Learning patience in a hurried world

Life is starting to get busier. As the cold weather blows in and leaves change colors and fall to the ground, we start rushing to get inside buildings, rushing to catch flights, rushing to keep up with the flurry of the season. And last autumn, I felt like I was rushing right along with it. I wrote, “I want answers now. Actually, I wanted answers yesterday. But I will be waiting for years to know if I am truly, completely cancer-free.”

Let me preface this by saying I’m the kind of person who likes to see all my options before making a decision. I visited 11 colleges in Texas before choosing Abilene. I consulted ratemyprofessors.com before creating my schedule every semester. I applied to 90-something jobs after graduation… Knowing everything there is to know before moving forward is important to me.

And God saw that habit in my life and taught me to break it.

I am so grateful and humbled that my doctors never told me to view my cancer as a life-or-death situation. But any sized disease can be debilitating when all you want is to feel normal—without pain, without anxiety, without the “cancer haze” floating around everywhere you go. It pushed me into a corner that felt like I couldn’t make any decisions because I didn’t know what the future would hold. I was scared to move into an apartment, really invest in my job, plan trips, get to know new people. A certain portion of my stillness was based in trying to be wise, but a great deal of it was fear of the unknown and a desire to control what I couldn’t.

In retrospect, I’ve learned that real patience means you can’t wait to live. I don’t mean the sky-diving-rocky-mountain-climbing kind of living. I mean the normal, everyday stuff. You often won’t have all the answers before you jump in, but patience means learning how to not be paralyzed while you wait. Real patience is moving forward in wisdom and freedom even in the midst of an “I don’t know.”

So unless God is calling you specifically to wait, don’t wait.

Don’t wait to volunteer. Don’t wait to meet people. Don’t wait til work slows down. Don’t wait til you get settled. Don’t wait to share your faith. Don’t wait to get involved. Don’t wait to talk to that person who needs talking to. If it’s of the Lord, do it and don’t wait.

God will answer your questions in time. He’ll let you know if you’re going to live in that city forever or if you are going to marry that person or if you should pursue that career. Have patience for answers, and don’t let a lack of them hold you back.

I’m preaching at myself when I say you should jump two feet first into life. I’m the kind of person who wants to dip a toe in to test the temperature. But I’m learning. I’m learning that patience—real patience—is continuing to move forward instead of freezing where you are.

So yes, there are a lot of things I still don’t know, in every area of life. But I know today that I am one year out from a second surgery with no signs of recurrence (yay!). And I know that God has placed me here in every sense of the word—in health, in hope, in Dallas, in an apartment, in a job, in a church, in a group of friends—to keep right on living while I wait for all the answers I want in my life. And He’s put you right where you should be too.

He’s put you in a specific spot in a specific time with specific answers that He wants you to have now. The rest He will reveal in time.

So while you wait to know where you should live ten years from now or how many kids you should have or if that disease is going to get worse or if this passion is how God wants you to invest your time…keep right on living.

Stay in the freefall. You think you know, but you have no idea.
Rebekah Lyons


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