The only absolute guarantee you have every single day of your life is that you’re going to be waiting: Waiting at red lights, waiting in line, for the theatre, to eat, waiting in line for the bathroom, or at the bank. Waiting is an inescapable part of our life, but obviously in the economy of God, a very important part of life. So let me give you 10 ways to wait wisely.
1. Wait to worry. The Bible is clear that we shouldn’t worry about the things we can’t control. So wait to worry simply means it’s senseless to worry about the things you can’t control and dumb to fail to control the things you can.
2. Resist the “flee or fight” impulse. Waiting is frustrating so the impulse for some is to flee, just simply run away from the thing that’s causing you frustration. Others have a fight impulse. It’s tempting to bully your way ahead. Oftentimes the desired result can only be achieved with time. So it’s neither flee nor fight. Resist the impulse to push. Resist the urge to have it over with. Be careful with words like, “I can’t take this anymore,” “You’re killing me,” “I’m going to die if this doesn’t change,” none of which is probably true.
3. Surrender to the devastating love of God. Every single day, get up and recognize you’re loved. Surrender to that devastating love, that love beyond all reason, beyond all hope, beyond all measure; the love that’s stronger than any force or foe you’ll ever face, the love that says that no one can ever take from you or keep from you what God’s want for you.
4. Submit to divine providence. Though He may be silent, God is not still. Submit your will every day to the devastating providence of God. It may not make sense to you now but it will in the long run, because God has a plan and His plans always work out.
5. Plan ahead. Planning ahead in these downtimes simply means that I’ll buy a composition notebook and start journaling everyday. It may not be filled with the things you wish you were doing. It may be filled with things that you ought to be doing – like exercising, like reading and engaging your mind. It doesn’t matter whether your plans are working or not. There’s always a week to plan, so do it.
6. Expand your circle. During downtimes one of the greatest things you can do is go looking for other friendships because during these times of waiting, you have more time to engage in the things that you won’t have time for when things start back up again. How many times do we say to people, “We need to get together.” There’s just not enough time. While you’re waiting, that’s just exactly what you should be filling a lot of the downtime with. Enlist advisors, associates, make alliances.
7. Backlog your product. I’m a writer and a speaker, an agent of change. My products are the things that I write or create. I don’t make widgets, don’t dig ditches, and I don’t pave roads. I don’t build tall buildings. It’s easy for me sometimes to excuse not making my product because there’s no immediate demand for it. You need to be creating your product now, backlogging it for when you need it. Thoughts, perceptions, and great ideas are lost if not captured now!
8. Houseclean and get lean. I do not mean by this downsize. I hate the word downsize because it’s just another excuse for quitting, for giving up, protecting the lazy man’s way. When we downsize, we downsize our expectations, our hope and anticipation. And just because you’re in a period of waiting doesn’t mean that your life diminishes or becomes smaller. It just means you’re going through a period that is necessary for the next leg of the race. Housecleaning simply means get rid of the things that you don’t need. If there’s unfinished business with you or your family relationships, get it taken care of now while you can. If you’re not going to wear it or use it within the next six months, you probably don’t need it.
9. Get up and get moving. During a waiting period, depression can set in. The more inactive you are, the more down you’ll feel. You talk to yourself and say, “Hey, why should I get up early? Why should I care? Why should I get dressed?” But let’s be honest. There are only so many TV reruns that you can endure. While you may be in a waiting period, you’re still employed. You’re employed by your Creator. You’re working for an audience of one. So, get up and get moving. You’ll be amazed at what happens when you put yourself into the mainstream of the flow of life. Not even God can help you when you’re glued to the couch or the bed.
10. Live life leaning forward. By this I mean live each and every day with great anticipation. This could be the day of the great breakthrough, or discovery you’re looking for. Do not allow yourself to downsize your dreams or give up on your great hopes and expectations. Live leaning forward every single day.