I’ve never been one to get worked up over birthdays–that is, until my last one arrived. For the past 5 years, I dreamed up enormous goals and expectations of what I thought I would look like, feel like, and what I’d be doing when this age came to pass. To be completely honest, I put pressure on myself to meet all of them before my 5 year plan was even “scheduled” to come to fruition.

So not surprisingly when the big day came, I found myself a puddle of broken dreams and ashes of what should have been on the floor.

In my brokenness, God impressed upon my heart:

“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (MSG)

“Daughter, I am seeking constant communication with you. Pray about everything, all the time so I can set your goals and expectations in my timeline- not yours. Be still and Qavah. For the “shoulds” produce comparison and guilt, which is the enemy of contentment and the roadblock to breakthrough. You are exactly where you need to be. I am not surprised by your current place, your struggles or your pain. Trust me deeper.”

Qavah? I had never heard that word before. I searched and was overwhelmed at my findings.

Qavah is the Hebrew root word for “wait”-meaning to wait actively with anticipation; in hope for God to act. “Be still and Qavah-Let go and wait.”

God is asking us to surrender the shoulds. Whether that word haunts your motherhood or your marriage or if its been years of wiping up puddles of tears and ashes of what you thought you should be, existing in perpetual Qavah.

Take heart, God sees you.

He is actively binding together your faith in the waiting for the things unseen with what he is preparing and administering for your greater good, based on his timeline.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-7(NIV)

In our determination to seek healing, breakthrough or change, it is easy to miss the daily blessings that God has for us in Qavah. Rather than focusing on the goal, we can embrace the blessing of having a deeper level of healing, a deeper level of character development, and a deeper perspective of God’s holy presence and love. This is the activation of our faith through taking small steps towards the goal, but not being dependent on our outcome for our contentment.

Today I want to encourage you. If you are in Qavah, hoping for a new job, hoping for healing, or maybe just hoping for sleep, pause and remember that in this moment, God wants to teach you something about his love for you and magnify his presence within you every single moment of every single day. All of life is in Qavah, where he moves and acts on our behalf for our best outcome.

Journal / Reflection Questions:

Are there any specific areas of “shoulds” you can surrender to God?

Esther “Annie” Rhoades is a mom to three, wild and free kids and has been happily married to her best friend, Jon, for over 10 years. Annie values experience over things and loves yoga with worship music, diving into the word, hosting, thrifting, making healthy goodies, and traveling.

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