I could tell from the silence that it wasn’t really what she was expecting to hear.
Should I change my tactic? Tell her what she wants to hear? Make something up?
It was Skype so thankfully I was spared having to make eye contact. (My internet connection really doesn’t do well with video!) All the same though, I found myself feeling almost guilty that I didn’t have a better answer.
We were talking about blogging and what she could do with her blog. Topics of interest. Ideas for business. Best next steps. That kind of thing.
All of the ideas are great. You really could go with any of them. You know, there isn’t any one correct answer. Sometimes it’s just about trying something, anything almost, and running with it, seeing what happens.
Ok, so not the answer she was hoping for.
What do you do when you’re holding out on an answer and when it finally comes, it’s totally not the answer you were hoping for?
Maybe a “no”, when you were expecting a “yes”. Or a “wait” when you wanted a “go”.
A couple of weeks ago I applied for a job. It sounded amazing and I could see so many ways it could be great, both for me personally and for us as a family. I had what I believed to be an inspired idea.
I talked to God about it. Told him that I was really excited about it but that if it wasn’t right for me and my family, that I didn’t want it. And I genuinely meant that. Really.
Until I got an email to say I’d been rejected before they’d even heard my idea.
I was gutted! It was totally not the answer I was expecting and I have to admit I cried, just a little. And then I pouted. And then I sulked.
And then, eventually, I got over it.
And less than two weeks later, I felt compelled to restart these daily blog posts. I’ve also got an outline for a book that has been a long long time in the making and life feels fun again. Great result all round!
But here’s the thing … sometimes the answer we’re waiting on is a whole lot bigger than some random job. Sometimes it really crucial life or death stuff.
How do you pull yourself back from the answer you totally didn’t want to hear? Or how about when stuff is falling down around you and you hear nothing but silence?
Is it possible to hold onto a scrap of faith then?
The correct churchy answer is that those are the times when you need your faith most and that you’ll dig in and God will do his thing and carry you. Et cetera, et cetera.
But what does that really look like? And what if all you can do is scream and cry and rail? What then?
You know what? I believe in a God who is big enough to cope with you and me on our very worst day. He has broad enough shoulders to carry the blame, even when he knows it’s not actually his fault.
Sure, shouting and anger might not be his favourite method of communication but it’s got be to preferable to silence.
What if God just wants you to show up, honestly, just as you are?
What if he doesn’t need you to have the correct words or the perfect prayer?
What if just wanted you to show up and be real?
What might that look like?