Learning To Wait Well
I know that I've written about this here before, but I feel like it needs a bit of a rehash. You see, I don't like to wait.
I wish that everything I ordered online would come with next-day delivery...
I wish I could wave a magic wand, and make everything in my life and the world around me better--in an instant...
I suspect there are a few other impatient people out there as well. These past 18 months or so have tested the patience of even the most saintly and serene among us.
We've been waiting on anything resembling good news about the global pandemic that continues to rage around us. We've been waiting on things to get better between us and our fellow citizens, with whom we have deep disagreements.
It's natural that in the midst of all of this waiting and longing that we begin to get impatient, that we give voice to our frustrations, or stuff them deep down inside of us in unhealthy ways.
It's also natural to want to speed things along. We want to move, to make decisions, to decide things, to make dramatic changes. It could feel like to us that time is running out, and we need to act now or never.
It's natural for us to want to resolve our questions, fears, and doubts, and to put the struggle of waiting behind us. But sometimes, it's the waiting that teaches, instructs, and also forms us if we are willing to surrender to it.
Author Dennis Wholey wrote about this very thing, and these lines are incredibly instructive for those of us who struggle with patience:
I've started to realize that waiting is an art, that waiting achieves things. Waiting can be very, very powerful. Time is a valuable thing. If you can wait two years, you can sometimes achieve something that you could not achieve today, however hard you worked, however much money you threw up in the air, however many times you banged your head against the wall...
Waiting just might be (to quote Tom Petty a bit) the hardest part of transformation and growth, but it's necessary for any kind of transformation and growth to happen.
Perhaps you are facing a situation right now where just about everything inside of you is screaming at you to speed up, to keep moving, to get through the waiting to whatever awaits you on the other side of it.
But there's this small voice inside of you as well, that is whispering, "Wait... Stay here a while... You don't have to rush... Be patient... Keep moving as quickly as you can, but as slowly as you must..."
Exercising patience can sometimes save us from ourselves. It can keep us from acting too hastily before we've gathered enough information. It can keep us from
Waiting can teach us the importance of surrender and trust. It can give us the chance to let go of our own desires, and learn to trust that God's purposes for us are more often than not revealed in God's own time.
It needs to be said here that waiting and being stuck are two very different things. If waiting becomes the very thing that keeps us from ever moving, it ceases to be waiting and is more akin to obstinant fear.
So if there's something in your life today that you are waiting impatiently on, and all you want to do is move beyond it. Take a deep breath, and a step back, perhaps. Don't allow yourself to be tempted by the "tyranny of the urgent."
Stop. Look. Listen. Seek to see where God might be speaking to you, revealing Godself to you in order to guide you forward.
Surrender your timetables to God and trust that come what may, you will seek to pursue God's purposes for your life and not your own--even if it means you have to wait for a while.
Learn to exercise the kind of patience that isn't afraid to "wait on the Lord," as an ancient Hebrew poet wrote, and to believe that God always has your best interests at heart.
May this be so for you today and every day. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.