Today was gorgeous. Completely gorgeous. The mid-September air had this slight nip in the breeze, and I couldn’t help but smile at the very blue, wide-awake sky. It was an open-the-curtains-and-light-a-candle kind of day. I met a friend at a local coffee shop downtown to study for an exam and had a pumpkin spice chai latte. My sister Abby came over and we made homemade brownie biscotti to dunk in our coffee, ate apples and cheese, then went for a short walk through my apartment complex. I wore jeans and a hoodie with the sleeves pushed up to my elbows and didn’t swelter to death.
It was a beautiful taste of fall.
I love autumn. I love boots and scarves and hot drinks. I love exhaling and seeing my breath go before me as I walk to my car. I love vibrant leaves and the smell of bonfires, and flickering candles reflecting against the coffee table.
You know what, though? Today was an exception. A teaser. A preview. Autumn isn’t here yet. The calendar tells me it’s still technically summer for another week, and the forecast tells me we’re not through with days in the 90s.
But oh, how badly I want fall to come. It’s so close I can feel it, but it’s not here yet.
It’s kind of fun, though. The anticipation of a new season. The waiting for something beautiful to arrive. It’s a good thing to look forward to good things.
It can be dangerous, though. We can easily get so caught up in wishing for what’s not ours yet that we blindly race through where God has us in this moment.
Can you relate?
But there’s also beauty in the right here, right now. People ask me what I’ve learned in my first month at seminary, and I consistently say: “In one month, I’ve learned I know nothing about anything” (We’ll discuss how utterly humbling that is another time).There’s so much to learn and I feel like a dish sponge at the mouth of a fire hose. And while it’s overwhelming at times, I love that. I’m thriving. There are plenty of opportunities for me to serve the Lord with my gifts and grow in His grace. However, if I’m not intentional, I find myself longing for something that isn’t mine yet; grasping at what God has planned.
Maybe that’s you. Or maybe there’s something else you’re waiting for. Maybe one of the deepest desires of your heart is to be married, but you’re currently as single as you were the day you were born and all you want is to fall crazy in love and have a little family and a little house and a lifetime of memories with the one you were created to walk beside.
Or maybe you feel confined to a place you feel you’ve lived in way too long. Or you desperately want a new job. Or you just want a job, period.
Or maybe you have a big dream, but you wonder if you’ll ever see it come true.
Maybe you just feel stuck. And it’s so insanely tempting to wish for something that isn’t yours yet. To wish for cooler weather and pretty leaves and apple cider. To wish for a diploma, a husband, a career, or even a clue about your calling.
Currently, I’m studying what I’m passionate about. I’ve got a great family and fantastic friends, and I’m meeting new people everyday. I recently published a book and had the unbelievable opportunity of watching that long-time dream come true. I’ll tell you the truth: Those things are fantastic. But those things don’t fill me up. There are still things I’m waiting for; still things I’m praying toward; deep, unfulfilled desires.
You know what? That just proves something true. We’re created with space in our souls, and we make it our mission to fill it up.
If I could just have this…If I could only get this…If only God answered this prayer…
And then we get what we thought we needed and yet, the space is still there. Our wants still stare us in the face, tempting us to believe we’ll reach contentment if we just reach one thing more.
It’s a God gap. It’s the space shaped for the Holy Spirit. Each time we find ourselves wanting something that’s not here yet, it’s a nudge. The Spirit whispers, I’m right here. Come to me. I am your joy. I am your peace. I am your satisfaction. I am the Designer of your desires, and I know you better than you know yourself. I know you. Come to Me and be filled.
The Holy Spirit lives in me. I have all I need. But I’ve always been a loud talker, and sometimes the voice of Anna drowns out the still, small voice of the Spirit. I rattle off a checklist of things I’m waiting for, all while Jesus is telling me to simply be still and know that He is God and He is more than enough.
I’ll tell you another truth: When I actually tell myself to zip it and then listen to the voice of Jesus, life—the life I’m living right now—gets crazy-exciting. When I focus on the fact that I am where I am for a reason, experiencing the things I’m experiencing for a reason, I can’t stop the joy that fills my heart. Yeah, I’m waiting on things, but that doesn’t mean I have to stop soaking in all God has for me right now. Because, honestly? Where I’m at right now is just as significant as what’s coming up. God is working in my life just as much now as He will be when I get to whatever I think is next. That’s true for you, too.
Have you ever considered that if you’re seeking God and living your life for Him, then He has you in a place that is bringing Him the most glory in this season? That He is working in your circumstances to show you truths about who He is? I don’t know about you, but that puts a ton of things in perspective.
If you’re like me and you’re so excited about fall that you’ve already broken out the flannel, let me encourage you to savor this last taste of summer. If you’re like me and you’re so excited about the plans God has for your life that sometimes you can hardly sit still, let me encourage you to thrive in these moments of absorbing everything God has brought into your life right now.
Surrender to the One who sculpted your soul;the one who shaped your heart and determined its beat and gave you big dreams.
How exciting would it be to let Him show you the excitement of what’s in your life right at this moment, as you stand on the edge of Autumn? My guess is pretty exciting.
“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” – Colossians 2:7-10 (NLT)