We need to break up, so I’m dumping you. It’s over.
I’m done waiting. I’m over it. It’s not productive, helpful or beneficial, and I’ve wasted enough life on it.
We spend a lot of time waiting. I mean a lot. Before 5 am most days, I’ve already waited for my coffee machine to produce what only can appropriately be deemed go-go juice for adults. And that’s before 5 am. By 6 o’clock, I’ve already waited for web pages to load, water to heat up, food to cook and a variety of other things, depending on the day.
When I leave the house, there’s only more waiting to greet me. Living in a large city, it’s mostly because of other cars and traffic lights. Sometimes, it’s someone walking behind my car before I back out, and sometimes, it’s the bus waiting at the bus stop and blocking the entrance to my apartment complex. That’s the waiting entailed in just getting to the street. It can also take even more time as I wait for traffic to part which seems as miracle-worthy as Moses and the Red Sea during rush hour when trying to make a left turn.
We wait–literally–for more years combined than we’d probably prefer. I read some book years ago that calculated the number of days that one would would wait in line at the grocery store. It was pretty odd to think about how many days [yes, it could be calculated in days] in our lifetime that we would spend in between celebrity gossip magazines and bubble gum. We wait. A lot.
We also wait for things that aren’t so tangible or mundane or calculable by statisticians. Being 30something and female, many of my peers are waiting to get married and waiting to get pregnant. Those are the big two waits, if there were a list. Waiting for new jobs and babies to sleep through the night are probably big ones, too. It’s where I am, so it’s the waiting we, as women, discuss most often.
This is the kind of waiting we need to dump. Maybe not so much the babies-sleeping-through-the-night thing, but the waiting for marriage, families and jobs. The big waits. The things that tend to define us when categorized by the world. Are you single or married? Do you have children? What do you do for a living? It’s hard to meet a new friend and have more than a 3-minute conversation without these descriptives becoming apparent. As they should. They are big deals.
So if they are big deals, why am I kicking waiting to the curb?
When we wait, we’re focused on what is to come and not where we are. When we wait in line at the grocery store, sure, we might glance left or right and giggle at or judge pridefully the headlines about a celebrity’s personal life, but that’s not our purpose for being there. Our purpose is to get to the front of the line, pay for our groceries and move on with wherever we are going next.
When that translates to the big things–boys, babies and bosses–we miss out on so much more than what pop star is dating what actress and whether or not there’s a new candy bar. (Which, by the way, is a completely valid reason to buy said candy bar: calories from official taste testings don’t count. They just don’t.) We have a focus on the “what’s next” or, more appropriately, what we would like to come next, and miss out on what is right in front of our face in the moment. We fail to look left and look right and live into that fully.
On several occasions recently when discussing such issues with friends who fall into all these categories, I stated the fact that I’m not expecting any of the things on which we were all waiting to actually happen. Gasp! I’m typically the most annoyingly positive person you’ll ever meet. Or at least one of them. So these words were met with confusion and concern. My comment was received as negative, pessimistic and failing to hope and trust in God and His desire to bless us out of how much He loves us. But it wasn’t that. It wasn’t surrendering to “the worst case scenario” – or what we all thought would be the worst case scenarios for each of our own waitings. It was rather an acknowledgement that if I continue to sit on the edge of the chair of life that it felt like being put in time out, as if my invitation to live fully was lost in the mail. I would prefer to be pleasantly surprised by what God has for me than being disappointed when what I think should happen doesn’t happen. I’m done with disappointment.
I imagine that God would be sad if we viewed ourselves as sitting on the sidelines waiting to be called up to bat and being so disappointed when it didn’t happen in our time frame. I imagine that He never intended us to spend so much time waiting for what’s next. On the flip side, I imagine that He intended us to be engaging fully and embracing our roles, circumstances, struggles and the blessings that He’s given us–all which are intended to reveal more of Him to us–and are instead able to sit back and enjoy the surprises that He has for us with the giddiness of young children on Christmas morning.