Sometimes I feel scared to stop and wait. It seems counterintuitive. I have been trying to grow a movement for women's freedom for decades through the work of Thistle Farms, while pastoring a church and raising kids. I am always pushing ahead to stay on top of bills, ahead of the curve, or in front of the current issues. Waiting feels like it's ruining my day, like letting froth die on a fresh latte, or like watching a muse move on to a more alert host upon which to rest. The fear of waiting is ridiculous, but it is part of the fragile ground upon which I tread in my own anxiety.
Is it hard for you to wait? In your quest to seek justice or to finish a to-do list, is waiting the stress?
I am pretty sure I have said, "Hurry up!" in every line I have ever been, in whether it's in a grocery store or going through customs or the never-ending traffic in Nashville or even a communion line at church. It rarely feels like the “first will be last.” It sometimes feels like people ahead of me are playing on their phone, or asking too many questions, or not moving at the speed with which I believe efficiency is maintained. "Go," I hear myself saying on tarmacs, in carpool lines, and as my children learned to tie their shoelaces.
This Advent, though, I am hearing myself say a different word for the first time. For the first time, I can hear the warning from Isaiah as he reminds all seekers of peace and justice to wait and listen.
“Wait and listen, everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters...”
— Isaiah 55:1
Unless I am willing to wait, I will not perceive the author of all justice. Unless I am willing to slow down, my ears will miss the voice of peace. So, my word for the first time this Advent is "Stop!”
Stop everything and perceive God!
I know everything is moving so fast, and when I stop, I can finally see it flying by. My husband's parents both died this fall, we are ushering one of our children off to college, and Thistle Farms has outgrown me. If I—or you—don't stop, we will pass ourselves by.
I want to breathe, and not move, and simply wait. Wait with grace as the light stays red, as my children take forever packing, and as women come to the decision to leave the streets and live in the community of Thistle Farms.
So, I offer you the word "wait" with all love and hope for the best Advent of your life. I offer you that word in the spirit of Isaiah who longs for all of us to be with God.
Stop and wait!