Are you waiting for something?
Have you had to wait before?
Did you learn something helpful during that waiting?
Oh man, I did.
Do you remember and apply those lessons each time you have to wait now?
I DON’T! (I’m raising both my hands high while dancing a goofy dance as I say this, because it’s that hilariously incredible to me that I forget so easily. Hellooooo human nature!)
Yep, I forgot my waiting lessons until reminded about them this morning. And when I say forgot, I don’t mean forgot-forgot. I mean I just filed them away in some messy file cabinet of my brain, back in the areas where dust quickly collects and they can only be accessed when I’m blatantly reminded of them either by
1. life events coming in loud or
2. someone reminding me.
And this morning, Someone reminded me.
After the Lord asked me where I was currently having pain in my life, I told Him.
Tell Me about it, He said. Tell Me about this pain.
And so I did. I told Him about it. (I know He already knows, but I’ve also learned to see the value He sees in having me, human, articulate it.)
Do you want it to be like this? He asked.
My response was to make a joke and say some “I shoulds.”
Ugh. I know, I know. I hate “shoulds.” And so I half-begrudgingly asked Him the question I knew was “the right” one to ask:
“Okay, okay…let’s cut to the chase. What’s the way YOU want me to see and think about it?”
This time, He spoke clearest of all.
That it’s not your time yet.
And immediately, my head and heart were zipped back in time…remembering a time I had to wait, and it was painful, and I hated it, and I was upset, and I felt behind what were my perceptions of “the right” schedule because I was having to wait.
20/20 VISION IS AWWWWWESOME.
Hindsight is 20/20, right? For me, in this, it’s hilariously so! Now, I look back on that period of waiting with (chuckling at myself as I write this) fond reminiscence.
I wave it away with my hand (and a slight British accent, because when I’m reminiscing and making fun of myself, that can happen),
“Oh yes! [light laughter] THAT. A tough time, to be sure, but it all worked out!”
Jessica, Jessica, Jessica. Don’t you remember? It didn’t just “work out.” God Himself had one of the most genius timing extravaganzas you’ve ever seen!
I thought my situation at the time was all about X. Allllllllllllllll about X. But when the time came for Him to deal with X, He also coordinated in situations Y, Z, plus seemingly unrelated circumtances E, K, and Q!
Rewind over. Fastforward back to today.
Today I’m waiting again.
Same Jessica. Same God.
Same know-very-little human female. Same Brilliant Genius Creator of Heavens and Earth.
What will I do?
WHAT I LEARNED:
3 THINGS TO DO WHEN WAITING.
I wrote down in my journal, “OK. I know I learned this lesson back when we were waiting on X. I know this means…”
Hmmmmm. What do I know this means? WHAT ON EARTH DID I LEARN THAT PAST TIME? (Not that it was the only time I had to wait, but it was certainly one of the most memorable.)
I wrote down three things I learned in my waiting. (Or after my waiting, because I wasn’t paying the greatest attention during all of it.) I’m sharing these three with you not only in the hopes that it will help others, but I’m sharing them primarily with myself. (I learned long ago that no matter what notes I receive in response to what I share, I think I’m the one who benefits most from this writing! I’m so selfish! Mwahaha!?)
#1. “Busy myself with what’s in front of me right now.”
Being told you have to wait for something doesn’t mean the kind of doctor’s office waiting-while-you’re-sitting kind of thing.
You can ACTIVELY wait. There is, no doubt, much we have to do in the other areas of our lives. So what are they? What else is in front of me right now?
I actually did this pretty well that past time. I threw myself into other things in order to escape the pain I was in from waiting. Whether that motive was a good one or not, I can’t say…
…but I can say that this time I want to do this not because I’m trying to escape the pain from waiting but because I’m choosing to focus on the present. And for me, that takes some strength. (Ugh. More work. JUST WHAT I NEED!?)
#2: “Enjoy what I have right now.”
Now, in contrast to #1 above, I didn’t do this one as well as I would have liked. Looking back from where I am now, I wish I’d looked at the positives from my waiting not being fulfilled at that time. Some of the problem was that I was so overcome that it was hard to see any positives in the first place! And I was ready to give anyone who may have dared to suggest any positives the evil eye for even speaking such rude nonsense aloud.
And so this time around, with a lot more experience under my belt, I have some extra OOMPH to change that. There are some definite positives I can already see in my Thing I’m Waiting For not being here yet. I need to get on that Positivity Train! (And I could—gulp!—ask a few trusted others if they see any positives too.)
And then—for me, very practically speaking—I probably need to make an actual list of those things and post it somewhere I can see it.
#3: Trust that the timing will be good even though I feel behind!
This one is hard for me. But, I’ll admit, it’s a liiiiiittle bit easier when I view it in light of my prior Waiting Times.
In my mind, my current situation needs to have such-and-such things happening—and happening
When I think about that, I feel rushed and stressed.
But, how do I know those things need to happen now?
What if they may actually need to happen later—or what if they don’t even need to happen at all?
RETHINKING THE WAITED-FOR THING.
What if my ultimate goal—the thing I’m wanting such-and-such things to happen in order to bring about—is going to happen in a completely different way?
Or what if my ultimate goal will actually never happen because it’s too little—too “low” of a goal?
So often, I’ve found that my own plans and goals are pathetically small and narrow-sighted compared to the Lord’s. His tend to be
- Oddly brilliant.
- Surprisingly clever.
- Eyebrow-raisingly ingenious.
(Including but not limited to the above.)
WHILE YOU WAIT…
As I affirm to my children so often, “It’s not easy to wait.”
That is true.
But it doesn’t mean waiting isn’t good for us. And, as seriously annoying as I find that sentence I just typed there, I will focus on what I learned last time. I will busy, enjoy, and trust.
And dash it all—would you believe it?—already I feel lighter. Truth has a crazy way of doing that for me. (I know, this is why I especially need to gobble down some Truth Breakfast every morning.)
It’s not easy, but no longer have I forgotten what to do while I wait.
How do you like to wait? (Maybe “like” is the wrong word. 🙂 ) But honestly, what do you find helped you during a past time of waiting?