We live in a microwave generation. You want dinner? All you have to do is stick your frozen entrée in the microwave for three minutes and then voila! Dinner is served. You want a new red shirt? Drive to the store and buy one. They don’t have it in your size? No worries. They can ship it to your house for free by the end of the week. No preparation, no anticipation. You just get what you want almost instantly.
However, this isn’t how spirituality works. And it’s definitely not how God works in our lives. The psalmist in the Bible says, “Wait for the Lord: be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14) This verse can seem so impossible to obey. Yes, it’s easy to have courage when you’ve got what you want, but once you desire more, you must wait. And don’t you hate when you’re waiting? That’s always the season where it seems like everyone to the left and right of you is getting what they want — like God is tossing out goody bags, and you’re stuck playing the monkey in the middle.
You say to yourself, or maybe out loud, “What about me?” (Twiddling your thumbs.) “Okay God… I’ll just be here.” (Pacing back and forth.) “Anytime you are ready, I’ll be right here. Really… I’m ready whenever you are.”
People always say, “When God closes one door, He opens another.” That sounds really pretty, but what are we supposed to do while we’re waiting in the hallway? I see the majority of life as this hallway. The opening words from one of my favorite hymns are, “Time is filled with swift transition.” Jennie Wilson surely knew a thing or two about life when she wrote those lyrics. Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, and it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged when life makes a sudden shift.
You know that God has prepared something good, and it’s cooking up in the oven just for you. But when will it be ready so you can actually have it? And more important than when (because let’s face it, God’s timing is way bigger than us), will you be ready for what God has in store for you?
Our earthly concept of waiting is to remain stationary in readiness or expectation, or to pause for someone or something to catch up. This is not the spiritual idea of waiting. According to the second definition, waiting on God means expecting God to honor my schedule. By making it about my schedule, I have lost all receptivity to God and God’s timeline, because at this point, I am the one who is waiting for God to “catch up” to me. How incredibly twisted is this — that I could think that I am waiting for God to catch up to my trivial schedule?
Our faith does not teach us to wait with that type of mentality. On the contrary, we are instructed to wait actively, faithfully, and all the while to remain thankful for what we’ve already been given. So, how can we wait?
- Worship God and show gratitude for what God’s done in your life. Head to Mass every week and actively participate in the service. Don’t have a church home? Find one. Go with your family or a friend. You’ve been gone from church for a while? Doesn’t matter. Go. And set aside time each day to worship God through prayer, meditation, or even gathering with others to share your faith. I personally love listening to Christian meditation podcasts before I go to sleep at night. No matter the manner, find ways to worship!
- Accept God’s timing. If you haven’t gotten what you want yet, chances are it’s either not for you right now, or it’s not for you at all because something different is even more perfect for you. Live in the present moment and find peace where you are. Slow down and take notice of what’s happening around you. Rather than worrying about tomorrow, really hone in on whatever you are doing today. Regardless of whether you are in your ideal place in life, today is still a day that the Lord has made.
- Inspire and encourage yourself. Instead of having a pity party, lift yourself up by lifting others up. Give to those in need. Perhaps donate some unused clothing to a charity, volunteer at a homeless shelter, or visit an older relative in a nursing home.
- Trust God’s will. How do we really trust? You have to completely surrender what you think is possible and give it over to God. Release the worldly concept of likelihood and remember the astonishing miracles Jesus performed. Realize that through God, anything is possible. Have faith that the best is yet to come.