It’s hard to wait well. I was reminded of this the other day. My wife and I went to a restaurant, and there was going to be a long wait before we could get a table. When the hostess told us about the wait, I groaned. “I hate waiting,” I said to my wife. It was hard to wait when I was so hungry.
If it’s hard to wait for little things like a table at a restaurant, it’s even harder to wait for big things. We’ve been trying to have a baby for a while, but it hasn’t happened yet. Each month there is hope and anticipation, and then each month there is disappointment. We got married in our mid-30s, so we feel some pressure to get going and build our family. It’s hard to wait.
Maybe you’re in a similar situation. You’re waiting for something important. You have done everything that is in your power to do, prepare, and get ready. But then there are some things outside your control that just haven’t happened yet. So, you’re waiting. And waiting. And getting impatient.
How can we wait well? Here are 4 suggestions when you are in a period of waiting:
4 Suggestions for Waiting Well
- Do all you can to prepare. This first suggestion is an important point that we need to address. Sometimes people are waiting, but there are actually some things they can do to put themselves in the best possible position to get what they want. For example, if you are waiting for a spouse, have you done everything you can do to put yourself in the best position to get married? Have you worked on your stuff, gone to counseling, and joined a dating service? Are you meeting 5 new people each week? The key point here is to differentiate between what is inside your control and what is outside your control. If something is inside your control, get going and do what needs to be done.
- Be honest about your feelings. Sometimes it sucks to wait. Having to wait for something important can bring up feelings of sadness, anger, and fear. It’s important to be honest about your feelings and express them. Stuffing your feelings doesn’t usually work, because they tend to come out sideways. Find a way to be honest and express your emotions. For example, you might want to keep a journal and write out your feelings. Share your feelings with your partner or a close friend. Find a good counselor. Be honest about where you are at.
- Pray. If you are a religious or spiritual person, it can be helpful to pray for what you want. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11). Now we need to be a bit cautious here. Prayer doesn’t work like a cosmic vending machine. But as far as I’m concerned, it can’t hurt. Ask God for what you want.
- Keep living your life. This is a hard one, but it’s important. Sometimes when we are waiting for something big, we can get so locked in to what we want that we stop living our life. If we are waiting for a baby, for example, we might struggle to keep moving forward in our job or marriage. If we are waiting on a healing, we might have difficulty moving forward toward our dreams, or continuing to develop our relationships. In the midst of your waiting, keep moving forward and living your life. Keep heading in the direction of your values. Keep working on your most important goals. Don’t put your life on hold as you wait.
What is something you are waiting for in your life? What has been helpful for you when waiting for something in the past? What is one thing you might try moving forward to help you wait well?