When You Need to Wait (But You’re Dying to Speak)

I’m almost always a day late and a dollar short, so I’ll probably never have a viral post.

I’m not the girl with the fast reply or quick wit. I’m a ponderer. A processor. A pick-it-aparter.

But don’t let that fool you. Don’t think that I’m silent because I’m not passionate. The opposite is actually true right now. I’m quiet (for now) because I’m so passionate.

When I’m passionate and I speak out of the emotion of passion, I almost always regret it. I have friends who are thoughtful and eloquent under pressure and in the heat of the moment. I wish I were that woman, but I’m not. Instead, I tend to switch into “Action Amy” mode, and usually “she” wreaks havoc.

I earned that nickname when I was a college-student on a mission trip, and did I mention that it wasn’t a compliment? I was the assistant leader on a missions trip with “Praying Pam.” Pam was measured– quick to pray and slow to speak. I was impulsive and quick to jump in to make things happen. Guess who the teens we led liked and respected? Not much of a puzzle, huh?

I learned some painful but powerful lessons on that trip, and Jesus has continued that work in me over the years. He wired me this way, but He’s been growing me in how to manage that wiring. Jesus is teaching me how to harness my passion and measure my words. However, multiple times in the past year, I’ve found myself grieving over the words I spewed as emotion carried me away over something I felt strongly about. Good things. True things. Right things. But said in the wrong way.

Last Sunday, in a series my pastor is teaching on Daniel, I found the key I needed to lead me to a better place, a space in which I speak about my passions without blowing up the room and everybody in it. In the midst of a huge crisis with evil lurking the passage says, “Then Daniel responded with tact and discretion to Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, who had gone out to execute the wise men of Babylon.” (Holmon) Knowing that he himself faced an unfair and near-certain death, Daniel didn’t explode. He responded to injustice with tact and discretion, or as my NIV version adds,  wisdom. There it is folks. It’s what I need… It’s what we all need in the midst of high-passion situations– tact, discretion and wisdom.

Some  people I know are gifted with these traits. God seems to have woven it into their DNA, but they aren’t just gifts for some. We can all have the gift of wisdom if we ask for it (James 1:5). God just seems to have wired me to need to ask and then wait. In the wait, He refines my words but solidifies my passions, just the combination I need.

All of that is leading to this…

I have some things burning on my heart. Some things that are consuming my thoughts. And I’m dying to talk to you about them, but it’s not time yet. It’s not time because I’m mad, not yet measured. It’s not time because I’m grieving, not yet full of grace.

My friend Michele Cushatt recently modeled a wise wait for me. I commented in Instagram recently on the link to one of her articles (below), and it opened a message dialogue between us. When I told her that I was too mad to speak yet, she told me that the article I love sat in her saved posts for months while she worked through it and refined it. Because of that wait, her post is full of tact, discernment and wisdom.

In this post, I want to do two things. I want to give you the gist of what God is doing in my heart, because I think it’s part of a move of the Spirit that God is doing in His people. It’s my desire for us to join that move here. Also, I want to give you some links to those who are addressing these things well so that you can dive in and prayerfully think about these issues. I’m not ready to unpack all of it yet, but I don’t want to be silent either. These things are too important to me.

Here’s the list in a nutshell:

  • The thread that’s binding all my thoughts and heart-movement together is that we are all made in the image of God. Not one race. Not one gender. ALL.
  • #metoo sisters, I haven’t experienced what you’ve experienced, but I stand with you. Time really is up… and it’s about time. It’s time in the secular world, AND it’s time in the church for changes in attitudes and behaviors toward women. (Not change in biblical truth, but changes in attitude and behavior. I want to urge you to please, please resist the email that might be making your fingertips itch.)
  • I didn’t know what I didn’t know about the divisions of race in our country, but that can’t ever be an excuse. I’m learning and listening.
  • Finally, I’m learning that I don’t have to agree with every point of every voice that’s speaking in a movement, but in order to grow, I have to listen to brothers and sisters with voices outside of my limited experience. I refuse to reside in an echo chamber any longer. That only keeps us stuck.

For my whole ministry life, I’ve been about deeper relationships with God and each other. The list above is only an extension of that passion. The only change is that circle just keeps getting bigger.

I’m watching closely how people of faith are facing these issues, and I’m seeing some who are modeling the way I feel called to move . Others are responding in ways that I don’t feel comfortable emulating. If you’ve been feeling the weight of some of these issues or are now curious about who is influencing me, here are some messengers that I’ve found tremendously helpful (click on the link to watch, listen or read):

Trip Lee from MLK50

Jackie Hill Perry MLK50

A panel from Matt Chandler’s church 

Beth Moore “A Letter to My Brothers”

Jen Wilkin “More Pressing Than Women Preachers”

Michele Cushatt “The Gap of Christian Woman Leaders”

I love each one of you, sisters, but I know that some of you are worried about me after reading this. 🙂 Can I reassure you? Jesus and I are good. So good. And I’m searching the Scriptures as the source of answers, not just reading blogs and watching YouTube.

I want to urge each of you to do the same. Commit to let God’s Word reshape you. Commit to allow God’s Spirit to move you (even into uncomfortable places). Commit to listen and learn. Commit to exhange political ideology for Truth.

When I’ve waited and I know I’m being led by wisdom, tact and discernment instead of emotion and passion, I’ll write more about these things. Until then, let’s journey and grow together as sisters.

The Winners:

Thanks to all of you who left comments in the last month. I read and treasure each one! Here are the randomly chosen winners:

The Spirit Led Heart    V (5/24/18 5:25 pm)

Breaking Up with Perfect gift package     Sharon C (5/20/18 9:33 am)

Audacious gift package      Shirley (5//18/18  1:11 pm)

Me, Myself and Lies gift package   Tina Hubbard (5/18/18 12:00 pm)

 

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Comments

  1. Thank you for being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Time is well spent listening for His leading. Being obedient is your next challenge. There is an appointed time for you and you will be equipped to speak at the perfect time and place.
    We’re praying and trusting God to use you.

  2. Amy,

    Love what you shared here and am so glad you are inviting us to think through this important topic and not hide from it. These are conversations we need to have — we need to listen to one another and ask God to help us understand and respond with love and a heart ready to receive and learn.

  3. I just love the grace to be able to respond with “I’m too (mad, upset, insert other emotion here) to talk about this yet. That’s something I need! (I tend to stuff and spew) I also resonate with the feeling that we’re being called to do hard things and go into hard places with our faith. God bless you as you wade thru it all! I look forward to reading more.

  4. Kind of in the same spot, Amy! Spewing off answers to some of our most pressing questions is not doing anyone any good. Like you, I, too, am choosing to wait on the Lord and ask Him my questions. It’s only as each of us pursues Him will we move in the right direction on some of these issues, esp dealing with women.

    As the body of Christ grows into unity and maturity, we will be better equipped to show the world unity and not polarity!

    I can’t wait to read what God is saying to you!

  5. Amy, thank you so much for sharing this. I have struggled for years wondering what God’s purpose is for me and what gift/talent He has given me. Over 20 years ago, I attended a Women of Faith conference. At one point, a thought ran through mind that literally made my heart race. Over the years, I have pondered that thought, and have tried to follow through on it. But, it hasn’t seemed to pan out. The only thing that keeps coming back to me that I’m supposed to do at this point is to take care of my family. Right now, there is so much happening iny family, and after reading your post, it has become more clear to me that it’s not the right time to do anything else. I still have much to learn and God has more refining to do in me. Thank you again.

    • Julie, there really is a season for everything. I struggle with embracing the season I’m in instead of running ahead, but like you, I have to remind myself that God’s timing is perfect.