By Jerilyn Sanders
What’s the difference between waiting on God and just being overwhelmed by all the things I feel like I should be doing? I can’t sit on the sidelines doing nothing, but continual frenzied activity is a recipe for burnout and breakdown.
As I’ve pondered this, I think waiting on the Lord means being close enough and spending enough time with God to discern your assignment for a particular season. I think having your strength renewed depends on not trying to take on more than what the Lord has asked of you.
I once had the privilege of hearing Unita Blackwell, friend and protege of Fanny Lou Hamer, talk about her activism during the Civil Rights Movement. She was asked how they’d had the courage to face all the violent opposition during Freedom Summer.
Ms. Blackwell explained that not everyone had the same role at every march or demonstration. When the opposition came – the dogs, the water hoses, the policemen with sticks – those assigned to the front line were ready for the physical part of the battle. They needed to force the confrontation so the world would see. But others were assigned to hang back when the onslaught started. Some were to take note of who was being detained or injured so they could arrange for legal and medical assistance in the aftermath. Others had the job of picking up all the marcher’s kids from school, feeding and caring for them that night. The Movement leaders knew that people can face very hard things but not everybody needs to do every hard thing every time.
Game-changer! Photos and video images of violent Civil Rights clashes look like total chaos and mayhem. But there was actually purposeful leadership for the freedom fighters.
As God’s people, we have a Leader who will direct us through assigned cycles in a world of unending need. God knows that our wellbeing is important for longevity. If your assignment is on the front lines of a particular battle, the Lord gives the courage and strength you need to face it. But at other times, the Lord will direct you to say no to that board invitation, or the Holy Spirit will tell you NOT to speak when that foolish person attacks. Sometimes, your role is to pray and encourage someone else who is on the front lines. You will even need to sit some battles out entirely while you rest and heal. One way God renews our strength is by refilling our joy. Turn down the chaos. Wait for your assignment.
About Jerilyn Sanders
Jerilyn Sanders is a wife, mother, daughter, and church lay-leader in the Chattanooga, TN area. She serves as Sr. Director U.S. Programs at the Chalmers Center, equipping God’s people to address the root causes of poverty. Find her at [email protected]