No matter where I go in life or what I do, it feels like I am almost always in a season of waiting. In junior high, I wanted to be in high school. In high school, I wanted to be in college. And in college, I longed desperately for the "real" world.
But now that I am fully engulfed in the "real" world, my wants and my waiting have shifted dramatically. I am no longer waiting for a numerical milestone or a cheesy birthday party like I was as a child. I am waiting for things a lot more complex.
One of my most prominent seasons of waiting as an adult was the time I spent as a single lady. The ever-growing worry and anxiety that you will be forced to spend your life alone as an "old maid" (as my grandma calls it) tends to take a toll after so many years. Looking back as a now (almost) married woman, it all seems very silly that I spent so many
days years stressing about something that God was clearly already working on. It is insulting that I ever felt the need to doubt Him in the first place.
I started dating my almost husband when I was twenty-two years old, and in my honest opinion, everything worked out exactly the way that it was supposed to. In my season of singleness, there were so many valuable lessons, crucial life experiences, people I needed to meet, people I needed to lose, jobs I needed to have and some undesirable situations that needed to shape me into the person that I am today in order for me to be in the incredible relationship that I am in now. God knew exactly what He was doing in those trying times, and it pains me when I realize how much easier that time might have been had I relied on His sovereignty just a little bit more.
Even though my season of singleness has ended, I am still taunted by the waiting game. It seems as though with any life change comes more and more waiting, only this time the waiting has progressed to a deeper level. Instead of waiting for my Prince Charming, now I am waiting for a health diagnosis. I am waiting to see where God wants to use me in ministry and in my career. I am waiting to see what my future holds with my new life partner. Where will we build a life together? When will we have children? Will we be able to naturally conceive children? Or will we struggle like all of the women in my family did?
On the bright side, in my own life experience, I have learned a lot about Christ (and a lot about myself) in the waiting process.
I have learned that I am quite possibly the most impatient individual to ever walk the earth. I hate waiting. So much. I am an unfortunate victim of the "American mindset", thinking that I have earned the right to have everything "here and now". Thankfully, Jesus is still working on me. The best is yet to come, I am sure of that!
I have also learned the importance of worship and prayer while waiting. I will be honest, this one took me a while. I think it is because I was always hopeful that if I prayed enough, read my bible enough, etc. that God would give in to my poorly disguised, selfish plans. I thought that I could earn my way into getting what I wanted out of life.
And anyone who has opened the Bible in their lifetime could have probably figured out that this plan was a disaster in the making. God does not grant us a lifetime of fairy-tales, rainbows and instant gratification just because we are "good" Christians following a set of strict rules and precise checklists. You don't get into Heaven by being "good", and you probably shouldn't plan your life around being "good" either. In fact, a typical walk with Christ would rarely be described as "good". Messy, difficult, insane and unpredictable barely scratch the surface of what it's like to truly serve God, but I guarantee you, this life is never just "good".
Learning to serve Him while I'm waiting is challenging, because there is no guarantee that your waiting time will shorten or that God will grant you the things that you have been begging for. Not even close, actually. Praying and worshiping Him while waiting does not guarantee anything in the physical world, yet it changes everything in the spiritual world.
You see, it's not that prayer, faith and worship change the situation (although sometimes they do). Prayer, faith and worship change how you view the situation, and trust me, that's so much better.
Slowly, every day through much-needed prayer and petition, God is strengthening me and giving me the tools that I need to endure and persevere. He is making me stronger, and better and a far greater human being than I ever thought that I would be. The transformation process is uncomfortable, messy and unpleasant at times, but alas, I am still so grateful, because He is so good.
Perhaps the most comforting fact in all of this is His consistency and His desire to love us fully. I read a devotional recently that talked about the many seasons of life, and how God is with us in each one. So while most of us feel alone while we wait, that is not the case at all. He is with us each and every step of the way, no matter how many days, months or years this wait may be. He is right by your side, holding you steady on the days when you feel like you cannot bear to take another step. He is sharpening you with every moment that you endure. And every time that you press into Him, you are gaining a world of wisdom and a lifetime of self-control, peace and patience.
Maybe your wait just started, or maybe you have been waiting for decades. Either way, I encourage you to take heart and find solace in this process, because it can truly make or break you.
When we are waiting, we are faced with two options. We can sit there, pout, respond negatively and complain about the current circumstance; or we can dust ourselves off, continue to praise Him in the storm, fight to be positive and will ourselves into serving Him (above serving ourselves).
Realistically, a genuine walk with Christ will probably have a decent mix of both reactions. I know my season of waiting has been plagued by both extreme positivity and extreme negativity.
I will very proudly admit how utterly imperfect I am, because it gives me the chance to turn right back around and point at how unimaginably perfect my God is. If He can use me, He can use ANYONE, I mean that. And if He willingly chooses to love me each day, then rest assured, His love not cannot be earned by "good" works or anything of the like. He loves you. Fully. Relentlessly. Immeasurably. He will bring you through this, I promise.
"Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for him to act. Don’t be envious of evil men who prosper. Stop your anger! Turn off your wrath. Don’t fret and worry—it only leads to harm. For the wicked shall be destroyed, but those who trust the Lord shall be given every blessing." -Psalm 37:7-9