How do you feel when you have waiting for so long? Is it something you really hate? Sometimes its not all that hard, but when its all you’ve done and you wonder if the wait will ever end, do you give up or do you hang in?
What are the things you are waiting for? Are you waiting for your life to change? Are you having a baby, getting married or looking for a new job? Are you growing a garden, planning to move or going on a trip? Waiting on what God has promised you? Are you waiting for an approaching date that was once so far away? Or has a specific date been elusive and has been moved farther away as it approaches?
There are moments when it takes everything we have to simply wait and be patient! The words ‘wait’ and ‘patient’ can even be painful to hear when we are living them. Waiting means to continue as one is in expectation of, to be in a state of readiness for and to look forward to eagerly. While patience is the quality of being patient as the bearing for provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger or irritation. Being patient is the ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance, when confronted with delay. I think patience and peace go hand in hand. I’m not sure how one would be possible without the other.
Waiting doesn’t take practice but being patient sure does and life is full of opportunities to practice. Who really wants to be patient, when we human beings want things and want them when we want them? Yet, it can be so painful sometimes, especially when the desires of our hearts can take so long to be realized.
I have wanted to be married since I was in my early twenties and always wanted to have a family, but in reality, I am now in my late forties and have yet to find a husband. I have not always waited so patiently for the right man and have sometimes settled for a man in my life. I understand quite well, what it means to continue as one in expectation of and to be in a state of readiness as time steadily flies by. I am learning to practice the art of being patient by having experienced many moments of brokenness, loneliness and disappointment.
I suppose that, that is not uncommon for most people to experience, but one of the ways I test myself to see if I am being patient, is to look at how I am treating myself and others while I am waiting. Am I being nice to myself and others while I wait or am I being short tempered, angry and self focused? Sometimes, I literally picture myself standing in an imaginary line somewhere waiting to get something I have to have and look to see, by the way I was currently feeling how I would most likely be behaving while I was waiting in that line. There are many real life examples that I can look at everyday as well, to tell me the same thing. For example, I would pay attention to the kinds of things I am thinking or saying under my breath while waiting for someone to hurry up in front of me ordering something to eat, or buying a movie ticket or while making a left hand turn or sitting at a red light? Am I being ugly when no one can hear what I say? The way I handle those everyday moments are a window into my heart to remind me of how well or poorly I am being patient.
It can be significantly more difficult to wait when there is no end in sight because of the uncertainty of the an end at all. Its a bit easier to be patient when you know there is an end to the wait because it is marked with a time or date. Without the end insight, even the thought of another moment can seem unbearable.
I have found peace in coming to understand, that though things didn’t work out in the timing I thought they should, that they didn’t always work out for the worse. Time and what happens in it is often beyond my control and when I surrender to its moving forward without worrying about things not happening when or they way I’d like, it makes room for peace in my heart. Then peace guides me rather then worry, disappointment and anger. Even in those times when the end is not insight.
Not only does this peace that give me the power to ‘hang in’ and to walk by faith and not by what I see or do not see, but also strengthens to stand until I have the very thing that I am waiting for. This peace becomes a stronghold of guidance in keeping me joyful, strong and kind to myself and others while I wait for that which I do not have. So that when I have to wait….I will hang in!