The coffee moments...
Whilst in my heart of hearts I know that it is Jesus that makes me a better Christian, there are times when I feel like my first proper coffee (a discounted costa at work... thank you Lord) makes me a better Christian!
Asking me and my brain to go beyond monosyllabic responses to any questions before a serious caffeine intake is asking frankly not just the impossible but also absurdly impolite. I seriously think that I probably walk around with a permanent frown on, until I have had a coffee. It is then and only then that I feel human. Of course I'm not addicted. I just....need....coff ... Jesus.
What struck me; as I was pondering this and attempting to lead into the thrust of my article, was just how many "inbetween" or "pre-coffee" moments you might have in a day. You might find that there are many moments when you are; waiting for the coffee hit... waiting for Jesus... waiting for change or breakthrough.
We can just exist in the waiting phase but I guess my question is; can we live out the waiting phase with purpose? What does waiting on purpose actually look like?
Mindset German I like
That will be my first and last attempt at German Grammar! I am learning German currently and have noticed that everything seems the wrong way round! It is funny to listen to myself try and pronounce the words. But I bring German into the debate for a different reason. I went ski-ing this year and almost bankrupted myself in the process. The reason I go is at least three-fold; to improve my parallel turns, to connect with Jesus and to meet with people from different cultures.
There was something about this year - how can I explain it? I felt that the people I met had such a sense of purpose. They were not waiting on purpose. They were walking in purpose. I found one or two to be so confident and self-assured that it became almost offensive to me. How dare they not feel crippled by self-doubt and lack of confidence! How dare they say things like... "Yah I'm good at this! "
God broke into me on that mountain. The first Sunday I wept as I realised that I... ME had held me back - nothing else and no one else. I had constantly, consistently and totally told myself and every cell that God had put together so beautifully that I was fat, ugly and useless about fifty times a day. The current "mode of living" was robbing me of my purpose. I had a recurring memory in my mind, of diving at school. I belly flopped into the water and as I came up for breath I could hear the slow, embarrassing hand-clap from my pitying class mates. It's strange what stays with you isn't it? I say stays; more accurately IT stayed on the mountain. I laid that memory down and all that had dogged me. And instead took on a new identity.
I am booted
When you take on something new it is helpful to have something physical to anchor your experience. My sister kindly gave me some ski-boots for my 30th birthday. This was not just a present. I saw it as prophetic. It spoke to my "unsporting" self and said "LIES" "LIES" "ALL OF IT DAMNED LIES". You can ski precious girl. Ski down that mountain like I know you can.
The ski-boots taught me that we were purposed for excellence. I am purposed; there is an expectation that I become an excellent skier. God is speaking through this to me; enough of the amateur, enough of the playing around at life. Focus on the downhill and keep up! Whilst I am waiting on purpose for God to act, there is still a call of God on my life to strive for excellence in all I do.
On holiday I was confronted by the lives of my German friends. They had discovered their purpose and were walking in it. I realised that actually; I am discovering my journey and purpose. I am waiting patiently and impatiently too! But the waiting can have a purpose to it, if you use the in between caffeine times wisely.
Let me explain
How to use your time purposefully? When you are on the bus or at the traffic lights you rarely think "am I using this moment purposefully" do you? When I finish my work, I make a point of reading something pointless and trashy to get my mind clear. I try to look as though I care and know about the band One Direction, which is harder than it looks!
These are perhaps not the moments or slivers of time that I am talking about. It might be that it is a question of having an automatic God-consciousness in your day. That starts with a simple prayer; God you at the centre, God you in this moment, God your words not mine, Jesus your heart here. The waiting for that time when things are "flowing right" or there is major blessing can only come I think when we start noticing the purpose in the now. I am SO GUI LTY as charged. In fact my family if they are reading this will be chuckling!
When I was too young to go to school I wanted to go to play scheme (Play School), where my sister was. When I was at school I could not wait to finish so I could go to university. When I had finished university I could not wait to get started on my first job. Even now I have to check in with God - God if I get itchy feet can you guide me as to why? The reason I am saying this is that the waiting for God need not be without purpose. It does not have to be "dead time". Do not rush the time you have now because you want to get to living in your purpose. The now, that you are in, is your purpose as much as your future dream.
The purpose of waiting....
God speaks to me about gardens. I am not going to become a gold medal plant grower. But he speaks to me about my garden. Whilst God is working on the beautiful flowers, bushes and trees that he wants to bring in to my life, I first need to prepare the ground to receive them. This is what I mean. The ground needs to be fertile to accept the plants. If there is not the right nourishment and minerals the plants will wither and die.
The process of getting soil pure and rid of old root matter, rocks and other things can take time. It can feel like you are not doing anything because nothing is being planted. The difference is that God is interested as much in the soil as in the plants. God cares for your deep foundations that no one sees apart from him. An astonishing thought here is that... God spent a long time growing a plant for your garden. He wants to know that it will survive when it is planted! There is a great verse in Song of Solomon that speaks of the lover walking in the garden and "delighting in the flowers". It is a wonderful image isn't it? The idea of God walking through your life and character and delighting in all that is growing and changing.
How to sum up? Waiting IS frustrating and patience is precious when found. But persevere in being patient and in letting go and letting God. Please know that I am not there yet. This is what God is teaching me not what God has perfected in me.
But with every challenge that takes shape, I know that God is testing me for a purpose and a reason. I am journeying contentment in waiting on purpose. God is the master Gardener. Have faith that he will come through and get Gold.
Rosie Robinson resides in Manchester where, in between feeding herself coffee and bagels she works for an international financial services organisation. She attends a lively church called Audacious, enjoys reading, running and watching films.
Rosie Robinson's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/rosie-robinson.html