Patience is a hard practice. We don’t really have to wait for much on a day-to-day basis anymore, discounting traffic and long lines. If we have a collegiate worthy question, all we have to do is search google and then bam. Collegiate worthy answer. Am I complaining? No, not at all. If anything, I’m the first one to ask for fast responses. Waiting is not necessarily a strong suit of mine, but it is something that I’ve learned to enjoy.
If you’ve been to the dentist or doctors office, you know that typically in the waiting room, there are a few things available to you to pass the time. There are magazines or newspapers and sometimes TV. For children there may even be a few toys available depending on the kind of office it is. Have you ever actually attempted to lose track of time with these things? It can be kind of hard right? The show on television may not be all that exciting to you or the magazines/newspapers available are outdated making the experience long and drawn out. To me, this wait is a perfect example of what it can feel like waiting for certain things to happen in your life. In order to enjoy that kind of wait, you have to bring and be your own kind of fun.
Applying this statement literally to the scenario at the dentist or doctors office means bringing a book you love, a tablet, or passing time on your smart phone.
Learning how to apply this to your actual life, I feel, can mean different things to different people and can even depend on what the wait is for. Is it your significant other? Is it your dream job? Is it on some sort of confirmation or circumstance? Whatever it may be, I’ve learned that there are a few key things that make the wait something worth loving:
You Embrace What You Do Have
I think it’s easy to say we are grateful for what we do have, but to act grateful for what we do have instead of focusing on what we don’t is a harder practice. Just recently I was listening to a podcast by VexKing about focus. He asked his listeners to participate in a few tests that were designed to test your ability to focus. Each one directed you to block out something and focus on something else. I failed all of them. Why? Because instead of focusing on the object or thought I was supposed to focus on, I naturally shifted my focus to practicing not focusing on the thing I wasn’t supposed to be focused on. Which in turn, kept me focused on the thing I wasn’t supposed to be focused on.
It can be the same way with gratefulness. We attempt to be grateful for what we have but in reality, we are tricking ourselves. We are simply practicing not wanting what we actually want as much.
It’s not bad to have goals or desire to be in another position in life, but what about your life right now is awesome? What do you enjoy about your life today? What could you see the you of the future missing about where you are right now?
These kinds of questions are a good start to embracing what you have now. Make the future you smile when reminiscing about the now by accounting for and embracing all of the positive things you have today.
You Busy Yourself
Solitary confinement is a form of punishment for a reason. When you cannot busy yourself with anything but your thoughts in a room full of nothing, that is punishment my friend. We weren’t created to be idle beings who just stare into space as we wait for things to be ready for us. We were created to be able to work and apply ourselves to things. It’s the reason we have two hands, two feet, and it’s the reason we have an information-storing and applying brain.
The beauty in waiting is in what you busy yourself with in the meantime. It could be a passion, or learning how to do something you always thought would be neat to know how to do. When you busy yourself, you keep yourself from becoming dull-minded and stagnant. You can even acquire a deeper understanding of who you are in the process.
You Keep Your Spirits Up
Just think of all the interactions you’ve had with someone who was in a rush. I’m pretty sure at least half of those interactions weren’t the most pleasant interactions you’ve experienced. When we are in a hurry, we tend to give a little less of a care about our attitude or how we come across. We have a goal and we have a short amount of time to accomplish that goal, therefore we tend to allow our happiness to become dependant on the accomplishment of the goal.
When we are waiting on something, and we feel like we’ve been waiting for a little too long, the same kind of attitude tends to come out. We have a goal and it’s not happening quickly enough. The feeling of disappointment rears its head in our hearts and loss of hope begins to settle in. When this happens, happiness begins to pack its bags.
This is what the devil wants. Allowing our happiness to depend on anything other than ourselves is the beginning of turning into an emotionally void zombie (basically, someone who has gone through so many ups and downs, they no longer feel much of anything).
Unfortunately, exhibiting a happy attitude during the wait is not something that easily becomes a subconscious habit. It’s a choice that you have to make, supported by prayer, and sprinkled every now and then with the things that bring you joy whether it’s enjoying a good book and a coffee on a Friday night or finding the time to invent a new daily makeup routine just because you want to try something different. Stay hopeful and more importantly, stay faithful. There is a reason God is having you wait, trust Him!
24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.-Romans 8:24-30