Do you ever feel like you are spinning your wheels? Peddling hard but going nowhere? Exerting a lot of energy but seeing few results?
Waiting for some kind of return on your effort investment can be discouraging and frustrating.
Nobody likes to wait. Sit next to a tired mommy with a sick baby and an active, hungry, bored toddler in a crowded doctor’s waiting room if you need proof.
Toddlers don’t like waiting for the cupcakes to bake. Kids don’t like waiting for Christmas. Working moms don’t like waiting for vacation. Teens don’t like waiting for the weekend. I don’t like waiting for the coffee to brew! Everybody has a unique tolerance level for waiting but most of us don’t like it.
Because I live in Alberta and our economy has been lambasted with the downturn in oil prices, I know a lot of people who have lost their jobs and are waiting.
Because I am a mom and grandparent, I have endured many seasons of waiting: labor, delivery, first tooth, first word, first date, graduation, wedding, grandkids (labor, delivery, first tooth, first word, first date, graduation, wedding!)
You might be in a season of waiting right now. Maybe you are waiting for…
- a loved one to turn from their destructive path and make better choices.
- a new job or a new opportunity in the job you have.
- a publisher to approve your first (or latest) book proposal.
- test results that say you are cancer free.
- sales to pick up.
- Mr. Right.
- a double double in the Tim Hortons drive-thru (OK, seriously, I’m not really talking to you, just chill!).
Let’s face it, waiting stinks!
Here are 5 simple ways you can take the stink out of waiting:
- Start your day with faith. If you have to get up a little earlier to get some quiet time, then do it. Take a few minutes before the demands of the day run away with you and spend that time focusing on God. Read scripture. If you don’t have a Bible reading plan, here is a good place to start. Then, just for today, choose to trust God with whatever it is you are waiting for and tell Him (that’s called prayer).
- Spend some time each day on the “waiting” problem. The key word is some. Not all. If it’s a job search, devote some energy to the calls, the networking, the hunt. If it’s a wayward loved one, investigate ways you can help or get help for that one or for yourself as a possible co-dependant. If it’s sick kids or sleepless babies, remember this too shall pass. Connect with (or find) other moms who are in a similar space and share ideas, or encouragement or help. Whatever it is you are waiting for, take some time each day (minutes or hours) to grapple with, work on, or pray about the issue.
- Step into other areas of satisfaction. Step away from the problem. If you have done due diligence then close that door and walk away from it. Turn your attention to other pursuits that give you pleasure or satisfaction. Take a walk. Refinish some furniture. Sign up for a class. Go to the gym. Encourage a friend. Make a meal for someone in need. Be a snow angel and shovel a driveway. Make a list of things that bring you happiness and gratification and be sure to include acts of service. Helping someone else lessens their burden but does even more for you.
- Stay focused on what really matters. The hardest thing about waiting is that it often has a price tag. Waiting for a job means lost wages. An extended job loss can result in even bigger losses–vehicles, toys, even homes. Waiting for a loved one to “smarten up” can mean loss too. If there is addiction, there is always a cost. Divorce can be financially devastating for some. I have a friend whose husband was straying and she did everything she could to save the marriage. They had a beautiful home, lots of toys, a great life. When she knew she couldn’t save it, she said to me: “What’s the worst that could happen? Me and the kids could wind up living in a trailer. Well I grew up in a trailer park and I turned out alright!” Ten years later, she’s single, has a new career, lives in a house without wheels and is happy. She knew what really mattered and it wasn’t “stuff.”
- Switch comparing for praying. By far the hardest thing about waiting is that we can’t help comparing ourselves with others. Siblings, friends, coworkers, colleagues all seem to have more, do more, achieve more, enjoy more, sell more…and social media rubs our face in it! Nothing steals your joy faster than comparison. Comparison leads to jealousy and jealousy leads to soul-death. The absolute best way to kill the green-eyed monster is to begin to pray for whomever and whatever you envy. Pray for their continued success. Pray for their secret burdens. Pray for their influence to grow. Just like John the baptizer prayed when Jesus showed up, also baptizing, also preaching and becoming far more popular than John, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Pray for them, do due diligence, spend time on service and satisfying pursuits, remember what really matters and trust God with your future.
What do you do to take the stink out of waiting?