Ever wonder why waiting is so hard?
As I wrote the latest post, Keys to Transitioning Well, writing about waiting seemed like a natural follow up. Waiting is when your strength is tried and you want to give up. Find one truth to cling to in the waiting, mine has consistently been Isaiah 40:30 – but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength.
Here are my keys that have helped me stay sane when waiting in different seasons;
Do you seem a little off track when you are waiting?
It’s easy to get distracted, look for the outcome, and want to discover a solution to end the waiting season. Striving to speed up the process will not do you any good, it will only exhaust you. If you can focus on where you are in the waiting (stay in the present) then you can gain perspective for where you are desiring to go and know that you are collecting tools you will need. You can have healthy anticipation while staying focused, but it’s a choice. You can steward where your mind goes or let it run free. Take time to write down what it is that you are consumed by in your mind. Where can you rewrite what your mind is focusing on? Then, make a list of how you can change what is consuming you – maybe it’s little habits or things you do throughout the day. This will help give you space to think more clearly.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21
Discontentment breeds negative roots.
When you begin to lose hope or lose faith, you begin to lean into the discontentment in everything around you. Contentment will always settle in once you shift your focus. If your focus doesn’t shift, neither do you and you stay stagnant and have the potential of growing cold and bitter. Contentment doesn’t have to mean everything is exactly how you want it to be around you, but you’re learning to let go of your timeline, your expectations. Patience is key. Contentment is knowing you have everything you need right now to thrive and survive. Notice I didn’t say everything you WANT, but everything you NEED.
I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. I know how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13
Where you find contentment there you also find gratitude. It’s a side effect.
If you are waiting for the next breakthrough, the next “fill in the blank” moment you can easily get dissatisfied. In order for you to bring gratitude to the surface, you need to take a moment to have an appreciation of where you have been and where you are. Your story and history is uniquely yours, and the chances are high that you have something you can look back upon and be grateful. Gratefulness changes your heart posture, breathes new life to your mind, and shifts your focus. Being grateful while you wait can affect the outcome. Meaning, your appreciation level shifts once you aren’t waiting anymore. Example, if I am anticipating “fill in the blank” without being grateful for where I am IN the waiting, how will I appreciate where I am when I am OUT of the waiting? Stir up your joy, start with gratefulness.
Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Where did you grow?
Waiting produces growth, growth produces character, and character builds a strong foundation where the wind and waves cannot overcome you. The root of a characteristic that is being shaped during the waiting has the ability for you to take on challenges you never thought possible. When you learn to wait well, there is a wisdom that proceeds you. What you grow is dependent on how you treat the soil. The promises of God will be visible in your life and his goodness will unfold because of your obedience and patience in waiting. Growth is uncomfortable and waiting can seem unbearable. It doesn’t get easier, but it becomes simpler over time.
We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
When you can look at all that you persevered through in waiting, the person on the other end won’t be the same, and that is exactly the point.