5 Things I Have Learned from Waiting

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Ssese Islands, Uganda
1. Waiting doesn’t mean sitting still. 

When you wait it usually means that you are in one of two situations. Either you are not sure what is next and you are just holding off to see what will happen, or you do know what is next and it is forcing you to remain in a certain place until it takes place. Regardless, you don’t have to be stagnant. Sure, it’s hard to plan things when the unknown future is looming and it seems so close and you are afraid to get into anything serious because you don’t know how long you can commit, but you aren’t chained to uncertainty. Sometimes the best thing to do when you are waiting on what is to come is to start something new or improve on something that you already know. These things remind you that life is not revolving around one thing and that you are a person that is made up of many different levels and experiences. 

While I have been waiting this year until Paul’s visa can be processed, I have started an Etsy shop and it has really given me a lot of sanity and a sense of accomplishment. I have a bit of control over my shop and what happens with it. It’s something that I can stay busy with and also work towards a future in. When I started the shop last November I didn’t know how long I was going to be in the States, but I still loved creating and using different talents that I have to start this small business. It has been a really great outlet while I wait. 

2. Waiting does mean finding joy. 

I know that many times during this period of waiting I have allowed myself to get into a funk and become really frustrated with my situation. It usually leads to not wanting to really spend time with anyone or just doing what is required when it comes to social interaction. I was annoyed with others who were moving on with their lives, I was frustrated with Paul for no reason, I didn’t really have any joy. Any time that is spent waiting is difficult, but it does not have to steal your joy. It can be hard to find joy, but it isn’t impossible. 

When I realized that I was allowing myself to get to this place I made a serious effort to take some time away from work, to take some time away from my Etsy shop, and to focus on things that were daily gift and blessings in my life. Paul and I started reading Scripture together, and we started praying together. I spent more time with friends even when it didn’t seem “productive”, I started some projects that were just for fun, Paul and I began planning for things for when we were together again, fun things, not visa things. It really lifted my spirits. There are still times when I feel a bit beat down, but then I go back to focusing on finding joy in the situation and remembering all the ways that I have grown during this time. 

3. Waiting doesn’t mean you have been forgotten. 

This one is hard. I will never forget the day that Paul went for an interview to have our visa expedited and was denied. We had really put a lot of hope in that interview because we saw that the visa we were waiting on wasn’t going to be finished in time for him to come before the wedding we were planning. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it was hard because it just tacked on another unknown period of waiting. When Paul called and told me the news I just remember telling him that I felt like we had been forgotten. Like God didn’t care about us and he was just letting go out on our own and suffer. 

After the words came out of my mouth I was really embarrassed. I felt ashamed for thinking that about my God. I felt like I had just jumped back 7 years in my Christian life and forgotten everything that I had learned over the years of Bible college, a counseling degree, discipleship groups….but it was real. I really felt that way and I think it was the first time in all the years of me being a Christian that I had ever really voiced any true feelings of hurt when it came to not understanding God. 

After Paul and I talked about it and processed and I was reminded of how God does love us, and that love doesn’t have to look like we think it should, I was able to process this feeling a little more. Waiting doesn’t mean that you are forgotten. We weren’t forgotten. I have not been forgotten. This hasn’t been my idea of a good time, but this is the first time in all my life that I have had absolutely no control in a situation, and let me tell you, it has been a season of growth. As much as I have tried to fight it, and warred with God for control, He has continued to remind me that I am not the one who is sovereign and I am not the one who is going to make anything happen. I am not forgotten, I am just being taught who is really in control. 

4. Waiting doesn’t necessarily make you stronger, but it doesn’t kill you either.  

I don’t know if I would say that this time has made me a stronger person. I think if anything it has helped me become a more sensitive person. I have been forced to identify with my emotions on a totally different level and I have learned that it is not a bad thing to feel. I have cried more than ever before, I have become angry more than ever before, I have experienced worry more than ever before, disappointment, comfort, companionship, dependency, I have really tapped into some sides of myself that I thought simply weren’t there. I don’t think that I would say I’m a stronger person, but I am not a defeated person. I like that I have been able to become more comfortable with emotions and embrace how complex and diverse people are. 

5. Waiting isn’t forever. 

It can’t be forever. There is an end to the waiting. We can’t be sure when that is, but there will be an end. Find hope in that. Find joy in that. Embrace the right now, and build excitement for what is to come. Don’t look back on this time of waiting regret your actions or your lack of actions. I think that we shouldn’t let any time go wasted. Carpe Diem, people! 

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