Waiting versus Preparing
Updated: May 17, 2020
wait (verb): stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or event
I recently watched a movie where the moral of the story was about anger and forgiveness. I did learn about these but the most important thing I learnt was about waiting. The tricky thing about waiting is that we all have to do it at some point and may not know what’s at the end of that waiting period. And is there a point you should give up? Can you even give up when you’re waiting on God and what does that even look like? When you're single, waiting could look like long nights on the sofa with your TV (or Bible) to keep you company, lots of sermons encouraging you to learn to love yourself and hold out for the right person, etc. When you are waiting for the right job, that could look like reading lots of books to increase your knowledge, networking a lot, positive affirmations about your skills and lots of time spent on job applications and in interviews.
The point I'm trying to highlight here is that waiting should not involve just sitting around waiting for something to happen. In Acts 1, the apostles were told to wait until the Holy Spirit had come upon them before they went out and carried out their assignment. But in waiting, they prepared. In verse 14, we see that whilst waiting, the apostles prayed! Too often, as Christians, we look at waiting in isolation and don't seek God's face about how we should prepare. You see, there must be a point to waiting. In my waiting periods, God usually prepares me for the next level of growth or for a season He is taking me through. As the meaning of the word suggests, the end goal of waiting is usually to take action of some sort. Waiting is different for everyone as God takes everyone through different seasons, according to what He has planned for them. I used to have a terrible habit of comparing my life to others' until Jesus delivered me! In comparing myself, I would very often feel bad about the stage of life I was at, thinking I should have taken a certain action or achieved a certain status, mostly because someone my age (or even younger!) had something I felt I needed to have. If you have read my post on 'Traditions', you'll see where some of these expectations come from. They weren't all godly.
In the waiting period, it is very easy to 'waste' time 'waiting' for God to do something, not quite sure what it is you are waiting for or having an idea of what you expect. Very often, again in my experience, in my waiting period, this is the time God expects me to learn. Learn about Him, learn about what is happening around me and store that knowledge for future application as wisdom. This learning can take place over a long or short period of time and there might be various facets to the learning you experience if you choose to have that perspective in life. In my own life, I could have various lessons in different areas of my life where things seem to move quickly and I don't have to 'wait' as long for God to give an instruction for me to move. There are other periods in my life, usually to do with my ministry or career, where God takes His time to issue an instruction but during that period, there are lessons that are drawn out and I often wonder how I need to spend the time in my waiting period.
At this stage in my life and at this stage in my spiritual maturity, I realise that waiting is not sitting idly and waiting for God to drop my husband into my bedroom, as my mum used to say; yes, she really said those words. For me, now, waiting is a time to understand where God is trying to lead me and look out for all the signals he puts out to help me prepare for my next season. This isn't as straightforward as it sounds; it's been very painful for me at times because I struggle to let go of the uncertainty that eats at me. The uncertainty of not always knowing exactly where and how this could end, instead, holding onto the sometimes rough outline or snippet of what awaits me. I'm ok with it now (well, most times) as I understand that this is part of the growth of my patience. Trusting God and having faith means to believe in the things you cannot see (yet).