When sidelined in a season of waiting, trusting that rewards lie ahead is difficult.
In our fast-paced, make-it-happen right-now world, everything about waiting feels uncomfortable, uncontrollable, and unwieldy. However, with focused attention we can find positives in our present situations and train ourselves to wait rather than dash forward with decisions that may prove disastrous or other than God’s best plan. COVID pushed the pause button on the way we normally conduct our lives.
Many were uncomfortable with the slowdown and ill at ease with the new normal as they struggled to quash fears and waited for the situation to change. Other life circumstances do the same, forcing us to wait while others move forward. Although we’re conditioned to see waiting in a negative light, it provides opportunity for rest, reflection, and renewal, while allowing us to refocus for even greater perspective.
For twenty-five years, I participated in a 5:30 a.m. cycling class, three mornings a week. When the fitness center suddenly closed its doors, and the cycling class disbanded, I felt displaced. But the change to my schedule resulted in added rest that enhanced my mental capabilities and energy level throughout the day. I didn’t stop exercising, just changed to a later time. Although many people view a time of waiting negatively, one benefit is the opportunity to slow down from life’s frantic pace and rest. Yet, we often find it difficult to let go of our plans and schedules and take advantage of a life pause.
Sometimes we equate rest with laziness. Instead, view rest as an opportunity for physical recuperation, mental stimulation, and emotional rejuvenation.
Many of us avoid quietness and stillness. We’re a blur of constant motion, moving from one activity to the next, listening to music or TV, checking social media, reading online articles, or playing games on our phones. When we fill up our days moving, talking, or engaging in mindless pursuits, we may leave little or no time to reflect, ponder, process emotions, or connect spiritually.
Waiting allows time for contemplation, an opportunity to process feelings and hear God’s voice. For those unaccustomed to stillness, it may require adjustment to the cessation of motion that reflection requires. But once you begin to experience the peace and personal revelations, you will look forward to times of reflection with anticipation.
After my mother’s death, my family home needed renovation and renewal. My father died almost twenty years before my mother. Without him there, maintenance in many areas of the house was left undone. Some rooms needed a total gut; others required deep cleaning and a coat of paint. The work was projected to last three months. In reality, the job required much more time. When the renovation was complete, I felt my father’s approval even though he wasn’t present.
Renewal in times of waiting is similar. It may appear to involve minimal effort, but once you begin, you discover there is more work required than you realized. You may need to take some habits, actions, reactions, and attitudes down to the studs and start over. Spiritual renewal may mean in-depth study of God’s Word. Physical renewal could start with cultivating an exercise routine or shifting to a plan of healthier eating.
Each step you take toward renewal provides refreshment, helps you cope with your current circumstances, prepares you for the next turn in your journey, and more closely aligns you to God’s plans and purposes for your life. Renovating and renewing areas of your life is tough, but you will experience the Father’s pleasure for your hard work.
While living through a life pause, it’s difficult to imagine a positive outcome, but persevering through waiting brings rewards. When you trust God’s time frame in waiting and look for benefits, the Father is pleased and rewards your patience and obedience with peace, protection, perspective, and purpose. So, the next time you find yourself in a season of waiting, trust God is at work in your life, and anticipate rewards instead of bemoaning your situation.