Have you ever gone to an event, a movie, or a church service where someone has taken it upon themselves to save an entire row of seats? The perpetrator, almost always a woman, has taken every item out of her purse (sweaters, notebooks, other smaller bags, any type of program or paper available), and enlisted the help of her friends by putting their purses on the other seats that hers couldn’t quite reach. It’s hilarious to watch a person go through this “territory marking” routine. While you look a little silly when placing the items on chairs, it’s nothing compared to the awkwardness of being the one left to guard the cluster of seats that has been claimed. When going somewhere with a group, I, unfortunately, am this person.
Lately I’ve been asking the Lord for wisdom about this season of my life. There has been a consistent and distinct contrast between my opinion about my current season and what He’s been telling me. My desires and His directives have been complete opposites. Recently, I’ve been feeling like I am treading water: exerting a lot of energy but going no where. I’ve been feeling an overwhelming sense of purposelessness, which I don’t deal well with.
“You’re saving someone’s seat”
Those four words changed my perception in an instant. I realized that I was using the wrong analogy for this season in my life; I’m holding a seat, a spot, for someone who isn’t here yet. They’re working, they’re fighting to get through the crowd, but they’re not quite here yet. I see other people bustling around, running to and fro, which makes it hard for me to stay in my seat, but that’s what the Lord has been saying to me: “Stay”.
My initial reaction to this thought was “I’m doing the job of a sign, I can literally be replaced by a piece of paper” but that’s not true. God has entrusted me with this task for this point in time. While I’m not entirely satisfied in this season, now I realize my purpose and now I know how to pray. I can take my focus off of my wants and focus on the task: the preparation for those who are coming. I can work through the complacency, the awkwardness, the boredom if it means another person will benefit.
This isn’t a revelation I was planning on broadcasting over the interwebs, but I don’t believe I’m the only one who is currently tasked with the job of “placeholder”. Being a seat-saver is an interesting task, you have to know that you don’t belong there, yet be in tune enough with the Lord to know not to move until the right time. He entrusts those positions to people who will be consistent and stay but will know the right time and right way to leave. If you’re holding onto the seat, holding onto the familiar or have to be escorted out by security, you’re not the right person for the job.
“Be still and know that I am God”
So I will wait. I will be still. I will pray. I will welcome with open arms the person for whom I’m saving the seat and will be excited for them to take their place. To my fellow seat savers, I am waiting with you, praying with you, and rooting for you. Let’s be a people who learn to wait well and how to leave well, because, who knows, there could be someone out there saving a seat for you.