A season of waiting. Much longer than any of us anticipated. Yet, I have been here before. Not in this same way of course, but waiting is not new to me. I bet it’s not to you either. It is an uncomfortable space. The lack of control in seasons of waiting is difficult to manage, but we try our best. We wait for the new normal. We wait for doors to open…literally in this case. We wait for the changes. We wait on the government. We wait on doctors to say it’s safe. We wait on the virus to dissipate. The whole world is waiting.
I’m not too great at it, if truth be known. You would think that by now, I would have learned a technique to reduce the stress of waiting. Not so. I am putting out resumes like confetti. I am pushing on doors which remain closed and locked.
Have you ever noticed the stress increases as the timeline gets closer? Like a pressure cooker, it builds up until I think it will blow. My last paycheck is right around the corner, and what happens after that? See what I mean? I have an increase in heart rate just thinking about it. My mind churns with all kinds of possibilities. Some days I am full of hope and excited to see what is next, but other days I am worried I will end up waiting tables or bagging groceries, or both.
I can do hard things. I’m not scared of hard. It wouldn’t be the first time, and I know we will make it, but it doesn’t stop me from franticly searching for easy. Or at least something I am good at. I see the panic button nearby and I think of pushing it often, to just grab any job that comes along, no matter what it is. But then, I go back to what I KNOW. I have experience in waiting, lots of it. So, I stop the anxiety merry-go-round and I get off. I go back to lessons learned in previous seasons of waiting.
First, waiting is not the same as wasting. The longer this crisis goes on the more it feels like I am wasting time, but it just isn’t true. This time is a chance to reset priorities. It is an opportunity for me to take stock. A time to humble myself and get on my face. A time of stillness, growth, and rest. None of those are a waste.
More importantly to remember is that I am not waiting for a new job. I am not waiting on an interview or an email. I am not waiting to be chosen. I am not waiting for accolades or praises. Nor am I waiting for things to get back to normal. I am not waiting to go out to a concert or a restaurant. I am not waiting on the virus to go away. I am not waiting for safety. None of these things are what I am really waiting on, what I am really waiting on is God.
It is an important distinction to make, because as long as I am moving and acting on my own behalf, he is waiting on me. When I am doing things in my own strength, he will sit out. It says in Isaiah 30:18, He longs to be gracious to me and he waits to have compassion on me. Hold up, what? Yes. It says he is waiting on me to long for him, to sit with him, to be with him.
I learned a long time ago, he will wait for me until I wear myself out. When I get frustrated and stop, only then he will move. That way I know he is the one who made the way for me, and not me for myself.
There is a reason there are so many scriptures that say to wait on the Lord. They are easy and encouraging to read, but much harder to do, especially in a pandemic. We are not used to waiting for anything. Patience isn’t our strong suit, but that’s okay, he will just keep waiting for us to get it. How many weeks will it take? It’s up to us, he has all the time in the world.
Usually it is our choice to wait on him or not, and if we continue with our jam-packed lives he lets us. This time is different because we are closed in by necessity, not by choice. This leads me to wonder, why is it he has the whole world waiting at the same time? What is he up to? I don’t know, but whatever it is, it’s going to be big. While we wait, he moves. It is his way. And when the whole world stops, you better believe there is a reason beyond what we can see with our eyes.
Now that I remember what I know about waiting, things are settling down in my heart. I am resisting the urge to push the panic button. I have decided instead, to wait and see what God will do. To sit with him. To be. I know waiting is the way to the courage I need. No need to litter the world with resumes. No need to fill up inboxes. The right thing will come along when it comes. Until then, I will continue to wait in anticipation of what is up ahead. I will believe he is doing a great unseen work that one day soon will be known. I trust him to move on my behalf and I know it will be so much better than if I push the panic button.
- Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.
- Psalm 37:1 Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, or because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
- Psalm 145:15-16 The eyes of all look to You, and wait. And You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.