When television came along, I’d already done more than 10 years of radio work and I thought everyone would want me. I sat around waiting for the phone to ring – and it didn’t.Orson Welles
The Weight of Waiting
Have you ever waited for something or someone? Or to get somewhere? Maybe in traffic, the grocery store line, or an Amazon package, for your friend to come, etc. We’ve all been in waiting at some point in our life so, you know what it feels like.
But what have you been waiting for that hasn’t come yet? Physically, emotionally, relationally, spiritually, etc. Whatever it is, you’re thinking of it right now and you’re also wondering when it’s going to happen, when you’ll get there, or even when that person will come around.
You know exactly what it feels like to carry this weight of waiting and wondering, almost doubting, that what if it’s not yours to wait for? What if, just what if, this thing you’ve constantly got running in your mind is not yours for the taking? What if your dream is too big and you’re too small?
We’ve all done our share of waiting. We know what it is. And a lot of us our tired of it.
Let me tell you, waiting is the simple part. Waiting, by definition, is the action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something happens. Waiting will not get you what you want.
You’ve got to do something else while you’re waiting. You can’t stay put and delay action. Like Orson Welles who sat around waiting for the phone to ring – and it didn’t.
You’ve got to drop that wait or it’ll weigh you down.
So, what are you waiting for and what can you do in the meantime?
Do what you can.
You cannot afford to wait for perfect conditions. Goal setting is often a matter of balancing timing against available resources. Opportunities are easily lost while waiting for perfect conditions.Gary Ryan Blair
If you’ve ever read the story of Jacob in Genesis, you’ll know he was in waiting often. You could even say he waited to be born because he came out second, as the younger twin. He was a little “less than” from the start. His father favored his brother more than him, and his mother loved him more because he was, what we call, a homebody.
Later in the story, we learn that he deceives his father and steals his brother’s birthright and blessing, then gets sent away to his uncle’s house where he falls in love with Rachel. Despite the family drama and earlier deception, he came to a place of waiting for Rachel to be his. In the meantime, he didn’t just sit around. He worked his butt off! Even though he got tricked and married Leah first, he kept working while he was waiting for her for another seven years.
From the get-go, you see he’s always doing something while waiting. He didn’t stay in one place, nor did he delay in action. He always did what he could while he waited. Not because he had to, but because he could. It’s tempting to just sit back and wait, because again, that’s the simple part. But what can you do in the meantime?
While you’re waiting to get that promotion? While you’re waiting to get that test result back? While you’re waiting for “the one” to come around? Like Jacob put his hand to the plow and did what he could by working his uncles’ fields for Rachel… What can you do while you’re waiting?
Do with what you have.
We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.E. M. Forster.
Another waiting example is Saul in Acts 9. After his conversion to Christ, you’ll read that when he preaches the Gospel, the Jews plot together to do away with him. In action, his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket while those Jews were watching the gates, waiting to kill him (v. 23-25). While those Jews have their eyes on the gates, Paul and his disciples use a large basket and sneak him out through an opening in the wall (a window).
Not everyone is going to be on your page, rooting for and supporting you, like those people were against Paul. But there are people who got your back and will help you crawl through a window when the doors are closed. If the doors to opportunities close, try the window. Or reach out to people and ask questions. Do with what you have because time is of the essence.
As you’re waiting for a door to open, what do you have that you can use now? Paul used a basket. Maybe your basket is your social media platform, instead of a stage. Maybe it’s leading a Bible study group or befriending your neighbor before you open your own church or ministry. What do you have right now that you can use?
Just like any of us, Paul had his plans and goals set before him, but he had to let them go to embrace the life God had for him. From the start, this looked like falling off his donkey, getting a vision, and doing with what he had upfront. For many of us, we need to get off our donkeys, get our vision (or set a goal), and do with what we have.
Do with where you are.
The trick is to make sure you don’t die waiting for prosperity to come.Lee Iacocca
Sometimes we get stuck in the waiting because we don’t see ourselves moving or growing. We get stuck in our positions at work, in ministry, in our families, friendships, and so on. We even get stuck in our dreams and planners. Do you feel like you’re in a rut? Are you still waiting for something, someone, or some place?
Sometimes, it takes using the place you’re in to your advantage. For instance, in Genesis 37-50, Joseph used every place to his advantage despite the many times he was taken advantage of. He was the most ridiculed and bullied brother, but the favorite son. Sold as a slave, but then put in charge in Potiphar’s House. Wrongly accused and sent to prison, then favored by the guards and prisoners. Sent to Pharoah to interpret a dream and give some advice, then appointed as an overseer of Egypt, second in command.
He had the favor of God on him. But he also did what he could, with what he could, and ultimately, with where he was. There’s no doubt he felt stuck, but he didn’t let that stop him. His place and position didn’t change what drove him. It didn’t stop him from becoming more skilled, pursuing education, developing his character or mentality. He had a dream, and it stuck with him no matter where he was.
Besides this, I bet you everyone wanted to be his friend (except his brothers at the start). Joseph became friends with the cupbearer who went back to his job and eventually told the Pharoah about Joseph’s abilities, which led Joseph out of jail. Make friends everywhere you go, you never know who you’re talking with. They might lead you to your next opportunity, all because you were doing with where you were!
The Bible says to wait on the Lord.
Yes, but in the meantime, as you’re waiting on the Lord, what can you do?
- Instead of just waiting for that promotion, how can you improve in your current position at work or as a volunteer in ministry?
- Instead of just waiting for someone special, what characteristics and habits can you develop or improve in?
- Instead of just waiting for that healthy lifestyle to happen, what exercises can you start tonight or tomorrow morning?
- Instead of just waiting for someone to approach you, who have you approached?
- Instead of just waiting for everything to come to you, what are you going after? What are your dreams and passions?