A few months ago, I stumbled upon this graphic online. It was just what I needed at the time, and still do, by the way. I posted it on my Facebook page, and it has had over 600 shares! That means 600 other people shared this photo from my page, not to mention all the folks who posted it on their pages and then shared it. It was obvious that I wasn’t the only one who was in the middle of a holding pattern!
Everyone is waiting on something. Some are waiting for an open door to buy a home. Some are waiting for a job. Others are desiring a child, by birth or adoption. Some might be waiting for a loved one to be healed of a disease or for a relationship to mend. Still others might be waiting for their financial situation to improve. And, dontcha just hate waiting? I do! Well, there is one thing that I hate more than waiting, and that’s waiting with nothing to do! Not too long ago, I took a child to the doctor and forgot to take a book! I had to sit on the little vinyl couch and watch “Bubble Guppies”. It was the longest half-hour of my life! My sister recently shared that she likes waiting more now that she can knit while she waits. She has recently developed this skill, and is a pro, I might add, so she enjoys the “excuse” to do it. My cousin was once stuck on I-30 due to a car accident. She organized her trunk and balanced her checkbook while she waited! I believe that’s the secret to surviving in the waiting room of life: stay busy.
Not too long ago, I was in a tailspin of depression. I gained weight, slept a lot and got up each day thinking “Maybe this is the day things will improve!” When I muddled through the day, and things stayed the same, I slipped a bit deeper into the depression. The only thing I did right was that I continued walking with the Lord. I read my Bible every day, prayed everyday and faithfully attended church and soul winning activities. I was also working in my home, caring for the kids and homeschooling, but I went about my daily tasks with little, if any, enthusiasm. I had reached a holding pattern for my life and was comfortable there. One day, the Lord gave me a gentle shake that awoke me. Notice, He didn’t have to slap me, just shake me. I was trying to serve Him, I was trying to please Him, but I was off track a bit; I’d lost my focus. I believe that’s why I didn’t have to have anything drastic happen to get my attention. I just needed to be pushed back on the path a bit.
He showed me that turning to food for comfort was useless. It made me feel worse than I did in the beginning. It was only a temporary fix. Many Christians turn to food since we do not smoke or drink. Gluttony is a sin, and I was swimming in it! I have since lost 12 pounds and 3 inches around my hips. I have more to go, but I’m using moderation in all things (Phil.4:5) and exercising again. The exercise is hard to do, but I have set reachable goals. I don’t want to be supermodel-skinny, just healthy. I want to take care of the one body God has given me.
He showed me that lack of hope can be lack of faith. I reached a point where I gave up on thinking things would get better. That was giving up on God. As long as I’m alive, there’s hope of change in myself and in others. I can give up on the hope of my changing things, but I can’t give up on God changing things. He is all powerful, and He will help me. Even if life never improves, I know I’ll be in Heaven one day! Now that’s something to look forward to!
He showed me that my priorities were out of order. By resetting my idea of what was important in life, I was able to find the contentment I was missing. I used to end the day with a list of “what I didn’t get done” running through my brain. For example, it might be like this:
- I didn’t get to read a book today.
- I didn’t get to email (or call) my friend today.
- I didn’t blog today.
- I didn’t get to write anything today!
I noticed a pattern in my “Didn’t Get Done” list. Everything on it were things I did for fun. I was getting all of the important stuff done! My “Completed Tasks” list was this:
- I did read my Bible & pray.
- I did send a card to a lady.
- I did prepare for Sunday School.
- I did do three loads of laundry.
- I did cook today.
- I did clean something today.
- I did read a book aloud today.
- I did homeschool four children.
- I did play with and change my baby today.
- I did talk to my husband today.
It didn’t take a genius to see that I was accomplishing the tasks that needed to be done each day. I was just unhappy because I didn’t get my “me time.” So what? There would be time for “me” when the kids were older, and I have already seen how quickly they grow!
He showed me that I need to praise Him in all things. (1 Thess. 5:18) Just as the picture above says, we must praise God for the blessings of life, even while we’re waiting. Life is still moving along, regardless of our circumstances. We don’t want to wake up one day and see that ten years of waiting have passed, and we were miserable for each day of it! It’s important to find the blessings and emphasize them. One day, “things” will get better, but that doesn’t mean today has to be terrible. God’s blessings are all around us! I must consciously look for them.
My husband says that I’m too hard on myself. I’m a perfectionist and I need to “relax” (his words). I hate being told to relax, but, that’s what I often need to hear. I’m trying to do just that.
Here are some books that helped me:
Suffering and Death: The Saint’s Highest Calling by Henry R. Pike. Don’t let the title scare you. It’s a great book.
By Searching: My Journey through Doubt into Faith by Isobel Kuhn. Another book God used to help me. Follow Isobel Kuhn, missionary to China, as she seeks God and finds Him.
I just wanted to share a bit of my heart. I hope that my struggles might be a stepping stone to help someone else as they sit in the waiting room of life.