You’ve heard of The Dating Game, right? How about The Waiting Game?
I’m terrible at waiting. Just one example comes from my early teaching days when I chaired our school’s accreditation review committee. If I delegated various writing sections of the report to certain teachers, I knew I’d have to wait until the last minute to put it together. Instead, I wrote those sections myself. Not good, because the report was probably not representative of our whole school.
Another example was from my role as senior class advisor. Many year-end activities fell on my shoulders–senior project presentations, senior trip, senior banquet, baccalaureate, and even the commencement ceremony program, practice, and its decor. Many details had to fall into place within a two-week time period at the year of the year when, as an English teacher, I was also grading final exams, essays, journals, and tons of makeup work.
Nonetheless, despite telling myself that I needed to let the senior class leaders take responsibility for making their activities come together, I often jumped in and put details into place. That meant for a frazzled me.
Unfortunately, I can do the same with God’s plans for my life too. Instead of waiting for him to work or direct my steps, I jump in and manipulate a situation.
Saul, the first king of Israel, did this too. Instead of waiting for the priest to offer the sacrifice, he decided to do it himself. He wanted victory against the Philistines NOW and knew that giving the sacrifice was critical to having the Lord on his side. However, he had forgotten his role, which did not include taking over the priest’s duties. He wasn’t fully trusting God for the results but taking matters into his own hands.
Waiting is not easy–whether it be for a phone call or while in a line at the grocery store or for news about a medical test. However, waiting teaches us to rely on God and his sovereign plan, which is always best.
There are ways to occupy our restless minds and fingers while we wait for an answer or for direction:
  • Research an idea, be it for a book or even just a home project.
  • Start a much-procrastinated project. While I am waiting to hear back on a bunch of book proposals, I decided to get certified as a life coach and am now finding great fulfillment in helping others move forward with their lives. More info here: www.janetmchenry.com/lookingup/janet-mchenry-coaching. I also created an online masterclass called PrayerSchool: prayerschool.teachable.com.
  • Clean. Do your spring cleaning.
  • Organize your desk, your filing system, your taxes, your closets, your cupboards, your drawers. Glean out things you do not need, and give them to charity.
  • Reach out to a friend or family member. Write a letter or give them a call or even visit. They actually might be waiting to know someone loves and cares about them.
  • Get some exercise. Get out of the house and go for a walk or hike.
  • Work on a craft project. I took up sourdough breadmaking this winter, and it’s been a very therapeutic hands-on project that others are enjoying as well.
  • Text several friends and tell them you’re thinking of and praying for them.
  • Get some rest. Perhaps a daylong sabbatical is needed. Read a book. Play the piano. Take a drive to see something beautiful.

God’s answer may be just around the corner. As we wait for him, we are developing discipline, patience, and perspective in a #lookingup posture.

Janet McHenry has learned that when the rainbow ball is spinning on her computer, it’s a good time to pin fun new stuff on her Pinterest boards. She is a speaker and the author of 24 books–six on prayer, including the bestselling PrayerWalk and her newest, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus. More about Janet and her books can be found on her website: janetmchenry.com

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