Waiting- none of us like it but all of us do it. It’s something that crosses racial boundaries, income lines, and affects people of all age. It’s something that’s literally as old as time- Adam himself had to wait for Eve to be created- but something all people still struggle with now and again. Waiting creates an emotion when the period of waiting lasts longer than we think it should. Ask any impatient person in a line and they will tell you something is happening (the line is moving too slowly, the checker should be working faster) that is causing them to wait longer than they believe to be necessary.
Certain days of the year highlight waiting that has become downright painful. Valentine’s Day is a very uncomfortable day to some singles, while Mother’s Day & Father’s Day can carry a very heavy emotion for couples struggling with infertility. A myriad of other circumstances, from buying or selling a house to waiting on an adoption or organ transplant, carry with them some very real emotions tied to a period of waiting that anyone who has gone through them could relate about. A common expression in these times of waiting is the feeling of “if only that thing were here, how well could I steward that gift or spend my time!”. Singles that feel they would make a loving spouse, adults that feel they would make wonderful parents….yet there they still are are, waiting.
I’m currently in a big, huge season of “wait” of my own- one that has far outlasted any other previous seasons of waiting I have been through. There are some hard-learned lessons God has taught me- and through the past few years, I have been reminded of the other times I waited for things I deeply desired, and how each and every one taught me something very specific. While most times I could even see the reasons for the wait on the other side, even in the ones which I still can’t understand why I needed to go through the waiting season, I know God taught me some invaluable lessons through the process. I’m sharing with you some of the lessons from my wait, and I hope it encourages you and equips you for how to spend your wait.
- Live in the present. One of the most difficult hurdles to get over in times of waiting, in my experience, has been to choose to be all-here in the present, even when I deeply desire a future that has yet to arrive. This has meant choosing to redirect my thoughts, spending time considering the blessings of this season, purposely planning activities that make the most of this time, and choosing to enjoy it as long as it may last. Embracing this is so incredibly freeing, and while it won’t eliminate the emotions of waiting, it does enable you to not dwell on the things you have yet to come into in your life with an unhealthy amount of time spent thinking about the things that have yet to pass in your life.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Philippians 4:11
- Trust in the Lord. Waiting isn’t a popular activity for a reason- it can leave you feeling dejected, uninspired, & with a sense of purposelessness. Yet, God has allowed you to be in that season for a reason, and trusting His reasons for the wait and purposing to be the best version of yourself in the season can serve to inspire and encourage you as you delve in to the Word of God, choose to be a good friend, and care about what others care about despite what seems to you to be a less-than-perfect circumstance.
“Trust in the Lord and do good.” Psalm 37:3
- Do good. The second part of Psalm 37:3 is often overlooked- it is a partnership; a related relationship between trusting in the Lord and doing good. Depending on what you’re going through, you might not want to be very involved in the lives of others. Whether you’re waiting to get married, to have a baby, to go to school, for that transplant to come through, or in a season of painful emotions you are waiting to pass, it can be very easy to decide to stay away from places that remind you of others that have those things you wish you had. I have found that following God in obedience and doing good among those whose circumstances can remind me of what I’m waiting for can be the most profound “good work” of faith in my season of waiting. I would challenge you to make the decision to stop shielding yourself from what makes you uncomfortable and discover the way acting in faith actually serves to sooth your heart during your wait, when you are doing it unto the Lord and not for how man is going to react to your actions.
“So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:17
I’ve made this graphic of Psalm 37:3 to share with you below. It very much impacted me when I spent time considering the impact of this verse & James 2:17 on my life- that without faith and works of faith, my trust in the Lord was dead. I encourage you to save the image, make it your phone screensaver, and walk in trust while doing good in Christ and find your purpose in the waiting!
I wanted to note that I am not implying that there is not a need to process the emotions of waiting- or diminish how deep those emotions may be. I encourage you to find your safe people- people you can share your journey with, be honest with about the emotions, cry with, laugh with, and have the safety in which to share the ups & downs of your journey. If you have no idea where to find these people, pray for people who will pray with you, pray for you, and encourage you to walk forward in faith & good works. Wherever you’re at, I encourage you to leave a comment below- I would love to be praying for you, too!