I hate to wait. I hate to wait at the DMV, I hate to wait in the line at WalMart, I hate to wait in a traffic jam. But what I really hate is waiting on God; waiting for my church to grow, waiting for an answer to a prayer, waiting for my next Kingdom assignment. I knew three years ago that God was leading me into a new ministry role. While I loved what I did at Seacoast Church I felt strongly that the Charleston chapter was coming to a close. Once I came to that conclusion I assumed that I’d do a little prayer, read a little scripture, ask a little advice and BAM, I’d be on to my next assignment. Two years later I was still waiting, and waiting, and waiting. This week I want to share some of the lessons I learned while waiting for God to open a door.
Lesson One: How to be miserable while you wait
I am expert at making myself, and everyone around me, miserable while I wait. Let me share three quick tips if you too would like to become join the misery loves company club.
Worry is a great way to fill the hours, day, weeks or months you have to wait. Some questions to stoke the worry fire:
Why is this taking so long?
Why won’t God answer my prayers?
Why are other people moving forward while I’m not? (This opens the comparison closet which is a great dead end to explore while you are waiting)
Unfortunately worry doesn’t really move the ball forward, but it does fill the time and accomplishes the goal of making everyone miserable
Luke 12:25-26 ( NLT ) Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?
When I am waiting I feel like I have to make something happen. It is up to me to get the ball rolling. I just need to push harder, get others motivated, use my super powers to change my circumstances.
I was at the airport recently waiting on a delayed flight. There was a lady next to me yelling on her phone at an airline employee that this delay was absolutely unacceptable. She was so mad she looked like she was going to pop a vein. In the end we both got on the same plane at the same time. The only difference was I didn’t need a vodka martini to calm my nerves.
That’s the problem with stress, its fun while you’re fuming but it seldom changes things. But, again, it accomplishes the goal of making you and those you love miserable while you wait.
Complaining takes the pleasure of worry and combines it with the satisfaction of stress. Complaining takes many forms; a deep sigh, a prayer request, a testimony at small group. Complaining says, “If I have to wait, then those closest to me should suffer too.” And there is nothing that makes time fly in the waiting room like the airing of grievances.
The problem with complaining is that it is like scratching poison ivy; it brings immediate relief, but it makes the situation worse in the end.
In the past few years I have been learning that worry, stress and complaining just make waiting more difficult for me and those around me. I have also gained some perspective about waiting rooms. I’ll share what I’ve learned tomorrow.