How to Wait Well (Coming from Someone Who's Pretty Impatient)
I try to write whenever I feel a nudge or a little finger poke on my heart. I like to document where I’m at with the intention of sharing it on the blog one day. Because of this, I have a handful of drafts sitting in the what I like to call “The Oven.” These half-finished blog posts are slowly baking, not quite ready to be served. To be clear, I have an actual folder on my Google Drive called “The Oven” - so while that was meant to be a joke, I’m also being totally serious.
I started writing this particular post a few weeks ago, while in the thick of a situation. This blog post developed from my scrambled-up thoughts, frantically thumb-typed on my iPhone while on my commute. Before I dive in, I’ll start off with this quick note so as not to send my family and friends into a tizzy:
Shay happily accepted a job offer in Chicago, and we are not moving anywhere.
Did I officially grab your attention? Ok, here we go…
Some people say we spend our whole lives waiting: waiting in traffic, waiting for the weekend, or waiting for our “big break.” The things we wait on can range from minor to major and everything in between. I’m going to talk about the times when we’re waiting on something major. It’s the kind of waiting when you feel like your life is teetering on the edge of the unknown. It’s a multiple choice question, but you don’t have control of the answer. Your life will either: a) Do this OR b) Do that.
Sometimes the result of the wait is good or bad. Sometimes it isn’t a bad vs. good situation - rather a realization that when the wait is over the course of your life will change. Maybe it’s waiting on a college acceptance letter, a pregnancy, a home purchase, etc.
At this point, I can only share about my most recent "wait" and how I did my best to wait well throughout the process.
In July I gave Shay the “ok” to leave his job prior to having another one lined up. Most people would consider this a huge “no-no”, but, because of circumstances I won’t get into, it was the best thing to do at the time. He spent months carefully looking for a new gig - looking for jobs in Chicago, remote positions, and opportunities in other cities. We were by no means in a huge rush. I really encouraged Shay to take the time he needed to make sure the next step was the right one for him and for our family (Gatsby included). So we waited…
After months of searching, he ended up with a great job offer in Chicago and a potential job offer in another city. When I say “potential” I mean, he interviewed over the phone several times, flew there for an in-person interview, and was unofficially given a verbal offer. [i.e “We really like you and want you to come work here... (explains rough details of the position and package)... we’ll follow up soon.”]
Then the real wait began…
It was that awkward, uncomfortable in-between where we didn’t know which way our life was going to go. We didn’t have all the information yet, so we were trying really hard not to live in the future and weigh options we didn’t even have yet. In a sense, it felt like our life was on pause. It felt like the clock had stopped, when all I wanted was for time to move faster. I wanted an answer.
The reason I’m sharing this is because these feelings are not unique. Even our situation was not unique. That uncomfortable wait is something everyone at some point has experienced.
I realize I’m barely scraping the surface when it comes to waiting on major life shifts. I’m talking about waiting on something exciting, while there is an entire population who has experienced the gut-wrenching pain of waiting on something that could change their life for the worse. I won’t pretend to fall in that camp. I also realize my “wait” only lasted a few months, while there are people out there who have waited years for something. However, no matter what the circumstances are of our wait, I think we can all be better at waiting well. Below are three ways we can do that.
Don’t hold back.
Keep making plans and live your current life based on what you know. It’s so tempting to say “I don’t know if I can commit to that, because I don’t know what my situation will be in X days/weeks/years.” Try to stick to the facts and avoid “what if” statements. The fact is, we don’t know the timeline of our lives and how all the pieces are going to fit together. Bottom line, living too much in the future robs us of the present, and results in missed opportunities to enjoy the life we already have.
Ask for prayer.
... or positive thoughts, good vibes, etc. I really believe in the power of prayer. We’re supposed to admit our weakness and lean into the fact that we can’t handle everything on our own. It helps having other people on our team doing that for us too. By opening up our worry to others, we release that white-knuckled grip on the situation we think we have some sort of control over.
Replace “wait” with “rest.”
This goes against all of my instincts. It feels like while I’m waiting I need to be doing something - as if worrying, researching, preparing, etc. can hurry the wait. Sometimes I think the delay is a time to breathe and remind ourselves that we are not in control. While we're resting, God (The Universe, etc.) is working it out for us. We need to rest so that we aren’t worn out when the wait is over. One of the best ways I’ve learned to rest is by reflecting on all of the good things already happening in my life. Specifically, reflecting on the past and how up to this point everything has worked out far better than I could have ever imagined.
I’d be lying if I said I had this all figured out. I won’t sit here and pretend like I spent my recent “wait” totally zenned-out, praying, and counting my blessings. I had my fair share of freakouts. One of which included, using my morning journal time as an opportunity to create a three page list of all the things I’m worried about (this was not productive and actually made me a nervous wreck). With anything, there are good days and bad days. We’re human, and we’re going to mess this up.
If you’re in a season of waiting, I hope this helps you in some way! If you have any other tips on how to keep ourselves in-check when life is up in the air, shoot me a note or comment below!
As a reminder to be thankful for the things I already have, I made this phone lock screen. The truth is, I look at my phone a lot more than I like to admit, and I could use little reminders like this throughout the day. Perhaps you can relate! To download it, enter your email address below and a link will automatically pop up! (Don't worry, I won't spam you.)