Thanksgiving was good and restful, a much needed break. So as I dragged myself into work this morning, I stopped to talk to one of my coworkers. We talked about how exhausted we were, yet how we felt like we weren’t really doing or accomplishing anything. And then she said something that struck me. She told me how she felt she was too old to wait anymore, that she didn’t want to put up with the frustration and nonsense. She said she was done waiting, which got me thinking, “How long are you willing to wait for what you want?”
Dude, waiting sucks. I think even for super patient people, which I am not, it sucks. Once you decide that you want something, then you want it…like right then. Waiting just seems unfair. I mean, I can barely wait for the microwave to finish cooking my gluten-free, dairy-free veggie lasagna, let alone big important stuff.
But waiting is also very important. When we decide we want something, that’s totally awesome. But that waiting period can be a great time of preparation. Maybe we need to prepare ourselves for that new relationship. Maybe we need to prepare our space by clearing out the old clutter and junk and negativity. Maybe we need to prepare our bank accounts for that humongous tuition bill. That period of waiting gives us the opportunity to prepare and to be ready for what comes. But the problem comes when we just keep waiting and waiting and waiting some more…
I think there’s two sides to this that you need to consider.
1 – How long you’re willing to wait can show how much you really want something. If you really want something, then you know it’s worth the wait. Passing desires don’t last long, and so you’re not as willing to wait for them. But being able to wait shows how worthy something is. It shows your dedication and your faith; you know you’ll get what you want. You think that being able to wait for that long shows how well you deserve it. I’ve heard stories of people who have prayed and prayed (for the child, for the relationship, for the health) for years before their prayers were answered. It was almost as if their waiting showed how strong their faith was, that no amount of time could lessen it. But that’s not always the case, which brings me to the second side…
2 – Is your waiting a stall tactic? Are you waiting for something that will never happen? You put all your energy into wanting and waiting for something, but are you missing the signs that it’s not meant to be? That maybe your preparations are all for naught and that you’re missing something else great? When we wait for one thing, we can’t fully appreciate the here and now because we’re so busy looking to how we want the future to be. And if we can’t fully appreciate the moment, that means we’re not fully present. And if we’re not fully present, how can we do and be our best? If you’ve set your sights on waiting, you’re not accomplishing other, more fulfilling things. As Dr. Seuss said, you get stuck in the waiting room where nothing happens but waiting. And do you want to spend your whole life waiting? Can you really imagine being so preoccupied with something that you spend your life waiting for it when you could have done something just as great and been so much happier?
I’d love to give you a beautiful, organized bullet point list that you could breeze through like a checklist, telling you exactly when to stop waiting, but it’s not that simple. How do you know when you’ve waited too long? When it feels off. When it feels wrong. When it feels like it’s going nowhere. When you know you’re not growing anymore. Our desires, our loves, our passions – all the things we want and wait for – should make us better. They should be helping us grow and prepare us to be better people. When we stop doing that, then we know we’re stuck waiting. And whenever you get stuck, you know it’s time to move on.
So when I think back to the question my coworker asked this morning, I can’t help but think of my own life. How long have I been waiting for that relationship, for that job, for that life? Maybe a little too long. We all have to make changes and keep growing, right? Life’s too short to be spent waiting.
Hopefully you’re not dragging through this week just waiting for the weekend. Don’t forget look for the good things in each day, because they’re there, I promise!