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How to Wait Without Losing Your Cool

If we were to list out the things we most enjoyed or things we had great, invigorating passion for, I doubt waiting would be on our list.

As a culture, we don’t wait well. More often than not, waiting is a source of frustration and not something we’re doing willingly.

The hiring manager hasn’t called back. We haven’t gotten an email. We were supposed to hear three days ago. We’ve checked our inbox every 10 seconds for the last 10 days.

Or maybe you put your heart out there in hopes to hear the same kind, loving, romantic words in return.

They haven’t come yet.

Whatever season you find yourself in, you just know you’re waiting.

And by their very design, seasons of waiting expose just how obsessive we can be. How out of control we actually are over our own lives. How insecure we are. How human we are. We find out a lot about ourselves and the nature of our hearts when we’re forced to wait.

The thing is, waiting will be a part of our lives until Christ returns. And because of this, it’s probably best we learn how to wait well.

Waiting While Trusting

When we wait, trust is an important factor.

The last time you waited on something, what was the focus of your trust? What were you placing your trust in and where was your hope directed? When we’re waiting, we can place all our trust on the thing we’re waiting on.

We wrongly assume, “This job is the source of my happiness,” or “This person is the source of my value.” We place a lot of unnecessary value on the authority and power of our circumstances and the things that haven’t happened yet but could.

Who are we trusting?

When we wait well, our confidence is in the Lord and our trust is planted firmly in His power and His ability. When we don’t wait well, our confidence is all over the place causing great insecurity. When we don’t wait well, we’re waiting for something else to fix, love, affirm, direct, value and complete us.

We trust because we know Christ has already done all those things. We can wait well when we trust Christ above all else. But when we don’t, we find our identity, trust and hope in a person or a position, rather than the Ultimate Provider.

Waiting well means we don’t doubt what God has planned. Waiting well means our lives aren’t contingent upon another person’s acceptance or rejection of us, but rather God’s promised and proven faithfulness. This was the case with Abraham as Paul recounts it in Romans 4.

Abraham grew in his faith, his maturity and his closeness to God as he waited. Really? That doesn’t sound easy and it doesn’t sound like my behavior when I wait. But Paul says Abraham grew in this way because he knew that God would be faithful and he never doubted God’s ability. He knew that God would make good on his promises. Abraham knew that God could be trusted more than his circumstances.

This is how and why we wait while trusting because we can look at all God has done for us and know that nothing is out of his control. As always, he will continue to make a way where there seems to be little hope.

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Waiting While Joyful

When we wait, the temptation is to attach to a source of confidence. Whether to a person, a test result or a job position, our source of attachment is seen in whether our moods rise and fall in inconsistent waves. But when we’re waiting while trusting God, our joy is unshakable. That doesn’t mean we don’t get sad. It doesn’t mean we don’t feel. It doesn’t mean we don’t struggle.

What it means is that how another person feels about us and whether they reciprocate the yearnings in our hearts doesn’t control us. Waiting doesn’t suffocate or steal joy. This is hard to do because so many of the things we wait on are things we find great joy in. And that’s a great thing. Marriage, dating, work, and school are all gifts that God gives us.

But what happens is that we become enamored with the gifts and let the presence of the gifts drive our emotions and our joy, not the presence of the Giver Himself. The problem is that gifts will come and go, the Giver will never leave. We wait well when our joy is found in God himself, not the varied gifts that come from His hands.

Waiting While Moving

The great misconception is that when we wait we’re idle. But waiting well doesn’t mean we stay put. When we don’t wait well, we tend to stop everything else. Instead, our call is to progress in faith and move forward in confidence. Otherwise, we mistakenly give one decision and one outcome too much power over the rest of our lives.

Our lives are symbiotically connected with our jobs, families, friends, hobbies and passions. We can’t plant our lives on the unknown in any of these areas. If we do, everything falls apart when that one thing breaks down or doesn’t pan out the way we thought, hoped or dreamed.

This is why Jesus is sufficient and why Scripture tells us to pursue Him with everything we have before and above everything else. When we continue pursuing Him, everything works out for good on our behalf because of Jesus. He is the one thing that keeps everything secure in His hand.

There’s nothing else that has the energy, life and power to keep all the various details and movements of our lives running except the power of God.

When we wait well, we’re OK because Christ Himself is moving forward, still running, fixing and mending the broken parts along the way on our behalf. We can step out in faith with our lives while we wait because we know full well that Jesus stepped out of heaven and into human flesh to bring us the life we’re living and the air we’re breathing.

And He’s the only one that can be trusted as our source of confidence when everything else is completely uncertain.

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