Seminary is done. Wow. For the first time in my son’s life, I actually have nothing more to do than my typical forty-hour job. When he was born, I was working for a publisher, as a youth pastor, teaching private music students, and studying every night, all while attempting to maintain a house. This with a child who, at nearly thirty month’s old, still does not sleep through the night.
Now, I find myself bored. I have never been the kind of person who only works forty hours a week. I get stir crazy, which drives my wife crazy because she’d love for me to just hang out at home for a few months.
Working as an assistant managing editor for a notable Christian academic book publisher, I basically run the editorial department along with my boss and an assistant. I spend my days walking authors through the publishing process, searching for manuscripts in our system (we have more than thirteen hundred at any given time) that fell through the cracks, answering random and odd questions, and managing the other employees as needed. So I have plenty to do already.
Yet, I find myself . . . well . . . my version of bored. For example:
Today after work, I picked up my son from daycare. We got back to the house, and hung out in the back yard. This involved digging in the dirt (amazing fun!), pulling weeds, moving a few toys from one end of the yard to the next, then barbequing hot dogs, wolfing down ice cream cones, watching Curious George, getting ready for bed, reading books, and singing songs.
Yup. Bored is pretty nice. But even in the midst of all that idyllic wholesomeness, part of me feels unsettled. I itch for the next project, the next phase of my process as a pastor. I yearn for the next step down life’s path.
I picked up a copy of Messy: God Likes It That Way by A. J. Swoboda. He’s a professor at George Fox Evangelical Seminary where I just graduated. I took some amazing classes with him. In my estimation, Swoboda is brilliant, and I believe my fellow writers would agree. In Messy, he writes this concerning our yearning to move on:
Wait on Jesus to say something before you run to another church to try and fix your problems. Wait on Jesus before you get cynical. Wait before you quit. Because when you wait, you can see something hovering. The Spirit amidst the chaos. And in your midst you will find hope. Wait. Sometimes when we wait in the middle of our pain we find the hope and grace we need to bear with one another in love. Sometimes acting in pain perpetuates it. (emphasis mine)
Wow! I stink at waiting. I am already toying with the idea of writing a book, and migrating my own personal blog to MatthewWimer.com. I am collecting the necessary materials to build a shed in our backyard, and plan to help my brother build a deck in his. But, in all of my enthusiasm and activity, what am I teaching my son about waiting on Jesus? American society teaches us to seek the next big thing, to achieve the dream! However, Christian life is not American life. Christianity teaches us to wait, to rest in God. We often call this Sabbath, but it is far more than simply taking a day of rest. Waiting on God is learning to set aside our yearnings in exchange for a deeper peace.
Does that make sense? Yearning is an instinct. We yearn for what brings us joy. However, that joy is fleeting. Everything ends eventually and we find ourselves endlessly transitioning from one thing to the next. Only when we release our yearnings and rest in Jesus are we able to find peace in the midst of our crazy, busy lives. This peace far exceeds any joy we will find in the projects with which we fill our days.
Waiting on Jesus sucks. I struggle to sit still long enough for him to speak to me. What would it look like for you to sit quietly with God? Do you have that kind of patience? I have a hunch, given my experiences, that waiting on him is worth it. Maybe I’ll just enjoy this time with my son for awhile.