Impatient may very well be my middle name. When I get an idea in my head, I move on it. When I have an opinion, I speak it. When I conceive of a way things can be improved, I go right to work on the major components to bring about change. While this passion and vision may be strengths of my personality, they can also become the source of chaos and conflict.
When we don’t take time to wait on the Lord for His leading, we risk living with much regret.
This is a lesson I’ve learned the hard way through too many broken relationships, unfinished pursuits, and could-have-been-avoided disappointments. Oh the people I’ve hurt because I didn’t pause first and ask God what He had to say about the matter! The money I’ve wasted on projects, because I didn’t consider wise stewardship with the Lord. I can’t even begin to count the effort I’ve put forth in this-and-that job, only to realize that I shouldn’t have said “yes” in the first place.
If only I would take a pause and seek the Lord.
For years, I thought the real problem with my inability to wait was my lack of patience. I often would asked God to make me more patient as I tried to be more cognizant of my impulsivity. But do you know what happened? Nothing changed because I wasn’t dealing with the root issue. The problem wasn’t my inability to wait on God—it was a much deeper issue of idolatry. Oh yes, idolatry, which is simply when anyone or anything is more important to us than God.
As I write about in Meet the New You, idolatry is one of those rarely spoken of, easily ignored issues because none of us like to admit that we’re worshipping a small-g god instead of the One who made us. Yet it’s idolatry that often causes us to do things that are contrary to God’s best, because those idols rule over us instead of the Lord. Idolatry is our snare, as it is described Psalm 106:36. It’s what traps us, distracts us, and sends us down the wrong road. For me idolatry, this matter of idolatry as it relates to be impatient reflects what’s really going on in my heart. See, my desire to do something . . . accomplish something . . . is really about making myself feel better. I often want to put my hands to something that I naively think I can control, because the rest of life feels so out of my control. News alert: We’re never actually in control!
God is the one in control, and when we take matters into our own hands we become our own small-g God.
So what should we do to battle idolatry, especially when it appears masked in impatience or a desire to be in control? Well, I’ve discovered it’s not in trying to be more patient or getting life more in order. Rather, honest confession before God accomplishes the heart transformation that needs to happen.
When we get to the root issue of why we’re doing what we’re doing, then the behavior can be addressed honestly before God and His transforming work can begin.
Of course, this is true no matter what the heart issue happens to be, and whether or not idolatry is a factor? For me, this waiting is simply one way God exposes the hidden idolatry in my heart. It’s a good thing, as He invites me to grow in our dependence on Him as I push the pause button on my ideas. In the waiting, He makes rooms for me to dig deeper in the Word in search of answers. He’s even been so gracious as to provide seasons of rest, when a perceived “no” is really just a “not now.”
God accomplishes much in the waiting, because it’s then that He has our fullest attention.
So, is God asking you to yield your heart to Him in this season of waiting? Is there a snare of idolatry you need to deal with as you tackle the issue beneath the issue? Maybe it’s impatience masking a desire to be in control? Maybe it’s jealousy or pride?
Whatever your issue happens to be, God is prepared to work in you and through it to transform you into the woman He desires for you to become. Will you embrace that process starting with giving Him your heart?