“Everybody waits. At the traffic light, in line for the bathroom, or for the waiter to come around. Today write about one of your times of waiting. Even better, write while you’re waiting. Take whatever downtime you have that you might otherwise waste and try to get to 500 words. Writing about the experience as it’s happening may even add a layer of realism to the experience.”
I’m not the biggest fan of waiting.
I’m a goal oriented person who has control issues, so naturally waiting is my least favorite thing ever. Waiting usually means that some sort of external force outside of my control is calling the shots on my life. There was a time when I’d have happily said that there is a force outside of my control calling the shots on my life, and I’d tell you it wasn’t a force, it was a Someone. I’d tell you it was God and then I’d tell you I was perfectly fine with that and that I trusted Him. I’d mean it, too.
I feel like I’ve been in a stage of waiting for the past (almost) two years since comes back to the States. I haven’t exactly been sitting around twiddling my thumbs; I’m a busy wait..er? I’ve held a few jobs, gone to India for a month, traveled a bit within the continental United States, spent more time with my family, finally gotten a job that I’m passionate about, spent time with my few remaining friends in town. I like being productive, probably too much so. I’m not still in my waiting, I’m resolute and determined.
And yet, I still feel like I’m waiting and truth be told, though I’m doing much better at learning to be in the moment instead of constantly looking forward, I have had a really difficult time the past season of my life. It goes back to my impatience and my wanting to be in control of everything, and also my own personal sense of entitlement that try as I might to deny, I clearly still have. I think I know best, better than God Himself sometimes, and that’s why waiting is difficult for me. I just know I can be somewhere else, doing something else, being further ahead… if only God would get on the same page and open up the doors for me do so.
I’m a little afraid of how freely that flowed out of me, but they say admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery so now that I’ve admitted what I’ve been feeling lately, let me also admit that there’s something wrong with it. There must be something wrong with my heart, indeed if I think I know a better than God Almighty. Thankfully, I know that realizing that is half of the battle.
Waiting isn’t one anyone’s list of favorite activities, but it’s such a vital part of the process. It’s cheap to skip the road and arrive at the destination in half the time, without the story, without the struggle. When I imagine transporting myself circa 2012 and dropping that Stephanie into my life in the here and now, and it’s honestly horrifying to imagine. She wouldn’t be ready… she wouldn’t have grown to the proper maturity. I have to believe what I can see so clearly in hindsight now is also true for the future that I’ll find myself in.
It’s more than that, though. Deep down, despite my propensity towards controlling as much as I can and my tendencies to throw little temper tantrums deep in my secret heart when things don’t go the way I plan, I can see God’s hand moving. It’s not always the way I imagine it should go; sometimes it’s better, sometimes it’s more difficult and it almost always includes waiting.
Maybe someday I’ll grow into being more gracious in my stages of waiting, but meanwhile I’m holding on to the hope that Jesus still loves me in my frailty and my childish petulance from time to time.