“I’m waiting for God’s timing on that.” Have you said that before? I know I have. Usually with a martyr’s sigh and the back of my hand to my forehead, ready to swoon with exhaustion from …. doing nothing.
Many times we truly are waiting on God before moving forward. We wait for Him to prepare us for a big assignment. We wait for Him to unlock a door. We wait for God to make it clear it is time for a change. We wait. And we wait. And it is good.
But sometimes, we use “waiting” an an excuse … as a euphemism for procrastinating. The challenge God has put in front of us is so big, so audacious, that we just can’t wrap our heads around it. It’s so complicated and needs such focus it will take super-human effort to do it right. So we wait. And we wait. And it is procrastinating.
So how do we know the difference? How do we know if we are obediently waiting for God’s timing, or if we are avoiding the new thing He has called us to do? I’ve learned three principles to know the difference between waiting and procrastinating.
Waiting renews your strength. Procrastinating saps your energy.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 (NIV)
When God calls us to a time of waiting, it’s not for a time of doing nothing. He has a purpose when He is preparing us. Preparation strengthens and equips, making us stronger and more committed to the dream. We know we will be ready when the time comes! But procrastination is draining. When we know there is something we should be doing, seriously y’all, doing nothing is more exhausting than doing anything.
Waiting inspires hope. Procrastinating instills dread.
I wait for the Lord; my whole being waits, and in his word, I put my hope. Psalm 130:5 (NIV)
God-ordained waiting brings a hopeful excitement. Something big on the horizon is going to change everything and because God is in it, we know it is worth the wait. Procrastination brings a burdensome dread. Something is not getting done; an opportunity is being missed. If we don’t get up and do what God has called us to do, the loss will be crushing.
Waiting focuses on God. Procrastinating focuses on me.
Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desires of our heart. Isaiah 26:8 (NIV)
When God asks us to wait, He asks us to trust Him. He knows when the time is right and we turn to Him before we move right or move left so that He will be honored by our steps. The fear of failure will cause us to put things off, being more concerned about how we will look than how God will move.
Waiting can be a productive time of refreshing, preparing and drawing closer to God. But when God says, “Go”, it’s time to jump in with our whole heart, all of our energy and a trust that knows even if we fail, God’s got our back.
Are you in a time of waiting or procrastinating? Which of the three principles helps you sort it out?