Playing the Waiting Game

by Hilary Horn

By Britni D’Eliso,

Trust in the Lord and do good.
    Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit everything you do to the Lord.
    Trust him, and he will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
    and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

Be still in the presence of the Lord,
    and wait patiently for him to act.

Psalm 37:3-7

For most of my adult life, I have journeyed through each season with the mindset that my current circumstances are specifically preparing me for what’s to come.

When I was granted leadership roles as an undergraduate in college, it was clearly for the purpose of equipping me for future leadership in the Church or in my career.

When my husband Mike and I encountered obstacles in our marriage, the task of overcoming them became about noting the tools we used, that will presumably be needed for the next major hurdle down the road.

When our family had the opportunity to help pastor two unique, messy and complex church bodies, the problem-solving and relationship-honing it required were all tucked away in my tool belt for inevitable conflicts to come.

While I truly think there is some wisdom in this approach, it does pose a bit of a problem: living with such a future-oriented mindset tends to rob someone of savoring the present moment. How much of those struggles and victories did I gloss over or not fully engage as I was distracted by how they might be preparing me for what’s next? What was there to gain in living fully immersed in the thick of those experiences, that I simply missed out on due to my preoccupation with “opportunity for growth?”

In this season, as in the last 5 days to be exact, I’ve been actively battling this tension of living in the moment while looking to the future. As of today, I am 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant. Statistics, my midwife, and my own hope/gut-feeling told me I’d have my baby early, and certainly before this point. At my appointment 5 days ago, my midwife assured me (though there’s “no guarantee”), that I would very likely have this baby before my next appointment. Well, my next appointment is tomorrow at 10:00 am… so here we are.

The past week has consisted of checking off every practical step of preparation for this child that one could think of, mostly within the span of my first two days of maternity leave, and then a whole lot of waiting.

In my head and in my heart, I know these are days to cherish–my last days ever with just my son, possibly the last time ever I’ll feel the magic of a baby kicking and moving around in my womb, and the bliss of days with no agenda and no nursing every two hours and no wiping a poopy butt.

But I can’t help but go into preparation mode. How can I navigate this time to best utilize it for arming up for this next crazy season, or a season to come that I don’t even know about yet? There must be some logical reason why this baby has not yet made her appearance…so it’s up to me to figure out what that reason is and take full advantage of it.

And do you know what Jesus is gently whispering in response to this flurry of type-A thoughts racing through my mind?

Rest, child. Relish in this moment, in each moment. Spend time with me, not to grow or to be equipped or to prepare, just to connect.

He invites us to the vulnerable state of immersing ourselves in His presence, with no other task or accomplishment to hide behind. And that can feel foreign to enter into, almost as though I need to tiptoe in. But it is certainly the safest, most satisfying and worthwhile place to spend our time. It’s there we claim his promise that those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. (Psalm 91:1-2)

…I have to imagine I’m not the only one with this tendency, right? Won’t you join me, in being still before our God, resting and waiting on Him to act?

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