Waiting is damn hard.
It’s a season of life full of question marks, frustration, and the ultimate game of emotional tug-o-war.
It’s not just seeing the fork in the road, it’s standing there, smack dab in the middle, with your head ping-ponging from one side to the other, feet cemented to the ground. Waiting is ignoring the weighty sack strapped to your back, resisting its insistence to plop it down and get comfy. “Don’t forget the sleeping bag and tent,” it whispers. “You might as well make yourself at home and get used to the view.”
There are many circumstances in life that require a delay in answers. It could be a medical diagnosis, adding a member to the family, a career change, a relationship on the rocks, or even the grieving process.
Waiting can feel so helpless. It’s the place in life where more than anything we want to DO something. Craig Bruce (author) means well when he says “You usually have to wait for that which is worth waiting for.” But you know what? While I’m waiting, I wanna punch that guy in the face. (Sorry, Bruce.)
These 3 tips might be a bit more constructive…
Waiting is one of the most difficult challenges we humans experience. It’s NOT easy. But PRETENDING that it IS makes it that much more problematic. When we put up a front, we do a great disservice- to ourselves, to others, and to God. When we’re not willing to sit in the weight (see what I did there? ;)) of our circumstances, we become inauthentic versions of ourselves. Brene Brown has this to say about vulnerability in her amazing book, Daring Greatly. “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” (Emphasis mine.)
Being authentic while waiting can open the door to courage and hope. And if we’re being honest with one another, we need those things more than ever while enduring our emotional purgatory.
Getting real with our God is possibly the most powerful component to this waiting piece. He wants to know the REAL YOU, not a dressed-up version of you that talks sweet, proper, and calculated. Tell him that you want to punch Bruce! Cry out to Him in your frustration! Don’t be afraid to show Him your flaws and faults. (Spoiler alert- He knows them already and loves you like crazy anyway.) When we stop putting on an act for our Savior, it brings us closer to Him. It’s like any other relationship, right? The more free we are to be ourselves, the more loved and comforted we feel. Nothing helps the waiting game more than that.
Nothing can strip our identity more than staring at that giant fork in the road. Paralyzed, we have nothing else to do but to analyze and critique, plan and think. This internalizing may not seem as though it requires much energy, but it’s the most exhausting process on the planet. The fatigue that comes from living in our heads can rob us of who we are. It can play mind games with our psyche and cause us to doubt our very core.
While you’re waiting for your answer, be true to who you are. Do the things you love to do. Spend time with the people who KNOW and LOVE you. Focus on the activities that give you life, energy, and fill your soul.
Ultimately, give yourself some grace. We put so much pressure on ourselves in this phase of life to hurry up and have it all figured out. We judge ourselves when we’re not on our A-game and guilt overcomes us when we’re not living up to our own expectations. I love this quote by Stephanie Kline…
“Don’t be so damn hard on yourself. Yeah, you screwed up. You’re not perfect, fine. Learn from it. But don’t punish yourself. Be kind to you, even when you screw up. You’ll bounce back eventually. You’ll make up for it.”
“Being you” can mean allowing yourself a happy moment (or two or ten or twenty!); it can also mean allowing yourself to wallow. Be you and be KIND to you.
This is the hardest. It’s so hard, in fact, you now probably want to punch ME.
I’m not suggesting that you paint pictures of rainbows and sprinkle fairy dust while prancing, but I do want you to take a deep breath.
Think back on a time in your past when you were told to WAIT. Recall how that situation resolved. It may not have turned out the way you wanted, but I am almost certain it had at least some positive outcomes. Perhaps it was even better than you hoped for? At the very least, you came out of that circumstance a stronger, wiser, and better person.
This is a great time to talk to friends and family who have seen hard times and made it through the other side. Let their testimonies bring you life and cling to the expectancy that someday your story will lift others up and bring them hope.
“I will declare your righteousness and your salvation every day, though I do not fully understand what the outcome will be.” (Psalm 71:15)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Certainly these aren’t the only things to do while you’re waiting. If this wasn’t enough of a “To Do” list for you, here are a few other valuable action steps to take…
- Dig into the Bible
- Put nutritious food in your body
- Incorporate intentional exercise into each day
- Journal your thoughts and feelings
- Keep an open mind
- Go to counseling
- Talk to a trusted friend
- Play worship/positive music in your home and in your car
- Laugh as much as possible
- Read for education and for leisure
- Practice deep breathing exercises
- Talk to Jesus all day
- Make sleep a priority
Friends, there is no right or wrong way to wait. I simply want to empower you to be as authentic as possible and to be kind to yourself along the way. Above all, take heart knowing that there is a good God who adores you and has amazing plans for your future.
Also, I love you and would be honored to pray for you.
Live Life on Purpose,