“Just sit on your hands!”, my mother would frequently say to me, usually in an exasperated tone. I was active, often too active for her. She tried to slow me down by making me sit on my hands, which I didn’t like, and this made me squirm even more. I don’t know that it was an effective strategy.
I will admit to this very day, I hate waiting! I’m not good at being still. I want to be in motion doing something. If I am not doing, I don’t feel productive. And if I’m not productive I don’t think I’m valuable. Yet I have learned that periods of waiting are just part of life.
We are all in-waiting right now one way or another. Society is waiting for a vaccine for COVID19, praying it will come soon so we can do more. You could also be in-waiting…
- having received a promotion yet having to wait to step in until the person leaves.
- through a period of unemployment, looking for a new job.
- enduring a health challenge that has limited you now and potentially into the future.
If I were to list all the potential reasons for periods of waiting, it would be endless. No matter what period of waiting you are in, I believe God is using this time. I believe He uses periods of waiting as a time to “empty out” something in us to make room for something new.
When life is overflowing with activities, there isn’t room for us to take on anything more. If we’re too full, God can’t add to us, because we don’t have the capacity. Emptying out often involves letting go of the past, a necessary step towards moving forward.
I am in one of those waiting periods now, and it is not easy. Each day He is emptying more out of me, and I am accepting that He’s making room in my life. Many days are wonderful. Yet other days I am fighting it because it is painful as I begin to miss those things I’ve lost, including the level of activity I used to have. (Most of us feel more important when we are busy. I know I do.) Yet this waiting time is preparing me for the plans God has in store for me next.
I remember a conversation with Vern, who once transitioned into a senior leadership position. This involved a period when he worked with his successor to ensure a smooth transition. Years later I him if it was difficult to be in waiting. He smiled and told me it was a blessing. This was a time to forget where he had been and to let go of the past. He shared that, too often, leaders come to a new place and jump in doing what made them successful in their last spot, without first taking time to understand the people, the issues and the culture. They didn’t allow time to receive and enjoy something new.
I think of the story about Jesus visiting the home of Mary and Martha. Martha’s sister Mary just sat at Jesus feet, while Martha was busy with the work and growing unhappy. She voiced her displeasure to Jesus. Do you remember what Jesus said?
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).
If you are waiting, accept that this is a time to let go of the past and to prepare for whatever God has in store for you.