waiting

Waiting Well

Someone recently asked me, “what are you waiting for?”

My response: “that’s a loaded question.”

After I thought about it for a few seconds, I answered that I was waiting on “what’s next”, then admitted I just gave a very loaded answer in response to a very loaded question.

The truth is though, we’re all waiting on something. A birthday, finding our spouse, a holiday, graduation, first day of a new job, retirement, a career change, being in a relationship, a move, etc.

Some of you are waiting on something and you know when it’s coming. The baby is due November 18.  You’ll make your last student loan payment March 5, 2011. You’re leaving for the vacation you’re saved up for on October 5.  Some of you know. But some of you don’t. Some of you are waiting on something that there is no date attached to. Finding your spouse? Yeah, not so much. The tests finally coming back negative? Sure wish you knew. The day when your heart stops hurting from unexpected loss? Where do you put THAT on the calendar?

As for me, yes, I am waiting on “what’s next.” But while paydays, holidays and friend’s weddings are marked on my calendar, “what’s next” is nowhere to be found.

Hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. – Romans 8:24-25

I believe there is something very healthy about waiting and wrestling with an unrealized hope… something that is consistently just beyond our reach… something that keeps wonder alive in our heart… something that interjects intrigue into the most mundane of moments. While there is definitely a powerful life element to waiting without knowing, the truth is it can often be frustrating.

We spend so much time asking God “why”… “why don’t I have it”, “why hasn’t this changed”,”why am I still here”, “why don’t you fix it???”

Walking by faith and living with the questions is completely counter-intuitive to a culture that has every other answer they could ever want just one Google search away… every answer but THIS one… the one that won’t let you sleep at night.

I’ve come to believe that a significant part of prying the grip of frustration from around a heart in wait is learning to ask a different question.  If we could only begin to shift the focus from asking “why” of God to asking “how” of our own heart, we could begin to understand and unlock the power of waiting well.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking “why”. I just think it is often a fruitless, cyclical pursuit of answers that are not always ours for the having and doesn’t change the origin of the frustration. On the other hand, learning to square off with our own heart and continually evaluate “how” we are waiting could very well be a catalyst to heart change and deliverance from our own entitlement to know “why”.

Asking “why” probably won’t change the situation, but asking “how” will likely change ME.

A big part of waiting well is understanding the redemptive nature and character of God and realizing that He never wastes a season of your life. There is value and perspective to be extracted and juiced from every moment, if we will commit to the pursuit of it. Too often, we pass up the opportunity to find the life to be had in each moment and season we’re given and settle for worry, fear and complaining.

How do you wait?

Do you hope or complain?
Do you engage or isolate?
Are you thankful or bitter?
Is your heart expectant or jaded?
Does your heart trust or is it suspicious?

I often wish I were better at waiting well.  Some days I’ve got a better grip on it than others, but in my “waiting for what’s next” I don’t think I’ve waited too well this past week. Yet I continue to hold the feet of my heart to the flames and move toward, knowing that how I wait is more important than why I am waiting.

What are you waiting for? Do you wait well?


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Grant JenkinsWaiting Well
14 comments
crittyjoy
crittyjoy

I so needed this reminder. I am in a chapter of wait in my story. I know some of the answers are going to come in the months ahead because of some decisions I have made... however, I am not waiting well. My tendency is to isolate so your second question really struck me. Waiting is beneficial....I need to remember this and work on waiting well. Thanks for the reminder that waiting is a good thing.... hope is a beautiful thing. (just realized you wrote this almost a year ago... glad you tweeted it tonight as a reminder for some of us!)

Amy Nabors
Amy Nabors

Wow. This post is so full of truth. Such a timely reminder that there is growing and joy to be found in the waiting.
My recent post The View Through My Window- My Special Place

Christian
Christian

Waiting on God can be a hard thing to do. We tend to want things our way and when we want them. God has a bigger plan and things are always right on time from Him. Waiting on God doesn't mean sitting and doing nothing, though. We should still be stepping in faith believing that He is going to guide us and that He will provide or reveal to us what we need when we need it.
My recent post The Burning Question in Florida

Makeda
Makeda

I've had this post up on my computer screen for a week now I think and yet today was the day I finally read it. I think that was on purpose. I had a tough week this week; a week where I was asking more of the "why" questions, a week where I was not waiting so well. I came on the other side of that tough week literally and figuratively last night. In my quiet time this morning the Father reminded me that being present in each moment of my life is the key to enjoying the fullness of my life. I don't stay present well. I'm always rushing to the next thing, wanting the next season to just get here. But I'm learning to just be present and maybe in being present I will learn how to wait better. Thank you for these words. They were exactly what I needed this morning.

@mollypearson
@mollypearson

"A big part of waiting well is understanding the redemptive nature and character of God and realizing that He never wastes a season of your life."

Such an incredible truth. I've found in my own life that in seasons of waiting, I struggle with becoming more me-focused and selfish than I already am. What a great reminder that these seasons should instead point us to the truth of the Gospel and the character of God.

Andie Wright
Andie Wright

I think waiting is tricky for me... I have great patience when what I am waiting on involves children, a little less with adults and even less than that when it is something within myself. I just thought a lot about how I am using my time as I reflected on turning 30. Obviously, I am not where I thought I would be by now, but I also recognize that I wasn't ready for what I thought I wanted back when I wanted it. Sure, I would have made things work, but struggling to make it work isn't nearly as fulfilling as waiting for God to work in me.

I am going to stop check myself to see if I am waiting in a way that brings Glory to God and Grace to others because you're right, in this case the how is way more important than the why.
My recent post Time just slips away

Melissa Brotherton
Melissa Brotherton

I am not waiting well. I feel the doors closing in our current situation but have no idea what God is doing next. So I sit, and I feel squished. I complain, I isolate, and I'm bitter. This was a much needed read. Thank you for the reminder that "He never wastes a season of your life."

Morgan
Morgan

Grant, you just made me reevaluate my whole "waiting" process for the season I am in right now. I think in some aspects I am waiting well, others, DEFINITELY not.

"A big part of waiting well is understanding the redemptive nature and character or God and realizing that He never wastes a season of your life."

Thank you for putting those questions out there and touching on this subject so eloquently. As always, you're an awesome writer!!

JasonWert
JasonWert

Good thoughts here, man. I don't wait well nor do I pretend that I do. Waiting is so hard when you don't know if the length of the season.
My recent post Go Wes- young man!

Sondra
Sondra

Beautiful words, Grant. I do not wait very well... but God knows this and is continually allowing me to "practice" and be a little more perfected through His strength and grace daily. Some days I fail, big. But every day, God is renewing me, teaching me, and reminding me that everything GOOD is worth waiting for, and that His perfect timing will ensure that I am the right ME I need to be when the waiting ends. Praying for you!

Kyle Reed
Kyle Reed

You pegged me on this one, I do not wait well at all.
I hate waiting and do not want to wait.

I have gone through all of those emotions while waiting.
Its been a year and a half of waiting and I still feel like it could be another 2 or 3 years of waiting.
But you never know what God will do.
My recent post Best 50 Websites of 2010

basher
basher

I think everyone is waiting on some kind of "what's next," in some form or fashion. I am definitely feeling that now, and having to learn to wait well. I'm still stuck on getting comfortable with waiting, so waiting well is my next step. I appreciate your words and hope you know how encouraging you are.

emcoulton
emcoulton

Ah....loved this and forwarded it on to a loved one as well. You really hit the nail on the head. Change the question; change our focus. Because, if we keep asking the same "why?" question, we keep coming up with the same non-answer. But the how question...now there's one directed right at our hearts, and not at our circumstances. Amen, and thanks.
My recent post think before you write

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