Tuesday, March 20, 2012

To Those Who Wait

Sometimes I feel like life is kind of a big waiting game. We're waiting to graduate. We're waiting for a boyfriend. We're waiting to get a job and a paycheck. We're waiting to get married. And most of the time we have no idea when our particular situation will hit that moment when things change from "wait" to "go". We know God has promised us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). We know He can step in and end all the waiting. But honestly, I for one, spend a large amount of time wondering if He will step in and end all the waiting. 

Waiting is hard. It can be extremely discouraging, especially when it seems like everyone else in the world is reveling in the excitement of their new job, new boyfriend, or new book deal. You're happy for your friend when she comes to you with a smile on her face and news of her upcoming wedding, but it stings a little, too. In the back of your mind is the nagging thought...but when will MY waiting be over?

Let's look at a few ways to ease the pain in waiting. There may not be a way to hurry things along on your own, but we do have a few options. And these options are way better than locking ourselves in our homes, refusing to answer the doorbell, and cutting off all contact with the outside world. (Although...that does sound kind of appealing for an evening.)

  • Remember you aren't alone. There are lots of other people enduring the waiting experience you are, and there are probably a bunch of people waiting for the same things, too. You're not the only one waiting on an answer or an experience. It doesn't solve your problem or help fix the situation, but knowing other people feel the same way can help.
  • Listen to encouraging music or read books that speak to your situation. Even if you don't know personally know someone going through the same thing, you might be able to find a song or a book that at least helps you gain some perspective about what's going on. I'm a big fan of both music and books, so that's where I tend to look for help. One of my favorite "waiting" songs is a brand new one from Bethany Dillon called "To Those Who Wait". A good book I'm reading is called The Land Between by Jeff Manion. If you can't find anything, start with those two and go from there. 
  • Take the time to journal and pray. For me the two go hand in hand. Not only do prayer and journaling give you a safe space to pour out the deepest longings of your heart, they give you a benchmark to come back to in the future. God and journals both have the unique ability to listen to the angriest, most hurt, painful feelings we've got and never feel the need to one-up us, or get revenge for what we've said. 
  • Look at the past. If we take a minute to look back over our lives, we can usually recognize moments where God did move in our situations. (If you're feeling particularly discouraged and can't remember anything good, now's a good time to go back to a journal you've kept for many years. If you don't have one, start one.) God has been faithful in the past, and He will be faithful in the future. Even when the situation seems impossible, God is at work. Your own life is probably a testament to that very fact. Take a minute to remember the good things He's done. 
  • Step back. Gain perspective. You won't be in the same place five years from now as you are today. Either there will be a heart change (for better or for worse...let's try to make it better) or the situation will have changed. Remember this moment is not forever. 
  • Realize you have the freedom to feel pain, and realize you don't have to stay there. It's okay to have hurt feelings over a situation that didn't go the way you'd hoped. That's pretty normal. And would probably be weird if you didn't feel anything at all. Acknowledge the hurt feelings, and then move on. 
There's an awful lot of waiting in life. What are you waiting for? And how do you cope with the waiting? (Be sure to check back in the comments and pray for those of us waiting.)

Ashley Mays is the former Editorial Assistant for Brio and Brio & Beyond magazines and currently writes her own fiction for teens. She enjoys rock climbing, people watching in airports, and hanging out with her mom, who is her best friend. Ashley lives with her husband in Colorado. No, they don't ski. Learn more about Ashley on facebook, twitter, or on her website.


Sierra said...

Thank you so much for this post Ms.Ashley! it really encouraged me...I think everyone hates waiting...I know I do. Next time I'm down about it I'll be sure to remember these tips :) Sierra
Keep Growing Beautiful♥ (Because You Are!)

Ronida said...

Aww...Thank you for this post! <3


emii. said...

you know i think this post is a God-thing in lots of ways. i was kind of stuck for a few days, not really knowing who Jesus was. and then, playing my guitar, writing words and looking at the sun, talking to God while on the trampoline.. i got to know Jesus.
i asked Him what i was doing wrong, why could i never be good?
and He told me to listen to this song, Time after Time, by eva cassidy.

there was this line.
"You picture me, I'm walking too far ahead
You're calling to me, I can't hear what you have said
And you say, "go slow, I've fallen behind""

i've always heard God in the chorus of that song. but this time i was like, "what, i've gotta slow down?...wait?"

listening to a song by Brooke Fraser this morning, i heard another line; that said wait.

and then something else. and i clicked on the bethany dillon song link you gave and it said people who bought this also bought.. safe and sound by taylor swift. well i absolutely love that song so I'ma take it as a God-thing.

thanks for this post. i'll take your advice.

Ashley Mays said...

I'm so glad you guys found this encouraging! I really felt like I needed to write what was on my heart, and this is what happened. I'm waiting on some pretty big things, too. Be encouraged that God is at work, even though we might not be able to see it right now. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey Ashley!

Thanks so much for posting about this! I often struggle with waiting on God, and it gets really discouraging at times. But it is really comforting to know that other girls are going through the exact same thing I am; but I know God is ever present, especially when we feel like we really need Him:) Have a blessed and wonderful day!!!

Genesis said...

Hi everyone! I'm new to this blog and I am looking forward to living a life with God. I recently got saved and I created my own teen christian blog. You can visit it at teenslovechrist.blogspot.com. I'm really excited to be living for God!