Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oh, the Waiting You'll Do

When I graduated high school, I was given a copy of Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go. I never read it. I put it on the shelf with all the other Dr. Seuss books I'd loved as a child, and went on with my life. Until a couple weeks ago when my daughter asked if we could read it.

I'm sure at least most of you are familiar with the concept of Oh, The Places You'll Go. Basically the guy is off to great places.

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go."

I was really enjoying the book, even getting a little teary in places that I felt particularly relate to me. And then I hit this part:

You can get so confused that you'll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place. The Waiting Place...

Then he goes on to talk about what all people are waiting for. (A train to go, a Yes or No, Friday night, Another Chance.) And then it says:

Everyone is just waiting.

NO! That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape all that waiting and staying. You'll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you'll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you're that kind of guy!

With all due respect to Dr. Seuss, I totally disagree.

Now, sometimes people choose to wait for things that they really shouldn't. Like for a toxic relationship to magically turn healthy. Or to get their ducks all in a row before they pursue that thing they feel God calling them to do. (If I've learned anything since becoming a mom, it's that ducks are on the constant move and should not be waited upon.)

Here's three things I'd like to say about waiting:

Waiting is not useless.

Does it feel useless at times? Absolutely. I started pursuing publication when I graduated high school at age 17. I had the great fortune of being able to write full time from the when I was 21 to when I had my daughter at age 24. As rejection after rejection came in, you think it felt like I was using my time wisely? No! I had no guarantee that I'd someday be published. All I knew was that it felt like God had called me to this, and that I had to try. During that season of waiting, I learned not only about the business of writing, but also about God's faithfulness and who in my life I could count on to support me.

Choosing not to wait can be cutting yourself off from God's plans.

The Bible is full of stories of people who were promised something big, and then waited a looooong time before it came to pass. Abraham was promised a son. Joseph dreamt of his brothers bowing to him. David was told he'd be king. Did God grant these things instantaneously? No. And for some real motivation to sit tight and wait on God for something He's promised, refresh yourself on Abraham's story and what happens with Hagar.

Waiting is not always a choice we make

Sometimes we're granted the choice to wait or not wait, but that's not always the case. Sometimes the waiting just happens, and there's no deciding "it's not for you." Like waiting to see if chemo is going to work. Or if you're going to get into the school of your dreams. Or if your friend is going to decide to forgive you one of these days.

So while you do have brains in your head and feet in your shoes, don't think that guarantees you a "Get out of The Waiting Place for free" pass. Because sometimes, even if the waiting is being done by choice, not waiting is only going to cost you.

Stephanie Morrill is a twenty-something living in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and daughter. Her only talents are reading, writing, and drinking coffee, so career options were somewhat limited. Fortunately, she discovered a passion for young adult novels a few years ago and has been writing them ever since. Stephanie is the author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series and is currently working on other young adult projects. To check out her blog and read samples of her books, check out www.StephanieMorrillBooks.com.

1 comment:

Brittanie said...

I like that book too for the most part. :)