Time, Trusting God, Waiting

Wait: How to Thrive in Waiting Places

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I watched my Super Woman plans fly out the window without me as the locker stuck fast.

I had big plans to run about a million errands on this particular day, and the x-ray had to be first. I thanked God that there was no line. I’d be in and out.

Easy-peasy.

Except that, after the x-ray was over, when I went to press my code into the security lock on the locker, it didn’t work. I tried again. No luck.

 

I watched my agenda for my time flutter away as I waited. In a lovely pair of extra large scrubs.

Isn’t that how life goes some days? We may begin our day with that quick prayer, “Bless my day, God. Help me to get it all done.” And we actually expect Him to go with our plans.

Ummmm, yeah.

Sometimes God wants us to stop long enough to discover his plans for us. Sometimes He wants us in a waiting place so we can slow down, breathe, and seek His face in the pause.

 

And sometimes His plan is for us to practice living like Jesus, reflecting His grace on those around us.

Granted this was a small hiccup in my day. Within a few minutes they figured how to unite me with my clothes and I was off and running again.

But what about those big interruptions? Those are harder to work around. When the waiting goes on and on, that’s when it can be difficult to continue to wait on the Lord. To keep our eyes on Him.

 

How do we manage those unexpected delays and locked doors when they weren’t in our plans?

  • Pray. When those hiccups come in the middle of our plans, one of the best things we can do is bring our frustration before the Lord. He’s able to handle our confusion, even our anger. When we’re honest with Him He can give us His peace in the waiting.
  • Perspective. Often times, waiting requires an accurate perspective. More often than not, I’ve struggled with this one. I want things to go my way. Because, of course, it’s the best way. When God doesn’t go along with my perfectly laid plans, I need to choose to ask for His perspective in the matter. Sometimes He’s revealed to me why I have to wait for something. Other times, He’s been silent. But, when I seek His plans over mine, when I accept that He has a different way, the waiting comes with a little more peace.

 

  • Persevere. The hardest seasons are those when we wait with no answer from God. We must choose to trust that He is working in the places we can’t see. His plans are perfect, and His ways are higher than ours. We can lean into trusting Him, waiting actively.
  • Peer Upward. When we’re in a waiting place we didn’t choose, we need to seek after the Lord. As we spend time in His word, as we pray and share our hearts with Him, as we spend time with other believers, God strengthens us. He gives us the hope we need to stay yielded to Him in those places.

 

When you find yourself in a season of waiting—especially for those things that are beyond your control—seek the Lord and wait actively.

And make sure you remember your locker code.

What about you? What lessons have you learned in waiting times? What’s your funniest waiting story?

Click to Tweet: The hardest seasons are those when we wait with no answers from God

Today I’m linking up with Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday and Kelly Balarie’s #RaRaLinkup.

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20 thoughts on “Wait: How to Thrive in Waiting Places”

  1. Great post, Jeanne, and the pictures – even the locker, and perhaps especially that one – are so evocative!

    My funny ‘waiting’ story involves an outdoor shower and the theft of my clothes, and the choice to wait for a sympathetic person to come by, or to say the heck with it, and walk back to my hootch.

    The sympathetic arrival was a missionary. If fact, an American medical missionary. And in further fact, a lady.

    And here the tale will end…leaving the question, what did the dude do?

    My waiting is now in waiting for pain to subside – I sit on the floor, and simply look at whatever is in front of me, riding out the spasms. There is no room to think, or to pray. It’s simply blind hard waiting.

    Sometimes the pain eases, sometimes it doesn’t and I pass out…and sometimes on the way to passing out I become delirious. It’ like a waking fever dream; hard to live through, and harder to watch.

    I’d like to say that there is some purpose or lesson in this waiting, but the only lesson may be that sometimes, you simply have to wait.

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    1. Andrew, you always know how to keep a reader hanging. 😉 I’ll just say I’m glad there was someone, even if it was a woman, who was willing to get your clothes for you. On a more serious side, I am praying for you, my friend. I’m sorry the pain is so all-consuming. I’ll pray for you in your waiting.

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  2. I agree, waiting is hard, especially when we are not in control. I do have to remind myself to stay open to God’s plans instead of expecting him to go with mine!
    I didn’t think this was funny at the time but I’m beginning to see it now: last year I had problems with my car. They would come and go so sometimes it was fine and other times it wasn’t. This went on for about 2 months and every time I took it to the garage they’d tell me there was nothing wrong with it. (This was despite the fact that one time it completely cut out and had to be towed there!)
    Eventually I refused to drive it until they found the problem and so (probably just to shut me up) they agreed to keep it for a week and test it every day to see if the problem came up.
    Finally on day 6 it did! Once they actually believed there was a problem they looked at it, found a corroded wire and fixed it in about 2 hours!
    The waiting and the feeling of not being listened to definitely tested my patience but it was such a relief to finally get it sorted!

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    1. Lesley, it’s that whole control thing that makes waiting so hard. When God places us in a position where we have to trust Him or grow bitter in the insisting on our wills, that’s when the waiting is the hardest, in my opinion. It’s that yielding of our plans into His hands.

      I am glad they figured out what was wrong with your car. I’m thankful it was only a wire! It is hard to be in a situation where you don’t feel listened to. Been there too. I’m so glad it all got sorted!

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  3. Love this story Jeanne! That locker looks exactly like the one I used when I got an MRI last month. I am currently in a long waiting period myself. Since my book published last year, I have been battling a mysterious ailment. The MRI revealed what I “don’t ” have, praise God. However, there is still no answer to the cause of my pain. In the past few months, God has allowed me to heal slowly but I also am cherishing my time with Him. Our quiet talks and the insights He whispers as I study His word. I am thankful that He is allowing to be able to write again and share the truths of His word. It is always an encouragement to read your thoughts. I hope you have a blessed week and continue to cherish those periods of waiting. God has a purpose in everything.

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    1. Horace, I’m sorry you’re dealing with pain. Persistent pain can be draining on the spirit. It’s hard when you’re waiting for answers (especially about health!) to be revealed. I’ll be praying for you today. And, I’m glad you’re spending good time with Jesus and writing again! God has a way of meeting us where we are, doesn’t He?

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  4. Thank you, Jeanne, for being a vessel of God’s Word and exhortation. My word for this year is “wait”. My husband and I are approaching a season of transition, and so often it’s just hard. Don’t you sometimes want to yell at God, “Just tell me what you want me to do”? Next time it gets hard, your four P’s will help me refocus.

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    1. Alice, what a good, hard word to focus on for the year! I’ve no doubt God is teaching you some amazing lessons as you focus on this word for the year!

      There have definitely been times I’ve wanted to yell at God. Thank goodness He can handle our emotions, right? I’ll pray for you as you and your husband trust Him to lead you in His timing.

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  5. Oh, I get the locker story! I haven’t had that happen to me but know that I get so frustrated with all the crazy passwords we need for everything! I have two personal email addresses too, so the log in’s are different. Life can sure get complicated with all these ‘security’ measure leaving us insecure about our memory! But, God does have our life are planned out and we can be secure in the waiting times as He is always working for us. And can help us remember a password or locker combination. 🙂

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    1. I know, Lynn. I can’t keep track of all my passwords. I know they say don’t write them down or leave them on your computer, but you’ve gotta have a list somewhere, right? I love what you share about how God does have our lives planned out and we can rest secure in that truth. I’m holding onto that today!

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  6. I love your insight into waiting, Jeanne. So much great encouragemenet here. Oh so true that “The hardest seasons are those when we wait with no answers from God.” But as you say, the waiting can be more peaceful when we accept that God’s plans are not our plans. His ways are always higher than ours. Thank you for the hope you offer here, also in the awesome photos. I especially love the nature ones, but the other ones hold such meaning, too. Love and hugs to you!

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    1. As hard as it can be, the most peace is found when we wait on God, right Trudy? When we are yielded, trusting Him, we’re in a good place. Even when it’s hard. Thank you, always, for your encouragement, friend!

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  7. Jeanne,
    I’m beginning to think that waiting is the “super power” God wants to develop in me. I’m not a fan of persevering through trials and periods of waiting – especially, like you said, when there doesn’t seem to be an answer from the Lord. But, it’s the waiting and persevering that produces character, and character, hope. Thanks for these reminders I needed this morning as I find myself waiting on the Lord….
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    1. Bev, please forgive the delay in responding to you. It’s been a crazy week. 🙂 I like what you said about waiting being a super power. 🙂 It’s hard to do when we don’t have answers, but you’re right. It’s through the waiting and persevering that God develops character and then hope within us. I love that verse in Romans. May God strengthen and encourage you as you wait!

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  8. I spent a lot of time in an actual waiting room yesterday, Jeanne, so when I saw your post title, I had to smile. And I still have nightmares about not being able to remember my locker combination in high school, so I feel your pain about that locker incident. 🙂 I remember when we were collecting paperwork for our first adoption, a letter from my sister and brother-in-law stating they would be our daughter’s guardian if anything happened to us got lost in the mail or Fed-Ex system not once, but TWICE!! We spent the entire month of March trying to figure out how to make this letter get from Maryland to Arkansas. I think it finally did on the third try. In retrospect, I can see that the “delay” was all built into God’s timeline of giving us exactly the right child, but then, I was beside myself. Which ties right into your point about perspective. So, so important! Wonderful post, my friend!

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    1. Lois, I’m sorry you spent a lot of time in a waiting room this week. I hope everything is okay now. I bet you could write a post about the waiting room aspect of waiting! I remember waiting for various aspects of the adoption process, and how hard it was. Of course, I tended to focus on the thing needing to be completed rather than God’s working in the process. Thanks for sharing a bit of your story here!

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  9. Great thoughts! When I get in an unplanned ‘hold up’ situation, I remember the stories I read about the people who were late for work due to a last minute phone call, a spill on a shirt, a baby’s dirty diaper, etc. . . and because they were not at their twin towers job on time, they are alive today. God’s plans are always best. 🙂

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