being a doer, a make it happen girl, well YES! That’s me!

I don’t count all of the times I have fallen on my face as wasted, because they proved to be incredible learning experiences because of the frustration, striving and pain I walked through. 

They say mistakes are the best teachers – and I have made my fair share!

In my life, God has been gentle to release me into the call he has on my life. He has been protective of me, and those around me, that I do not step into a place of responsibility that I am not yet mature in faith enough to handle. Waiting on the timing of God, waiting on him to say, “Okay Stephanie, now you are ready, go and do all that I have taught you.” is hard, but worth it.

God, the Great I AM, showed himself to the Israelites, and led them through the wilderness as a cloud by day, and fire by night. The Israelistes followed the cloud and fire. They stopped when it stopped, and moved when it moved. 

Numbers 9:22 says, Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. (NIV)

Imagine. Following a pillar of cloud or pillar of fire. Imagine waiting. Imagine not knowing, when it would move and feeling a bit silly. Imagine trusting your years to follow pillars of cloud and fire. 

In all my failures, false starts, and anxious pushes to get ahead, I have learned a few lessons:  

  1. A step “forward” isn’t always progress if it’s done at the wrong time.
  2. Just because I think I’m ready, doesn’t mean I am ready.
  3. When I feel least ready and least confident is usually when God thinks I am ready.
  4. When in doubt, wait on God. Be still. Don’t make a move.
  5. It’s not about ability or capability. It’s about surrender to be a vessel, God’s way and in God’s time.

I am certain people thought the Israelite’s were crazy for waiting on the cloud to move. As silly as it seems, after many false starts, failures, frustrations, hang ups, doors closed,wrong paths I am ready to wait for the cloud to move in my life. I am ready to wait on God.

Are you? Are you waiting on him and trusting him to move you in the right direction? Or are you like the football player, taking matters into your own hands and lunging out ahead of God and then rushing off the field because you can’t handle the pressure?

I am here with you. Been there. Done that. You are not alone. Need encouragement, need prayer, please reach out. You don’t have to walk this road alone. If you want to walk through a book that teaches about trusting in God’s timing, check out my book, Ascent to Hope: The Rugged Climb from Fear to Faith