It feels like I’ve spent years of my life in the waiting room, or waiting somewhere for someone to finish whatever they are doing. When you have kids, it feels like you are constantly in the waiting room.
There is something uncomfortable about being in the waiting room.
In one of my favorite movies, The Princess Bride, there’s a scene that cracks me up every time. The masked man is climbing the cliff; Inigo Montoya is waiting at the top to kill him. While impatiently pacing back and forth, Montoya mutters, “I hate waiting.” Finally, he leans over the cliff and asks, “I donna suppose you could speed things up?”
I’ve been there—pacing impatiently, urging another to hurry up. However, all my impatience generates is increased impatience. It doesn’t change my circumstances; it only raises my blood pressure and irritation level.
One day, my business meeting ran late which meant I was late to pick up my child. He climbed into the car, obviously irritated.
“Mom!” he said with disgust. “I’ve been waiting forever!” While I apologized for being late, I also realized that my child needed a lesson on waiting.
“What did you do while you were waiting?” I calmly asked.
“Nothing. I stood by the window watching for you.”
“Could you have used that time to work on some homework or read something?”
“No! I didn’t know when you were coming. I didn’t want you to have to wait while I put everything back into my backpack.” (Like he was doing me a favor.)
“I don’t know why I have to wait for you,” my child grumbled. “You know when I’m going to be done so you should be here.”
Whoa! Someone needed an attitude adjustment.
“How many times do you wait for me?” I asked pointedly.
“Well,” he stalled.
“Go ahead. How many times in the last month have you waited for me after practice?”
“Not many,” he groused. “Maybe just this once.”
“How do you feel about waiting for me?”
“Angry. Frustrated,” he said.
“Did you ever think that’s how I might feel when I have to wait for you?” I quietly inquired.
“Honey, I spend a lot of time waiting for you, your sister, or your brother every day. I’ve learned to use that time to read a book or to work on something else. It doesn’t do me any good to get angry or impatient. Although, when you are goofing around with your friends, I do get frustrated. Now you understand why it is polite to be ready on time.”
To be fair, my children were taught to be ready when their dad or I came to pick them up. Therefore, his response was reasonable, although the attitude behind the response needed some work.
We discussed the wisdom of having something to do while you are waiting: A book to read; a notebook to jot thoughts down about what needed to be done for an assignment; work on the assignment. It’s good to learn to be productive while in the waiting room.
As moms, we spend hours perhaps even days of our lives waiting in some way.
- Waiting in the carpool line.
- Waiting for a doctor or dentist appointment.
- Waiting for our children to sleep through the night.
- Waiting for our child to learn to walk.
- Waiting for our child to get dressed in time to catch the bus.
- Waiting for our child to complete their chores for the day.
- Waiting for the time when we can pursue a rejuvenating hobby.
- Waiting for our husband to express his appreciation for what we do all day keeping his children alive.
- Waiting for our child to arrive home when it is past their time to be home.
- Waiting for the opportunity to practice self-care.
- Waiting for the Father to bring our prodigal child home.
- Waiting for the Father to heal the broken places in your heart.
- Waiting for [fill in the blank].
Hours and hours of waiting.
Sometimes when in the waiting room, it’s tough to believe that the Father is present, especially when you want the answer sooner rather than later.
Perhaps you’ve been praying for a baby, and another month has passed without a positive test.
Perhaps you and your husband are still at odds over the same issue. You’ve prayed for answers, yet the Father seems distant and silent.
Perhaps your bills are piling up without a solution. You’re conserving as much as possible. You’ve applied for many income opportunities, but nothing has panned out. You beg the Father to move you from the waiting room and meet your needs and desires.
When you feel stuck in the waiting room, it’s difficult to remember that your Father God is always working on your behalf.
You may even wonder if He sees your needs, your hurts, and your desires.
“For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!” Isaiah 64:4 NLT
Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7 NLT
Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the Lord to handle the matter. Proverbs 20:22 NLT
As for me, I look to the Lord for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me. Micah 7:7 NLT
Here are five ways time in the waiting room improves your life:
1. Agency. We believe we don’t have control, but we do. What I do in the waiting room is completely under my control. Practically, I’ve learned to carry a book, a notebook, or my laptop, and utilize that time. I’ve checked items off my to-do list while waiting, which feels good.
2. Acceptance. I cannot change the reality of waiting, but I can change my attitude toward it. Controlling my thoughts and emotions makes all the difference. No longer do I fight with impatience, because I’ve learned impatience only exacerbates the waiting. Waiting is part of life on this earth. Chafing against it only creates tension and angst.
“And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight. 2 Peter 3:13-14 NLT
3. Alignment. When you are waiting for the Father to act or answer on your behalf, the waiting room provides the opportunity to converse with Him about the issue. When I choose to lean on Him, to study His Word, the Bible, and to listen for Him to speak, my heart and mind align themselves better with Him. Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” When we align ourselves with the Father, our desires are met.
4. Aspiration. Often there is a greater purpose in the waiting room. We aren’t born with a boatload of patience. The waiting room provides the opportunity to learn patience. Perhaps God is trying to speak to you during this time. Because, once we learn these lessons in obscurity, we can be trusted with something greater.
5. Adjustment. Let’s face it. We are basically self-centered from birth. Time in the waiting room broadens our worldview. If you take time to see others in the waiting room, you begin to wonder about their story. If you are brave, you might even strike up a conversation with another in the waiting room and learn their story. Some of my sweetest lessons have been learned through hearing another’s story.
If you find yourself in the waiting room, don’t be discouraged or impatient. Look around you. Shift your perspective. You have a wonderful opportunity to grow and learn.
What is the most recent lesson you learned in the waiting room? Leave a comment below.
If you need help, please reach out. I promise to listen without judgment and help you take the next step.