It had been two years of leading a ministry for mothers, intense years of rapid spiritual growth filled with much to do and little time to do it.
Honestly, I was weary.
Longing to be released, I waited patiently to do what I’ve always wanted to do: write.
For so long, I lamented. “Lord, I don’t want to do this stuff. I don’t want to be in charge of this anymore because I’m not sure my heart can take it. I don’t have the energy to carry so much and receive so little. I just want to write,” I would grumble.
Of course, He knew I wanted to write. He planned for me to write – but not at that moment.
In my own naivete, I thought the period of preparation was God saying “no” but it was really God saying “Yes . . . but not now.” Though I didn’t understand, the preparation period was necessary to teach me what I didn’t know I didn’t know.
And the fast-track of learning can only help in the slow-track of writing. Writing, just like everything else, is about the process – not the product.
When I finally felt God releasing me from the ministry I was serving, six months passed before I received a contract to write Heart Sisters (releasing April 21 – yay!). For six months, I was confused. How could I have been so weary and in need of rest but also feel like I should be “doing something”?
This year, I’m a part of a wonderful international bible study called Bible Study Fellowship. It is deep and intense and I learn so much each week my head hurts – but in a very good way. We are studying the life of Moses which includes the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
In both Exodus and Numbers, the “glory cloud” is mentioned – the cloud, which was really God, told them when to move and when to “encamp.”
“When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s orders and did not set out. Sometimes, the Lord was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the Lord’s command, they would only encamp, and then at his command they would set-out.” – Numbers 19:19-20
The thing is . . . while my heart often yearns to encamp, to rest and regroup, the reality is . . . Encampment can be terrifying.
I want to know the plan and THEN I can peacefully encamp.
I want to know what’s next and THEN I will be still and rest.
I want to know the desires of my heart will be fulfilled and THEN I will slow down.
My own inability to release control and surrender to God’s timing interferes with the amount of wisdom I will ultimately pick-up. Release control, pick-up wisdom. Seems simple but it’s really not, is it?
In her book, You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be, Holly Gerth discusses reasons for encampment (weariness, needing to heal, it’s just not time, we’re being prepared for something big) as well as the “Setting Out” – then finally making it to the “Promised Land.”
She also discusses the importance of who will travel with you in your journey because not all people are “safe” people. Holley includes a helpful checklist in Chapter Six of the characteristics of safe and unsafe people.
When I look back to my own time of encampment, I am so thankful for this period of not knowing. When I finally understood that God was asking me to rest for a reason, I was able to be slow down and just be still. And trust.
As with any journey, there’s time to prepare – time to gather what you will need, gain more wisdom on where you’re going and rest. There’s time to set-out, to travel for a while but then stop for dinner and rest a bit before getting back on the road. And of course . . . what’s a trip without a final destination?
Because being on the journey and traveling it with those you can trust is the best process around.
Please choose at least one of the following questions to answer in the comment section:
1. Are there any areas in your life where you feel like you’re encamped? Review the reasons in Chapter Five why God sometimes has us stay put for a while. Which one did you identify with and why?
2. None of us are intended to go through life alone. Who encourages you on your journey?
3. Was there anything else that caught your attention from Chapters Five and/or Six? If so, what?