In The Waiting
Have you ever noticed that sometimes you just feel stuck? Stuck in the unknown, stuck in the unsure, stuck in the uncomfortable waiting period between an end and a new beginning?
Recently I found myself feeling this way. I was told that I could go back to work and after almost three months off I was ready to dive back in. When I first got the call I was overwhelmed with emotion. I felt nervous and scared but above that I felt excited and relieved.
For those of you that don’t know, I work in childcare. I have been working with children for over four years, and before the world shut down I was feeling like I needed a change. I felt like I needed to take a step back and focus on some of the other passions I hold. I had begun losing sight of all the reasons I decided to work with children because I had lost sight of the plan God had for me.
I think many others were also feeling this way at the beginning of 2020. Many people felt stuck, or unsure of their daily lives. Many people needed a break from the ordinary, a chance to regroup, and a clear head to revaluate the path they were currently walking.
Then without warning we were given this chance. A chance to take a break and gain a new perspective on our lives, and on the lives around us. This period of time has been hard for all of us. It took us by surprise and flipped the script on our everyday lives.
This period of time allowed me to reflect on all the things that had been stripped away from me. At first I felt relieved to have a break, it was as if God was answering my prayers. A prayer to slow down and just be. I needed this time, but I wasn’t at all prepared for it. I had no idea what would happen next.
I saw the children biking up the street and could no longer be with them. I watched church on the screen but could no longer worship with my community. I began working out at home and could no longer rely on an environment for motivation. It was all stripped away. All the places I had poured myself in to in the past few years were no longer “safe” to enter. Church. The gym. Childcare.
If you’ve read some of my previous posts over the past few months you will see how I’ve navigated this period of grieving. The anger I’ve worked through. The incredible sadness I’ve felt. The overwhelming longing I’ve attempted to understand. And throughout all of it you will see that God has been so steadfast for me. He has grounded me in my grief. He brought me to a place of incredible gratitude for all that was lost and all that remains. He has transformed the way I view myself, and the way I view others. He has done exactly what I was praying for.
When I got the call to go back to work I was overwhelmed once again by the grace He provides. I pictured myself in the presence of those children and couldn’t stop crying. During this time apart I realized that God was preparing me for this moment. He wanted me to gain a deeper understanding of why I have chosen this path. He wanted me to recognize that I need those children as much as they need me.
Three days after I got that call I received another call. I was told they didn’t need me to come to work yet. Soon, but not quite yet. Just like that I was told to wait again. And just like that I was clouded by emotion. Clouded by impatience due to my eagerness. Clouded by irritation due to my misunderstanding. Clouded by the answer “soon, but not yet.”
I took a few days to reflect on these feelings and I began thinking about the ways in which God answers our prayers. Sometimes He says yes, sometimes no, and more often He responds with “soon, but not yet.”
Now I know firsthand this answer is probably the hardest to take. Because accompanying this answer is no timeline pertaining to when. He asks us to wait, but never says for how long.
And above that, it is so easy to misinterpret His not yet as a no. Instead of seeing the hallway God is building, all we see is a wall. Many of us begin pounding our heads against this wall out of frustration and an overwhelming human impatience.
I’d argue impatience is one of our biggest human flaws. When we lean into this emotion, we lose sight of everything going on around us. We ask God “when will this end” instead of considering, “why are you asking me to wait?”
I know many of you are eager to go back to something. Whether it’s work, church, or the gym, many of you are tired of waiting. But I wonder how many of you have considered why God is asking us to wait?
Three months ago I had no idea what was about to happen to me. I wasn’t prepared. But something beautiful began to occur when I started embracing the wait. I realized that God was working in me and through me during this waiting period and I stopped asking when.
Yes I was disappointed when I was told I could and couldn’t go back to work in the matter of a few days. But I recognized that this is God at work. He is still answering those prayers from months ago. He has guided me and allowed me to grow in incredible ways, but His work isn’t done. The wait isn’t over. He is working in the waiting, and all I need to do is invite Him in.
I want you to take a second to reflect on what God has done in these past few months. Now I want you to thank God for all of it. Every yes, every no, every soon, but not quite yet.
I think He does some of His best work during our waiting seasons. He is preparing us for what is to come. He is stripping us of the everyday because He has a plan much greater waiting for us.
He is building a hallway and asking you to walk through it. To trust Him. To wait.
He is answering your prayers.
He is working in the waiting.
He is preparing your heart.
And He is setting the stage for something incredible to come.
Soon, but not just yet.