In the Meantime
Several months ago I wrote an article. It was meant to be my first print article commissioned for a small faith-based magazine for young women. Shortly after I finished the article, proud and eager, I was told that the publication folded.
I've thought several times about sharing it here but wasn't quite sure if it was the right place. I shopped it around a bit but found that there are few outlets that really fit this space and so it's just been sitting. Or, ironically, waiting.
And then, recently, I gave it a re-read. It was as if I had somehow written it for my future self. It was just the encouragement I needed and somehow all memory of writing these words was completely lost. I decided that if it can encourage me then perhaps it will encourage you as well.
So for all of you playing the waiting game, here's a little something. Just for you.
All my life I’ve longed for a story that begs to be told via pen and paper. I’ll happily submit to narrow escapes, momentous victories, and, of course, a kiss to usurp The Princess Bride. You can even throw in a bit of conflict for good measure. After all, who is Peter Pan without Captain Hook? I’ve faced several Big Bads in my story so far, armed with the knowledge that the villain is an essential character in any story worth telling. But one day this thought--the one that conjured courage in the most harrowing times--failed me.
There was no obvious Big Bad to defeat, only the fact that the thrilling narrative of my life had slowly, then suddenly, come to a jolting halt. I watched others moved forward with their own stories while the words on my page read, “She remained still and nothing happened. Nothing happened at all.”
Waiting was the new story of my life. Time moved with all the ambition of a 17-year-old boy crawling out of bed on a balmy July afternoon. Any resilience I could muster was met with a closed door, then another, and another. The more I waited, the more it seemed that perhaps what I so longed for would never come to pass. Perhaps the story was finished for good.
Ever faithful to its nature, time continued to pass. A longing became a whisper. A whisper, a voice. From the voice, a proclamation: It’s not over yet.
We may never know why God allows periods of waiting in our lives, but they are not without reason. There is purpose, value, even happiness, in waiting. If your current journey has you hovering with uncertainty, here are a few ways to find courage in the waiting game.
ENCOURAGE YOUR FAITH.
The greatest testament of God’s faithfulness is highly accessible: it’s you. Your own story is living proof of His devotion. Remember what He’s done, the prayers He’s answered, the relationships he’s fulfilled or mended, the valleys He’s guided you through and the mountain peaks He’s set you upon. Write down a list of the moments He’s moved in your life and return to it often. You may learn an exciting characteristic of God in the process, especially when you’re in a period of waiting: God moves in an instant. As soon as God decides it’s time, the thing occurs. Which means, dear one, that what you’ve been waiting on could come to pass in this very moment, if only He wills it so.
ENCOURAGE YOUR HEART.
You want it so bad. You believe God has given you a desire for it. You’ve prayed with every ounce of faith you can muster and yet, nothing. You begin to wonder how God could have given you such a longing, then kept it at a distance. You think perhaps if you would have acted differently, prayed more fervently… Friend, God is not mad at you. He is not uncaring. He is still with you because He is unchanging and fiercely loyal to you and all of your intricacies. God uses the passage of time to transform your heart. I once heard someone put it this way: when God leads you to a wilderness season He can use it to work on your character and make you lethal. And at the end of this season, when you’ve wrestled and sought, prayed and praised through your heartache, that moment you’ve been waiting for will come to pass. Because maybe, just maybe, you weren’t ready for your answer then. But honey, you sure are now.
ENCOURAGE YOUR MIND.
As I contemplated waiting in my own life (and came to terms with the fact that I’d been doing it all wrong), I wondered about God’s perspective on waiting. Does God wait? If He exists outside of time and space and He is all-knowing, does He even have the ability to wait? I’ve heard several perspectives, having posed this question to friends and family, but one thing is clear: waiting is not the same thing as succumbing to impatience. The action to “wait” in itself implies that we expect something to happen. We don’t know what God is going to do, but we know that He is good. We don’t know when He is going to move, but we know that He will. We don’t know the outcome, but we can trust Him. Suddenly, waiting resigns from the theme of the story to simply a chapter of the story. One in which we move through, ever so faithfully, with great expectation for the continued adventure.
MAKE A MOVE.
There are two ways to wait: passively or with purpose. Waiting on your dream job? Take career-centered steps that will prepare you when the call comes. Waiting to be a wife? Work on being a better friend, sister, or daughter. Waiting for your finances to improve? Find ways to be diligent with what you have now. Waiting for a child? Affirm your trust in God daily, hourly, to the minute. This time you’ve been given is paramount--stay available. Remain alert to the opportunities found in the meantime.
I’d like to say that I’m writing this from the perspective of the other side. Truthfully, I’m deeply in the trenches of this waiting game. It is hard and it is humbling but I can’t avoid that inkling, the one that tells me it will all be worth it.
Allow me to offer one more word of encouragement: your story will continue. Only this time, with a main character more passionate, devoted, resilient, and focused than before. Give purpose to this season of your life and you might just realize that you’ve been living the adventure all along, simply put a--wait for it--story for the ages.