I’m not sure if anyone has ever asked this question in a poll of popular opinion: “What are your thoughts about having to wait?”, but I’d like to imagine that universally people don’t like it.
We are born learning to wait. Crying for food or clean diapers, as an infant we have to wait. Birthdays, summer vacation, Christmas: frustrate a child who must learn to wait. Babies take 9 months to develop prior to birth. Farmers plant crops and wait for them to spout and grow.
Of course if you live in a heavily populated area you might have this view daily:
Young moms can’t wait until a child sleeps through the night; is potty trained; starts Kindergarten so the moms can have time to themselves again. I heard these words when I was in those early physically demanding years of parenting: “treasure these times. They go by so fast.” I smiled and said thank you while thinking “easy for you to say; you’re not the one getting up at 2:00 AM or changing diapers…”
But now I’m the one saying the same thing to young moms. And since my memory is still mostly intact, I remember what I thought so I imagine they smile at me through similar, barely tolerant, thoughts.
How can we learn to wait well in the season we’re living?
By slowing down. Learning to see. To hear. To appreciate what is.
I mentioned I am reading a great book by Jeff Goins, “The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing.” I find I am highlighting a lot of quotable statements and phrases of Jeff’s. Good authors are noteworthy. They make you think, reflect and hopefully germinate seeds of growth and change. One of the many great things is this:
“we were made to wait, to long for things unseen. This is the place from which dreams and desires come. It’s a place of trust–and we find it not in the resolution, but in the incompletion.”
I ponder and ponder his statement: we were made to wait. I think if we were made to wait it would be easier to do, like breathing. But waiting is a discipline; a learned skill. Anything we learn we must go through the cycle of learning: practice, make mistakes, adjust, try again, repeat.
Is it possible to be free of the challenge that waiting brings? Do we have to simply muddle through? Is there a source of help to get better at waiting? Yes I think it’s possible. Have I arrived there yet? No way!
Like so many things in life, waiting well is skill learned through process of trial/practice/error. The critical piece is what we do with the error. Grace or guilt? Gain wisdom or grow bitter?
Wait isn’t on the list of spiritual disciplines directly but it’s implied. Learning to wait is part of our spiritual development. Patience is in the list of fruit of the Spirit of God. Psalm 46:10 says “Be still and know that I am God.”
Learning to wait is God’s idea. What we do in response to His idea can be our personal measure of our own spiritual maturity; not to judge others but to see where we are still growing.
I am learning to wait well. I don’t wait well yet. Process. How about you?