”I have run, I have crawled, I have called these city walls, only to be with you… But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” U2
What happens when the reason you are trapped in The Waiting Place is because you have no where else to go? When you start drifting through life without a clear sense of purpose, identity and direction, and the days, months and years start to merge together? Instead of jumping out of bed excited and energised, you stare are the ceiling and wonder, ‘is this it?’ When you look back on the last five, ten, fifteen years of your life and think, what have I accomplished? For some the challenge of the Waiting Place is to hold onto hopes and dreams during the hopeless times. But for others, the challenge is to hold onto the hope of a dream that is not yet realised. How do you keep hoping for something, when you don’t even know what it is you are hoping for?
There is a story of a woman who had been through a series of bad relationships; six in total. Totally boy crazy from a young age, she dreamed of being swept off her feet by a tall, dark, handsome man. Unsurprisingly, she was the first of her social group to get married. She squealed with delight at her new jewels, would talk for hours to anyone who would listen about how amazing her fiancé was, how romantic he was, and about how no expense was being spared on the wedding. She relished in the experience of being a bride; the envy of her friends, and the center of attention, an object of desire. Her wedding was everything she dreamed of, the clothes, the wine, the dancing, the laughter, everything was perfect. But after the romance, excitement and anticipation of the wedding, came the cold, cruel reality of being the wife and property of a complete stranger. It took some time for her hope in the handsome, rich suitor to fade completely. The first marriage ended, sooner than perhaps was decent, but she was still young and vivacious, and another offer of marriage soon followed. Her second wedding was not as extravagant as the first. The guest list was noticeably smaller, and many invitations were declined. The third, fourth and fifth weddings were hushed up, hurried affairs, a desperate attempt to provide her with some security as her steadily descended into complete degradation. Her friends, now happily settled with their husbands, all boring, ugly men she had never considered worthy of her time, now sniggered and gossiped about her, and openly snubbed her in the street. One desperate night when she had run back home, bloodied and bruised from a husband’s drunken rage, and her father had refused to let her in, yelling for all to hear that his daughter was a whore and deserved what she got. She become a recluse, only venturing out when absolutely necessary, usually in the heat of the midday sun when everyone else was inside, escaping the heat. When her fifth marriage ended, desperate and destitute she had thrown herself at the feet of the only man in town whose reputation was worse than her own. She had begged him, ‘please take me in, I have nowhere else to go’. and he had laughed at her, grabbing her by the hair and dragging her to a hovel on the worst side of town where she stayed, wretched, miserable and terrified. She knew he would never marry her. She knew it was only a matter of time before he kicked her out.
One day, on the way to a well on the outskirts of town she met another man, a man who neither ignored nor leered at her. He was kind and polite, and spoke to her as if she were his equal. She couldn’t remember the last time anyone had spoken to her like that. Somehow he knew all about her; her past and her mistakes, how she had lost all her dignity and self-respect as she jumped from one relationship to another, never finding the love and acceptance she craved. He looked at her with compassion, and saw a woman who so desperately wanted… something, but kept looking for it in the wrong places. Have you been there? Have you jumped from relationship to relationship, never fully satisfied, always believing that the next one will be the one? Or maybe it has been a series of jobs, careers, and ventures that you begin with high hopes, only to find that it’s not the right fit, not the right time, not the right place and move onto another one. Perhaps you have dabbled in spirituality, exploring the plethora of philosophies trying to make sense of the world and your place in it, only to come disappointed by the inconsistencies and hypocrisy. You tell yourself over and over again, ‘once … happens, I’ll be happy’. You continue searching, trying, tasting, experimenting, exploring, but you can’t seem to find what you are looking for. You are not alone. This is not a modern phenomenon. There was once a woman who had a series of bad relationships and had no idea what she was looking for. One day she went to a well and encountered a man named Jesus. Jesus showed her that she had value beyond that of her relationship status. That she deserved to be adored, and did not have trick or manipulate men into loving her. We don’t know exactly what happened to this woman after her encounter with Jesus, but we do know that she ran straight back into her town and told everyone about her encounter, and what is most surprising of all, the people believed her. A single encounter with a stranger at a well, and she was transformed from a social outcast to a woman of influence from this simple encounter.
Where do you seeking affirmation? Where do you find your identity? Is it in your relationships status, your job, the amount you have in your bank account, the number of countries you’ve been to? Are you so invested in trying to prove that you are smart, successful and innovative, because you doubt your own worth? Are you so desperate for people to adore you and admire you, that you have lost sight of how beautiful and lovely you already are? In all your searching, exploring and experimenting, have you encountered Jesus? I don’t mean dipping your toe in religion, attending church a couple of times, and reading a few articles by Christians on the net; but a life changing encounter than takes your breath away, and changes you from the inside out. Sometimes the reason we haven’t found what we are looking for, is because we are looking for it in all the wrong places. I believe that God created each of us for a purpose, and until we know who we are in Him, we can’t truly discover what that purpose is. Your identity is intrinsically tied to your purpose, and once you know who you are, you’ll know what to do. You are intentionally and lovingly created; a masterpiece. Your mix of talents, passions, quirks, and circumstances are not a mistake. So many people get stuck in The Waiting Place because no one has ever told them that they have value and worth and purpose written into their very DNA. The world is constantly sending us mixed messages of who we should be and how we need to change, but we’ll never make it out of The Waiting Place pretending to be someone else. Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.’ The Jesus I know and love isn’t just another man trying to tell you who to be or what to do. He is a gentle man with compassionate eyes, and a kind heart, who knows all about you and still likes you. He is someone who will walk with you, linger with you, give you all the time you need to ask questions, air your doubts, muddle through your reservations and make up your mind. Jesus longs for you to discover just how all the bits that everyone has been telling you to push away, cover up, and change, are essential to your purpose. He longs to take you by the hand and lead you out of the Waiting Place. Will you let him?
If you would like to find out more about Jesus or how your identity is tied to your purpose, email us at email@example.com