by Janet Holm McHenry
You’ve heard of The Dating Game, right? How about The Waiting Game?
I’m terrible at waiting. Just one example comes from my early teaching days when I chaired our school’s accreditation review committee. If I delegated various writing sections of the report to certain teachers, I knew I’d have to wait until the last minute to put it together. Instead, I wrote those sections myself. Not good, because the report was probably not representative of our whole school.
Another example was from my role as senior class advisor. Many year-end activities fell on my shoulders–senior project presentations, senior trip, senior banquet, baccalaureate, and even the commencement ceremony program, practice, and its decor. Many details had to fall into place within a two-week time period at the time of the year when, as an English teacher, I was also grading final exams, essays, journals, and tons of makeup work.
Nonetheless, despite telling myself that I needed to let the senior class leaders take responsibility for making their activities come together, I often jumped in and put details into place. That meant for a frazzled me.
Unfortunately, I can do the same with God’s plans for my life too. Instead of waiting for Him to work or direct my steps, I jump in and manipulate a situation. Saul, the first king of Israel, did this too. Instead of waiting for the priest to offer the sacrifice, he decided to do it himself. He wanted victory against the Philistines right then and knew that giving the sacrifice was critical to having the Lord on his side. However, he had forgotten his role, which did not include taking over the priest’s duties. He wasn’t fully trusting God for the results but taking matters into his own hands (see 1 Samuel 13:1-14).
Waiting is not easy–whether it be for a phone call or while in a line at the grocery store or for news about a medical test. However, waiting teaches us to rely on God and his sovereign plan, which is always best.
There are ways to occupy our restless minds and fingers while we wait for an answer or for direction:
- Research an idea for a project.
- Start a much-procrastinated project. While I was waiting to hear back on a bunch of proposals, I decided to get certified as a life coach and am now finding great fulfillment in helping others move forward with their lives. I also created an online masterclass.
- Clean. Do your spring cleaning.
- Organize your desk, your filing system, your taxes, your closets, your cupboards, your drawers. Glean out things you do not need, and give them to charity.
- Reach out to a friend or family member. Write a letter or give them a call or even visit. They actually might be waiting to know someone loves and cares about them.
- Get some exercise. Get out of the house and go for a walk or hike.
- Work on a craft project. I took up sourdough breadmaking this past winter, and it’s been a very therapeutic hands-on project that others are enjoying as well.
- Text several friends and tell them you’re thinking of and praying for them.
- Get some rest. Perhaps a daylong sabbatical is needed. Read a book. Play the piano. Take a drive to see something beautiful.
God’s answer may be just around the corner. As we wait for him, we are developing discipline, patience, and perspective in a looking up posture.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:14 ESV
About the author: Janet McHenry is a multi-tasking maniac who is gradually learning that waiting can be a good thing indeed. A national speaker, she is the author of 24 books, including the bestselling PrayerWalk: Becoming a Woman of Prayer, Strength and Discipline (WaterBrook/RandomHouse). She would love to connect with you on social media or through her website, janetmchenry.com.
Join the conversation: What do you do when you are waiting?