If I can name one pattern that keeps coming up in my life, it would be the time and space in waiting.
I’ve written two articles about waiting. One is my own stories of waiting, and the other is my encouragement for those who feel weary in waiting. You are welcome to check them out.
What can’t be said enough is that waiting is hard. As humans, we have the natural urge for immediate gratification, a foreign language to waiting. Waiting is putting our desires on hold and allowing it NOT to be fulfilled for another day, another month, or another year. Even the sound of these words feels a pang in the heart, doesn’t it?
If you have a desire or desires right now, and they are not yet fulfilled, you expect them to come to pass in due time, in other words, you are in waiting.
Like I shared here, and here, I’ve been in that waiting room many times. I waited for a school offer, for visas to go to other countries (many times), for physical healings, for my Prince Charming, for finances to pay the plane tickets or the bills, for laboring to start to birth the baby, for moving to a bigger apartment, for my next assignment from God, for my calling, etc.
As hard as it can be, the inevitable waitings in life aren’t meant to be dark places where we lose hope and despair. Not at all. They are designed to be thresholds for expansion and vaults for hidden treasures in our life.
My dear friend, listen to this: not only have you a God holding you tight while you hold on in that space of uncomfortable or painful waiting, but also, He has an eternally beautiful purpose for you to discover and embrace.
I’m going to share 3 things I’ve learned in my waiting room that have forever changed my approach to life.
- Embrace the waiting
In our culture today, we are obsessed with climbing the success ladder. If someone paints us a “before and after” picture, whether it’s the success in losing weight, building a business, landing a dream job or having a happy marriage, we want to buy that method. Because we too, desire to one day arrive there.
There is nothing wrong with figuring out how to reach our desired places. However, what’s not shared enough is the things that happened in the middle. It may have taken years of trial and error for that woman we admire to build her profitable business, but because she has arrived, we tend only to see the last chapter of the success story. We neglect the fact that before her business took off, she was just in the same place as we are today— the waiting room.
I may have wished it takes only a second between the “before” and the “after,” but I have learned in reality, it could be a several-year journey. Instead of resenting being stuck in the middle, I have learned to embrace the process.
As the ongoing pandemic has struck home, life is never predictable nor in our control. While we wish to swim to the other side of the lake where the water is supposed to be nicer, we may only have a limited time to play in the lake at all. How many companies have been forced out of business or gone bankrupt in the past months? How many people have lost their once stable jobs? How many lives have been taken because of a tiny virus? I bet many of them have yet-to-be-fulfilled desires and plans for the future, but some may never see it happen.
I’m not trying to be pessimistic by all means. Here is my point: instead of waiting for “that day” to come, embrace the process, be present for the people around you and be thankful for what you have. Make this day matter while you still have it (because you may not always have it).
Instead of spending the energy wishing away the prolonged waiting, what if you channel the same energy into making each day the best day of your life? And even if what you desire never comes, you will be proud of the life you’ve made during the process, and regret nothing.
- Look for the partial solutions
Believe it or not, our family of 4 is living in a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Geneva. There are a few reasons for us not to move to another place yet. First, despite the only bedroom, the apartment (60 sqm) is not that small compared to many other homes in the city. Second, the location is impeccable, right beside the best city park with a well-equipped playground, and 5 mins walking distance to the Geneva lake. We love it too much to leave. Third, since we don’t want to leave this nice neighborhood, the one-bedroom apartment is what we can afford to live here now.
We don’t want to live in the current apartment forever. We eventually want to move out to a bigger one. My husband just launched his business recently, and we are trusting God to lead him further and grow the revenue so our desire to move to a bigger apartment can be fulfilled.
Can you see it? I’m in waiting. Though our current accommodation isn’t my heart’s desire, I’m thankful for what we have. I focus on the bliss— the gorgeous garden view just outside of our windows, pleasant walks at the nearby park and lakeside. However, to make our home both functional and cozy for my family, we had to be creative with the limited space.
Thankfully, the bedroom is big enough to fit a kingsized bed, two chess of drawers, two single wardrobes, a dresser( also a desk), a bunk bed, and a crib underneath the bunkbed (not a typical bedroom, for sure). By placing a wardrobe and chess of drawers in the middle, I divided the room into two parts—- our bedroom space and the kids’ space, with enough storage for toys and clothes. I managed to create this bedroom functional and comfortable for four of us.
Because my husband and I work from home, a working space is essential to both of us. How do we create a working space in such a small apartment? The solution for us is that we put a working desk in every room. Our main desk is in the living room by the window, which is the one with the best view. We also have a small desk in the antechamber and the bedroom. The advantage of this arrangement is that no matter in which room the kids are playing or napping, we will always find a space with a desk for our work, and shut the door.
All these details shared about my home is to bring about my second point: find the partial solutions in your waiting. You have needs, and they are legit and essential. Instead of living miserably in the middle, you can find some partial solutions now for what you need.
Remember, you may feel stuck sometimes, but with God, you will never run out of solutions. Because God is infinitely creative, and we are made in His image to create too. You’ve got to have faith in your ability to create solutions. Sometimes, in the waiting process, God is stretching our problem-solving /creative muscles so that we can grow into who we are meant to be.
- Rejoice in waiting
Waiting is hard. Rejoice in waiting? Is it even possible?
I have learned that rejoicing in waiting is not only possible, but it is also essential for my spiritual growth. To have great joy in me when the circumstance isn’t what I desire to be is both a willful choice and a state of being.
I didn’t get married until I was 32. And I remained single in most of my 20s. I attended weddings and baby showers of my close girlfriends, celebrating their happy moment while feeling miserable for myself, smiling on the outside but painful and lonely on the inside. I had thought, getting married to the man of my dream was the key to a happy life.
Have you been there too?
You may think, only if you could nail that job offer, buy that house, publish that book, hit that number of followers, get healed from the chronicle sickness, or marry that guy or girl, then you will be happy.
I would have agreed with you if I hadn’t understood what the apostle Paul wrote to the Philippine church from a prison cell,
“Be cheerful with joyous celebrations in every season of life. Let joy overflow, for you are united with the Anointed One!” ( Philippians 4:4 TPT)
When I desired marriage to make me feel happy, I neglected the fact that I had been united with God. He has everything I need for the well-being of my body and soul. This belief and understanding empowered me to choose joy and feel it, despite the desire yet to be met. The bottom line is, God has our best (eternal) interest at heart, and He is the provider for all our needs. This is why Paul could rejoice in a prison cell and exhort others to do the same.
Dear reader, I hope you will find the three things I’ve learned and kept learning helpful and encouraging while you are waiting for your breakthrough and miracles to come. I’m nowhere near perfected in learning these lessons, and it is a lifelong process to master the art of waiting. I’m right here with you and cheer you on!
I’d like to end this article with a quote from Dallas Willard,
“The freedom from the frantic desire to have is grounded in God’s promise to never leave us. Whatever we have or don’t make no difference because we are with the one who will provide everything we need, and this allows us to be content.” (Life Without Lack, p187)
Which point resonates the most with you and why? I’m looking forward to reading your comment below!
A note to my reader:
Thank you for reading, liking, sharing, and following my blog! It’s my great honor to serve you in my writing. I would love to know your thoughts and what you’d like to read in the future. Don’t hesitate to leave me some comments below!
I will be on vacation next week. We will be driving to the German part of Switzerland, visiting friends, sightseeing, or just chilling in a hotel. So I won’t be posting any article the next week on my blog. But I will be back after the vacation, hopefully with more inspirations to offer you. If you haven’t, sign up to follow my blog now. 🙂
I hope you will have a great summer!