We’ve all been there. Maybe some of us are there now. I’m talking about being “in the wait.” A most frustrating place for most of us to sit. And I’m learning—though it can be hard to see in the midst of waiting—also a most useful place.
You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…
…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You’ll Go)
Here’s the thing: I’m extremely impatient. Waiting is hard for me, without a doubt. I’ll admit it. Here I am, everyone—throwing up my arms in surrender. This is a fact that I’ve known about myself for a while now, so it’s nothing new. Recently though, I’ve come to realize some ways that this manifests in my life in some not so healthy ways (spiritually, mentally, physically and even—in some cases, financially).
I enjoy shopping. If it looks cute and I think I can rock it, I’ll buy it. I’m no fashionista, but I definitely enjoy keeping up with fashion trends and trying out new styles. One day, I was having an off day and my mood was less than optimistic. I was in this state of waiting for something that I had no control over. I had asked God for a while now to help me with patience and to provide for me in His time, if it was in His will. Don’t be fooled—I was in a constant state of impatience through it all. Well it turns out, I didn’t get what I wanted, when I wanted it. So, I scrolled through my phone to find a familiar black and white app, clicked on it and I was instantly soothed. After about half an hour or so of browsing, I had managed to add a few pieces to my virtual shopping cart and proceeded to checkout. Before I hit the bolded ‘Order’ button, I felt a tug on my heart. I tried to ignore it, looking back, scrolling over the items that I’d decided on—making sure sizes and quantities were correct—and felt that tug again. It was then that it hit me. Kind of like one of those V-8 moments in the commercials where the baby in a stroller hits its mom on the head—you know what I’m talking about, right? (see more)
Why was I in such a rush to buy these new clothes? Didn’t I already have a closet right in front of me with perfectly good clothes hanging, waiting for wear? Yes. I did. And I immediately recognized my impatience. I recognized that I was trying to compensate for my inability to control the situation I was in, through some good, old-fashion ‘retail therapy’. Because I couldn’t make, what I desired so badly to happen, happen—I took matters into my own hands and tried to soothe my soul by way of the easiest source of instant gratification I know: online shopping.
So often, I feel as if I’m looking at this map, right. Rather, a piece of a map. It’s kind of dusty, unclear—occasionally it has a few winding roads, some trees dotted along the paths, even some rocky terrain on a few areas. I follow this map, because it’s all I have to go off of.
That is, until I ask God for His. Now, God’s map—it’s huge. It’s descriptive, and colorful and way more detailed than my little map. His map shows the bigger picture of my life. Whereas mine shows me only what’s in front of me now—there’s no detail or color or descriptions on my map. No, it is but a mere glimpse of my life’s journey.
My point is: God sees the bigger picture. I do not. I cannot see all the things He has in store for my life and all the twists and turns He will have me take. It’s easy, I think, to get discouraged in the waiting—when it feels like nothing’s changing or no decisions are being made and you feel like you’re just stuck in the same spot day after day. I take heart in the fact that, no I don’t know where all of this waiting will take me. Or if it will even take me anywhere for that matter—but I can rest assured, knowing that God’s picture is crystal clear. He knows everything that my life will encompass. He knows exactly why I am where I am. He knows why I am in waiting and what I am waiting for—even if I don’t fully know myself.
Isn’t that just mind-blowing?
God has been slowly revealing more about this area of growth for me and I’ve been given the chance to look at my life in a whole new way. In what other areas of my life do I seek instant gratification when things that I am waiting on don’t happen instantaneously? What will my response be going forward when things, situations or people don’t adhere to my specific and preferred schedule?
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
I wait on my God, not simply because I have to. But because His best is what’s at stake. Do I really want to sacrifice the best that God has for me, by taking matters into my own hands?
I barely know what I’m doing half the time, anyway.