You’ve stumbled upon a four-part blog series called THE WAITING. This is Part Three. Here’s where we’ve been so far…
Part One: Life in the Waiting – An Unwanted New Home
Part Two: Life in the Waiting – When Will This End?
Part Three: Life in the Waiting – I Need Others
Honesty is a great thing. And honesty is also an extremely difficult thing.
For those of us in The Waiting, we’ll most likely tell the rest of the world that our forced new home has made us more honest than ever. My friends in The Waiting will tell you that it’s not about being honest and opinionated about the lives and the choices of other people, but about the current and honest reality of THEIR OWN broken-down lives.
Being honest with ourselves is a tough thing to do, and an even more difficult thing to be, because we’ve learned to live with the lies that people have spoken about us all our lives. From our parents to our pastors, and from our teachers to our therapists, we have too easily become unwilling listeners. We have unknowingly rewritten their slight untruths into the biographies we’re believing about ourselves. We don’t even know the lying voices or the messages they’re sending, because we’ve learned to accept them as our own internal voices, and if we can only become deaf to them by our involvement in any good or bad thing that distracts us from their shrieking accusations, then we feel like we win at the end of our long and weary days. None of these lies about us are easily identifiable black and white lies. Rather, most of the lies we believe about ourselves take some legitimate truth, and then add some greater lie to it. And we, because we’re human and more needy than we care to admit, believe the whole thing as truth.
In my own life, it works something like this.
For years, I’ve recognized that I have a sensitive artistic personality. This is something that’s God-given, and something I cannot change about myself. And that’s the nugget of truth about me. I’m good with it, and I embrace it.
But then there’s a lie that people throughout my life have told me about being too sensitive, about being too deep and too touchy-feely. It goes something like this…
As a result of being too sensitive, I am weak and unstable and people have to walk on eggshells around me. That’s the lie that’s been spoken to me all my life.
And the mathematician part of me adds these two together – the truth and the lie – and the sum doesn’t know to distinguish between truth and lie, rather grouping it all one single truth to believe, to embrace, and then to believe some more. And I brand myself as a result.
I HAVE A SENSITIVE ARTISTIC PERSONALITY, AND THEREFORE I’M WEAK AND UNSTABLE AND PEOPLE WALK ON EGGSHELLS WHEN THEY’RE AROUND ME.
See how that works? It’s terrible, and I know for certain that there’s a real Enemy behind the whole thing, and that his goal is our internal demise.
But being in The Waiting forces us to come to grips with honesty, especially with the honesty we need to speak over ourselves. And this is perhaps the most beautiful part of being in The Waiting.
In The Waiting, we’re invited by the Giver of Truth to expose the self-proclaimed lies that have become, for us, truth. The Waiting invites us to see the abject reality of the self-lies that are much like a dusty old chandelier that promises light, but that only provides a blurry and scratched replacement for the real thing.
THE WAITING EXPOSES OUR CHANDELIERS FOR WHAT THEY TRULY ARE – CRAPPY SUBSTITUTES THAT ARE BOTH FAKE AND FADED, PROMISING EVERYTHING BUT DELIVERING ONLY SPARKLES AND GLINTS.
For myself, and for so many of my close and not-so-close friends, living in The Waiting has invited us to become completely honest about us. And after we’re quite finished kicking and screaming and praying and cursing our burdened locations and our inability to escape them (not that we’re ever truly finished with those responses), many people come to the first honest thing they’ve muttered in years. And it’s life in The Waiting that pushes this truth out of them, out of us.
We are thirsty.
That’s the greatest truth that The Waiting invites us to shout from our jailhouse rooftops.
“I AM THIRSTY!”
And if we’re completely honest and willing to go public with it, we might even declare the whole big truth of our heart reality. We might accept the invitation into greater courage and fully admit that we’re more thirsty than we’ve ever known, and more than we’d ever admit to anyone.
THE WAITING INVITES US TO BOLDY PROCLAIM: I AM MORE THIRSTY THAN I’VE EVER KNOWN, AND MORE THAN I’VE EVER ADMITTED TO ANYONE.
There’s no question about it. The Waiting invites us into complete honesty about how parched we really are. And that’s because we grow beyond the need for the approval of others, because life in The Waiting is just so difficult, and frankly… what other people think about us just doesn’t matter anymore.
Trace back through the history of your life. Where did you first begin to believe the lie that Christians aren’t supposed to be thirsty? I promise that there was someone somewhere who told you that the minute you invited Jesus to come live in your heart, you would never thirst again. You found the proof embedded in a weird conversation that Jesus had with a five-time Samaritan divorcee, where Jesus told her that she’d never thirst again if she only put her faith in Him. And even though Jesus was clearly talking about a certain type of thirst and not ALL kinds of thirsts, Christians all over the world have fully expected never to be thirsty again about anything.
And it’s just not the truth.
Because in Christ, our thirsts don’t go away. Instead, we become thirsty for different things.
In the experience of so many mature Christian men and women, when we give our lives over to Jesus, a new kind of thirst begins. It’s a thirst for God’s presence. It’s a thirst to feel God near us. It’s a thirst for His word. It’s a thirst to follow Jesus more closely. It’s a thirst to be together as a part of His church. It’s a thirst for heaven.
And I feel so sorry for any Christ-follower who’s been taught to pretend that they’re not thirsty, and then to call that “biblical Christianity”. Because thirst doesn’t makes you lessor. Thirst makes you alive.
I FEEL SORRY FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN TAUGHT TO PRETEND THAT THEY’RE NOT THIRSTY, AND THEN CALL THAT “CHRISTIANITY”. THIRST DOESN’T MAKE YOU LESSOR. THIRST MAKES YOU ALIVE.
I am so thirsty for God right now, even though I’ve denied that thirst for much of my life. Life in The Waiting has made me care so minimally about what other people think about me, and about how they view the quality of my relationship with Christ. I have been stripped of being any “expert” on Christian living, and I’ve emerged on the other side as needy and thirsty and broken. And even though I know that God is putting me back together, that’s not the main title of my story any longer.
The imprint of God is all over us friends, and it shouts through our flesh and bones when we’re thirsty, and when we willingly admit it. God’s imprint on us is, so much of the time, a thirsty imprint. We are imprinted to be parched, so that those around us will be invited to take a drink, simply because they feel the thirst that we model. As we go from conversation to conversation throughout our days, we display how thirsty we really are. And that’s a great and life-changing thing for anyone who’s watching. Because the world doesn’t need us to be perfect. They need us to be thirsty, and to offer them Jesus anyway.
THE WORLD DOESN’T NEED YOU TO BE PERFECT. THEY NEED YOU TO BE THIRSTY, AND TO OFFER THEM JESUS ANYWAY.
And finally, for those of you in The Waiting, remember the truth of being a part of our 5,000 year-old Tribe, as written by Charles Spurgeon…
“If the Lord God makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. Because He is worth waiting for. The Lord’s people have always been a waiting people.”