For When it Seems as though God has put You on the Shelf

It’s one of those seasons. You know, the one when every one else’s life is full of exciting things; God is using them mightily to heal the broken-hearted, or teach the Word, or sing soul-stirring worship songs, or feed the hungry all over the world.

Every one else but you.

With you, nothing happens. Nada. As though God lost His voice. And you know better, but it sure feels like it.

And every time you try to do something, there just isn’t any grace flowing, and you know it. It’s like God put you on the shelf for now.


It isn’t very comfortable. It’s itchy, and lonely, and quiet, up there on the shelf. It feels  purposeless. Empty. Dusty.

So you look around, and you see the people all around you, mightily used of God. And you notice how tired she looks, that woman over there, the one who rocks those babies dying of AIDS. So you begin to pray for her. And while in His presence, you find out that she really could use a friend. So you reach out to her, and let her know that you are available to talk. And she thanks you and smiles.

And then you see the man who delivers the milk, the one to whom all the kids run because he always laughs, and he always takes time to listen to them. And then, for the first time, you see it, that sadness behind the laughter, and you wonder what’s going on at home. And you begin to pray for him. And over the next few months, the sadness leaves that place deep in his face. 

And you can’t help but hear the yelling down the street, the doors being slammed, the lock on the door, the yelling back and forth, the kids screaming at night, and your heart aches for them. So you get on your knees, pleading with God for mercy.

door closed

And your times in His Presence, they grow longer and longer. And the feeling that you are left out, it grows dimmer and dimmer. Because in the process of being with Him, and loving the woman who rocks the dying babies, and caring for the man who listens to the children, and the family hanging on by a thread, you lose yourself in Him. You find your joy in Him.

And the time on the shelf, it opens your eyes to what matters. It teaches you to live well. It leads you to compassion. And the time on the shelf, it leads to knowing Him more.

And then, one day, just like that, He calls you to hop off the shelf and go do stuff. Day in and day out. And you find that these times on the shelf, they prepared you for the Now. They infused you with His Presence.

And then you understand the shelf. And the shelf, it is beautiful. The shelf, it grew you all up. The shelf, it is necessary.

Cultivating Thankfulness with Ann Voskamp

one-thousand7#800 my friend Janet who told me to just enjoy the Lord while I was on the shelf

#801 A crisp day to talk a long walk

#802 A successful Life Coaching session  

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home, SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home, Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, Gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays, Extraordinay, Lessons from Ivy, Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday, Finding Joy, WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word,



  1. Nice post. As much as we resist time on the shelf, it is such a necessary part of each of our lives. May we each embrace that time & let God work in us what is needed. Thank you for sharing this today! I was your neighbor this morning at Three Word Wed. 🙂


  2. Oh this was so good Barbara. It really opened my eyes to how that time on the shelf is needed and He is using us even then. Thank you for linking up for Three Word Wednesday. Many blessings.


  3. This has really spoken to me today! Wow!

    I felt called to leave my job and take one with less hours and stress so that I could dedicate myself more to God. But silence. I ask Him, “Where do you want me” but it seems as if I’ve been “put on a shelf” to just wait a moment more.

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart today!


  4. Hi Barbara,
    We call “the shelf” God’s transition to the next adventure. It sounds more exciting than sitting on a shelf. It makes us feel like God always has something in store for us and we have to pay attention to that moment.
    Thank you for sharing this on the Thumping Thursdays Blog Hop.



  5. Help — I understand that if God puts you on the shelf it is because you have sinned to much and continuously and will never be used of God again and be an outcast. Even if you repent and stay in the word, pray, look for opportunities, nothing happens . Then you come to the crossroads of “You were never saved and the Lord doesn’t want you. Fear sets in each day for 8 years and then the end is considered to take your own life — since God isn’t using you or want you and your still here. Your thoughts are greatly received and appreciated….Thank you


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