If you’re anything like me, waiting is not something you enjoy. It feels inefficient, a waste of time. Every time I call a business and learn my wait time is anything more than 3-4 minutes, I tend to move the phone to “speaker” and go find something else to do….while I wait! I try to be on time to everything and when I’m on time and whoever I am going to see is not ready, it frustrates me. I’m not a fan of waiting, so you can imagine, for me, this season is incredibly difficult. As I write this, I’ve left my position at a local church and don’t yet have my new assignment from God. And so this blog post is real-time for me. I thought I’d share with you a few questions I’m asking during this season and ways I’m trying to maximize the waiting. For you, the waiting season may be forced on you or something you’ve chosen, but regardless, let’s not waste the waiting.
Before I get to the questions, let’s just get real for a second, most of us don’t wait well. Most of us, including me, tend to spend our energy finding ways to reduce our wait time, skip it or escape from it in some temporary “make me forget I’m waiting” activity which may or may not be even healthy or holy. And to some degree, if you are able to do something that can reduce your waiting time, you should do it. The problem comes when it becomes an obsession or desperation. Trying to skip it typically is not wise, because often God wants to use our wait to do something in us. And escapism is typically not wise even if the thing you are using to escape isn’t sinful or unhealthy.
Let’s get back to reducing the wait time – this can be helpful if not taken to extremes. For example, in this season for me, I’m out of work. So, yes, I am pursuing leads, sending resumes, networking, and having conversations with folks. In my line of work, a search can take anywhere from 4-8 months on average so if I did nothing I would be unnecessarily extending my wait. I do what I can, but not more than that. Meaning I can’t force it, I don’t want to make a desperate move into something I am not qualified or called to do just to eliminate the wait, etc. And I don’t need to obsess and spend every waking hour dwelling on it and spinning my wheels. So once you’ve done whatever you can do to reduce the wait, how do we learn to not waste the wait
- How is my relationship with God right now? Is there anything blocking my ability to hear from Him? Am I resenting Him, not trusting Him, or angry with Him? Have I started talking with Him about that? Am I leaning on Him and finding Him, a solid rock to rest on during this season? (This is so key! If my relationship with God is off, the rest of life is a ticking time bomb.)
- Have you taken time to rest, sabbath, refresh and heal? Oftentimes what puts us into a waiting time requires some healing or at the very least some rest and replenishment. Don’t miss the opportunity to get what you need emotionally, spiritually and physically.
- What has needed development in my life? Typically when we’re busy doing, we don’t often stop to develop and while lots of development happens “on the job” there are often some character issues or even personality issues that we tend to live with but think, “I should deal with that someday.” Today is that day. Chart a plan, find a tool, ask a friend to check-in and get busy on development.
- What relationships can deepen now that I have the capacity I didn’t have before? Seasons like this can be gifts to a relationship if you’re intentional with it. And sometimes, it’s the strengthening of these relationships that you’ll need for the next season you enter into. If you don’t do the hard work now in this waiting time, you’ll be ill-equipped for the next season when you’ll need a deeper relationship to succeed.
- Finally, what projects or tasks have I wanted to get to but never seem to fully have the time? For example, I’ve had my second book on the “when I get time” list for a few years now. I will be working on getting that done in this next month. There are also some organizational projects I’ve put off etc. that can all be worked on, while I wait. I’ve found this is critically important since a sense of accomplishing something is important for us psychologically and it shifts my focus away from obsessing on reducing the wait.
I am far from figuring it all out, but I do pray these questions are helpful for you if you find yourself in a season of waiting for whatever reason.