Most of us are living in a gap.
Whether we realize it or not, we’re in-between mountaintops and answers. And often, the wait makes us worry. Whether we’re waiting for a response to prayer, a breakthrough, or a victory, we struggle to keep our peace of mind during the in-between.
Sometimes we wait in silence, and the silence can make us crazy. We spin our wheels. We try to predict what will or won’t happen. As if we can protect ourselves with a thick shell of scenarios, we prepare for the what if.
A few years ago, I found myself in that place.
I was nearing the due date for my manuscript, and I immersed myself in work. I hit 42,000 words, and I could see the end of months of pressing through doubt, writer’s block, tiredness and those big, awaited for aha moments.
Then, my computer wouldn’t start. I couldn’t log in. An hour-long call with tech support got me nowhere, and I realized after a day of research that we were going to need another computer. Except, my manuscript was only saved on one- the one that crashed.
Thank God for my dear husband, who installed a backup hard drive. But here’s the thing about technology. You never know if it’s going to work the way it should until you really need it to.
So, for two days while we waited for the new laptop to arrive, I spun my wheels. I faced real fear that all of my work would be lost with mere weeks until it was due. While I prayed and then worried some more, I found myself right there in the gap. The gap between the crash and the moment when I’d discover whether our tech investment had done its job.
Filling the gap with predicted outcomes makes us feel like we’re in control.
But the truth is, we’re not. Instead of clinging to what’s real, become wanderers, roaming farther and farther from peace. Instead of using the space of waiting to draw us closer to God, we can widen it with brooding.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. This gap, this time of waiting doesn’t have to be a place where we remain stuck, losing sleep.
After having a near panic attack, I realized I had to take my thoughts captive. I had to fill the space of waiting with something other circling thoughts.
So, instead of brooding, I made stepping stones out of his truths. Truths that kept me grounded when my mind wanted to sink into a pit of anxiety.
These truths are still the same today, both for me and for you. When the wait makes you worry, here are some stepping stones to help keep you on solid ground:
1. God brought us to the place we are now, and has never abandoned us.
As I reflected upon every detail of my life for the past year, I saw that every door I’d walked through was because he had opened it. And while I did what I could to insure deadlines were met, kids were fed, and relationships thrived, there was always a point where I had to open my hands and say, “Here, God. The rest is up to you.”
“You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.”
2. Worrying doesn’t change the outcome, but God can.
God knew what was on the other side of that waiting period. He saw each and every detail. He also saw the work and effort I put into each word. As I tried to race ahead of him, he was asking me to trust him.
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”
3. Whether the outcome is favorable or not, God is still faithful.
In my case, all but 400 words were saved. It was an answer to prayer and a moment of deep gratitude. But if the entire manuscript were lost, God would still be the same faithful, merciful God. His character doesn’t change as a result of our circumstances, no matter how impossible they may seem.
When we shift our focus from the unknowns of life to what we know of God, we find comfort.
We find peace for our weary minds. Yes, we’ll still falter and they’ll be times when we’ll need support from trusted friends and family. But what if we filled the gap with truth instead of anxiousness?
What if instead of anticipating the worst, we anticipated God acting out of his endless love? Because no matter what happens, he will. It’s impossible for him not to. Keep his love ever-present in your mind, and let his presence fill your space of waiting today.
If you need to shift your focus from a struggle or worry and see what God is already doing in your life, I encourage you to pick of a copy of my book, Shift: Changing Our Focus to See the Presence of God. I talk more about the ways a simple shift can change everything. Many people have sent me messages saying it is a timely book for this season. This encourages my heart so much. I pray that God continues to use it to touch lives.
Here’s what one reader said:
“This book is easy to read and so encouraging!
If you’re struggling right now, or feeling invisible, or just not sure what on earth God is doing in your life, this book will encourage you to shift your focus away from problems and towards the presence of God.
Like a friend, Abby comes alongside us and weaves great stories from real life into her message of hope. Shift is encouraging me to seek God in the middle of my struggles and to focus on His presence with me more than on expectations of what I wish were happening in my life right now.” -Betsy
You can pick up a copy of Shift by clicking the image below.