Waiting for What’s Next

S  o, about six weeks ago I finished the draft on my new book. It’s about creativity but it’s really about getting unstuck and rediscovering your passions and learning how to do great, creative things with your life.  It’s the culmination of about three years worth of study, introspection, and writing on what creativity is, where it comes from, why it matters, how to conjure it and use it, and the great and terrible things that happen when we do.

I think it’s about much more than being “more creative.” It’s about both honoring what has come before while at the same time getting out of your truck and standing in the crossroads and looking every direction and then leaving town. This is the thing that I was scared to do, and I think so many of us are scared to do.

Here’s the problem: now that I have finished the manuscript, I am forgetting the truths I wrote about. I want the future to happen now. I am having to remind myself of one of the deep spiritual lessons I have learned in the past few years. Here it is:

God’s slow.

Or, more accurately, perhaps, we’re fast. We’re addicted to accelerated culture. We get mad at that stupid phone feature when we see someone has read our message and they haven’t responded yet. We think, what is wrong? Our mind goes crazy with possibilities. We expect instant communication. This is for the most part not good.

I don’t think God participates in our accelerated culture.

God’s pace is different. More measured and good for our reflection – of which we can never get enough.

For six months I lived in Nashville and my family lived in Texas. It was a rough time with many weekend runs down I-40 and I-30. I remember time being kind of fluid and flexible. At some point I commented to my wife that the big spiritual lesson I was learning was that God operates with me on a one-thing-a-day principle. This is what I meant:

God gives me no more than one development a day, and most days none.

I have no scriptural basis for this. It’s just wisdom learned and a simple way to say, slow down. Some days there’s nothing but an ordinary life (or, perhaps, I’m missing the big thing). But I shouldn’t expect that things are going to happen according to my expectation. I’m too spiritually pushy. God is measured, giving us small doses then allowing us time to reflect on it and see what we learn.

Just because my new book manuscript is finished doesn’t mean I should expect the world to read it. More importantly, just because I pray to God from a deep and earnest place that I should expect God to text me back right away.

I watched a powerful documentary film on a wrongfully imprisoned man named Michael Morton. He’s the subject of a new CNN film called An Unreal Dream. Morton spent 25 years in a Texas jail after being convicted of murdering his wife. DNA testing set him free. The film is worth two hours of your life for the profundity of the final scene. This man knows patience and forgiveness and deep spiritual lessons that I can only dream to attain.

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He describes the moment in prison at which he finally broke. After fifteen years, his toddler son, now an adult, wants nothing more to do with him, and legally changes his last name. In an interview, he says he’d always prided himself on being tough. (Like most men.) Able to withstand all of the atrocities perpetuated on him. But rejection from his son finally broke him. He said, “in an uncharacteristic move,” he called out to God.

What I loved is what he said next. Nothing happened. For two weeks he lived his penal life.

Then, one glorious night in his cell, God appeared in dramatic and life changing form.

This is how God works. Not necessarily the dramatic appearance, though I think this sometimes happens. I am talking about the lag time.

We have such a hard time waiting for what’s next. Like children and food, we want it now. But God, always teaching, doesn’t participate in our accelerated culture. And even in the waiting there are lessons to be had, if we will wait for them.

How are you learning to slow it down, look for measured movement, and wait for God?

About the Author

Len Wilson

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Christ follower. Storyteller. Strategist. Writer. Creative Director at St Andrew. Tickle monster. Author, Think Like a Five Year Old (Abingdon).