I hate waiting in traffic. I hide my 11th item at the supermarket just so I can go through the “10 items or less” checkout. I can’t wait for a song to finish before I switch to something different. The idea of watching a six hour game of cricket makes me want to scream and say bad words.
It gets worse.
Last night I YOLO’d like a fourteen-year-old at the midnight screening of the new Hunger Games because I was too impatient to see it the next day at a reasonable hour.
It gets even worse.
This one time (not at band camp), I actually threw my phone across the room when the company I was trying to contact asked me if I would mind being put on hold. Again. I’d already been on hold for 48 minutes and this was the fifth person I had spoken to. It wouldn’t be ladylike of me to name which company that was. (cough) Vodafail (cough).
Waiting isn’t one of my strengths. Here’s why: I feel like it means I’m missing out on life.
I’m just too impatient to be patient.
Recently I’ve been through one of the biggest waiting seasons ever. God’s teaching me a lesson. That lesson is patience. And I’m learning. Slowly.
I was waiting for God to open a door to my next season because my current season was coming to a close. I felt like I was in a horror movie. It was the kind of movie where the walls are closing in on the girl and there’s nothing she can do. The kind of movie where you pull your legs up on the couch in suspense and bite your nails, terrified that the girl is about to get squished by the walls.
I was that girl.
I prayed, begged and even tried bribing God to show me what to do. I hoped that He would give me a clue as to where to go, which direction to head, or who to talk to. But there was nothing. And with everyday that passed, my current door closed a little more, and with nothing opening, I was getting claustrophobic.
I convinced myself that the reason I wasn’t getting an answer was because there was something I had done wrong. I was feeling guilty, confused and lonely. I wasn’t sleeping well and I had isolated myself from my friends.
I was convinced God He had forgotten about me.
In the middle of all this, I agreed to go walking with a friend and mentor of mine from church, Ann. I didn’t really want to go because I knew she’d challenge me and quite frankly, I was happy with my little, isolated, pity party.
As we walked I told Ann how I was feeling. Like, really feeling. I told her that I felt forgotten because God had gone silent on me when I needed his direction most.
Here’s what you need to know. Ann is wise, like Yoda. She speaks in parables, like Jesus. She YouTube’s, like J-Biebz. She is entrepreneurial, like Steve Jobs (but way prettier). She is amazing and unpredictable.
So naturally, instead of answering any of my questions, she told me a story.
The story went something like this: Whenever she took her three sons to the park, the oldest two would have to wait so the youngest could go to the bathroom. Often the older boys would get impatient and annoyed that they couldn’t just leave straight away. Ann explained to the boys that there was nothing they could do to speed this process up and they should just relax until everyone was ready. Eventually, they learned to relax on the couch until it was time.
“Elyse, the boys hadn’t done anything wrong. They weren’t in trouble. In fact, the delay had nothing to do with them. They just needed to wait until everyone was ready to go,” Ann explained to me.
That was my a-ha moment.
Maybe waiting isn’t always about me.
Maybe God was working with some of the people around me. Just maybe, although I felt ready to move into my next season, there were people around me that God needed to prepare.
“In order for you to walk with God, you need to walk in His timing. Let Him prepare the others. Relax, He knows where to find you when everything’s ready.”
It was a whole new perspective on an area I had always seen negatively. I had always thought if I was waiting, there was something I was missing or something I needed to do.
But sometimes, we just need to wait. And chill. And relax. And knowing that, is so releasing.
And when the time is right, we’ll all be ready for the next season. And no one will pee their pants because we didn’t let them have a bathroom break. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Enjoy the wait. Maybe it’s not as scary as it seems.