Waiting. Ugh. I find it excruciating, especially when I feel trapped by my circumstances.
If you’ve been through a trauma, you know what I mean. It can take years to process the mess you’re in. You actively pursue healing, but you still have to wait … to learn healthier strategies for life, to be able to forgive, to experience joy again.
As a writer, I find it interesting that “wait,” which seems passive (sit there and do nothing), is actually an active verb. In other words, when you wait, you’re doing something.
1. When you wait, you stay ready.
You watch for signs of change, you hold yourself open to new direction, you get far enough past old pain that you can switch to a new future. Dave Barry*1, one of my favorite humor writers, describes “active waiting” behavior in one of his pets:
“A DOG IS ALWAYS READY. It doesn’t matter for what: Dogs are just ready. If you leave your car window open, the dog will leap into the car and sit there for hours. The dog knows that sometimes the car just starts moving, and you have to be ready!”
We can be like that!
2. We can learn to “purely wait.”
Peter Russell*2, who writes about contemporary spirituality, recommends “pure waiting.” He says:
“Pure waiting, not waiting for any event to happen, just waiting without wanting, can be a profound spiritual practice….Instead of waiting for that something, simply wait. No expectations. Simply stopping, and waiting, with an open mind.”
Pure waiting is relaxing and revealing. You see the present more clearly, and you’re not encumbered by wanting or trying to make something happen. For a while, you can experience relief.
We can do that!
3. We can wait and let go at the same time.
This sounds impossible. But Christ-followers can rely on the Holy Spirit who dwells within, and who takes action in the waiting for our benefit.
“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.” Romans 8:26, The Message
We can at least consider this!
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