I was really excited to go to lunch with her – even though we had never met. (I’ll call her Jill.) A common friend had introduced Jill and me via email because I wanted to learn more about what Jill was already an expert at and she agreed to go to lunch with me. To make lunch as convenient as possible for Jill, I drove over an hour to a restaurant near her home. I couldn’t wait to talk to her, hear her insights and glean from her experience.
After waiting in the restaurant lobby for 15 minutes, I texted Jill to make sure we were still on for lunch. She replied that she was on her way. I waited another 15 minutes. And then she came and we had a nice lunch and a lovely discussion.
I don’t love waiting. You probably don’t either.
I’ve never heard someone say, “I just love waiting in line! The longer the line, the better.”
But the fact of the matter is, we wait. A lot. We wait in lines at the grocery store and for the traffic light to turn green. We wait at the bus stop for the kids to come and in the lobby for our dentist appointment. We wait to meet the “right one,” to get pregnant, for the baby to arrive, for the kids to start school, for date night, for upcoming vacations, for the house to be built, for the house to sell. We wait for people. We wait for answers. We wait for time to pass.
I’m not sure we think of waiting as a good thing. It’s more of a nuisance. We wish away the moments between where we are and where we want to be – between what we have and what we want. We don’t often take advantage of the possibilities and potential of the waiting place.
I could have sent a couple of emails from my phone while waiting for Jill. I could have read an article or texted my mom. But instead, I fretted – simply because I was waiting.
Erin Kramer Holmes, a BYU Professor in the School of Family Life, said, “Gaps between our ideals and our real circumstances challenge us. When reality hits or when things don’t go as planned, we may struggle. Uncertainty can be painful. If uncertainty is inevitable and if it can be so challenging, what do we do about it?”
I’d like to suggest three things we can do when we are in the waiting place. These are things within our control. (Hallelujah – because it seems like most things in the waiting place are not in our control!)
Define what you’re waiting for and why it is worth it. That might seem obvious – at the least first part. Charles Stanley said, “Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on what we are waiting for.”
So let’s say the waiting place is…the hope of getting married. You want to meet the right person and start a life together. You want to love someone and have them love you. Now, what makes that worth waiting for? Really think about it. Write it down – be specific. Define the end goal and keep your eye fixed on that. In the moments when you’re tired of waiting and you doubt whether or not it is going to happen, pull out your journal and read the whys. As you focus on the reasons why it is worth the wait, you’ll feel an increase in stillness and peace. Your heart will be willing to stay in the waiting place because what you are waiting for is of utmost value to you.
Trust God’s goodness. During the October 2011 General Conference, J. Devn Cornish said, “Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that the things that are important to us become important to Him, just because He loves us.” God is the giver of all good gifts. He wants us to be happy and He is truly and fully aware of the desires of our hearts. The waiting is not a punishment. It is not a sign of disapproval. It is a time of learning, growth, preparation and grace. He is there with us in the waiting. During the gaps, keep trusting that He will provide. Keep praying. Continue asking for your righteous desires. Remember, reflect on and talk about past blessings, miracles and tender mercies. “Let gratitude for the past inspire you with trust for the future.” Believe that God is going to give the gift as quickly as He possibly can. We don’t know all that is happening behind the scenes but we can trust that He is working and moving on our behalf.
Use the time well. Be productive during the waiting place. The wait is going to end. And when it does, we’ll want to look back on that time and know we used it well. Some waits are short and some last for years. If you’re standing in a long line to buy that pair of crazy cute shoes because they are the last pair and they are 50% off – strike up a conversation with the person next to you. Read the scriptures while you wait for the doctor. Ask interesting questions while you wait for the chips and salsa to come to your table. If the wait is more significant…volunteer, get a degree, take a class, learn something new, gather recipes, exercise, read, call friends, start a group, work in your garden – find something that allows you to be creative and use your time in a constructive way. One day, perhaps you’ll say…
I didn’t expect to discover the things that I found
When He let my heart linger here on this unsteady ground
We are promised in Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint”
Stay the course and believe in the grace that is found in the waiting place.
Blog to you soon,
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