The Waiting Game

By: Jasmine Pickett

“Good things come to those who wait.”

We have all heard this saying. Sometimes we receive it with welcome arms while other times we roll our eyes and turn away with annoyance. Whether we receive or don’t receive this saying, the truth of the matter is: we all have to deal with waiting.

Waiting, yes, I said waiting. I know it is not a very popular word, but in this day in age, especially in our current state, the word “wait” in all of its forms, has been thrust upon all of us.

And just to let you all know from the get-go, this blog isn’t a discussion detailing opinions or thoughts on COVID-19, but I am using our current situation as an opportunity to discuss the process of waiting and how waiting in the right way can help you when any tough situation arises. I plan to discuss a few topics about waiting including the difference between passive and active waiting, the importance of patiently waiting, and how you behave in the wait is how you will behave when you receive what you are waiting for.

Most times when we hear the word “wait”, there is a passive way of thinking and behaving connected with it. You may think of sitting down, being quiet, or being still. I have memories of elementary school when I would be asked to “wait my turn” or to “wait for the teacher to call on me”. What about when you are in a doctor’s office and the receptionist says, “please take a seat and wait; the doctor will be with you shortly”. These types of “waiting” scenarios may not require much from us and waiting passively would most likely suffice. But what about when you find yourself in a situation that requires you to wait for a long period of time or where there may be more uncertainty? I have learned through much experience that in situations that are tougher and require longer wait times, waiting actively is key.

One of my favorite examples to use when explaining active waiting is that of a waiter or waitress working in a restaurant. Imagine if you went to a restaurant and you were met at your table by the waiter. Imagine the waiter just standing around, not doing anything. You might become a little frustrated and annoyed if the waiter stood there doing absolutely nothing for long… Luckily, that isn’t what happens normally. The waiter serves you. He asks what you need, uses his skills to recommend the best options, and provides you with a service that results in you receiving the meal you requested. On the other side of this, the waiter receives a great tip because he waited in such a way that resulted in reward! We should look at waiting in the same light.

What is our job as the “waiter” in our situation?

How do we serve or actively respond to the wait in a way that will push us towards a successful outcome?

An important word for me, when it comes to actively waiting, is preparation! There is always something that you can do during your wait time that will get you ready to receive the thing you are waiting on. Let’s take a look at the movie “Field of Dreams”. One of the most well-known sayings in that movie is “if you build it, they will come”. The man in the movie had to make a decision to prepare the place (the baseball field) to receive what he was waiting on (a successful and well attended park).

He had to do everything from tilling the ground to building the fences! Imagine if he didn’t do that. Many times, the things we are waiting on have a lot to do with how prepared we are to receive them. I believe we experience “delays” when we are unprepared. I also believe that you can come face to face with the thing you have been waiting on and not be able to keep or maintain it because of a lack of preparation on your part. I would rather be over prepared and have to “scale down” than to be under prepared and not be able to manage what should be rightfully mine. Don’t be caught unprepared!

Now that we are getting an idea of how to actively wait, let’s talk about patience and the important role it plays in “the waiting game”.

Patience is something that we will be perfecting our entire lives. I believe that each phase of life requires a different level of patience and it is something that you really have to work at. I have been reading a book by one of my favorite pastors, Bishop T.D. Jakes, called, Strength to Stand. In this book he gives a great definition of the word patience and how it relates to waiting. He says patience is, “persistence, perseverance, and steadfastness in delay.” I like this definition because it is active and not passive. It requires me to do something to attain it. I have to practice being persistent, have perseverance, and be completely steadfast (unwavering, immovable) when I am met with delay.

You might be asking yourself, “How can I practice persistence, perseverance, and steadfastness?” The answer to this question is a hard but truthfully, persistence, perseverance, and steadfastness are often times birthed out of trial or hard times. We must be challenged in order to grow in these areas, otherwise, they wouldn’t be required. So, if trial and challenge are required for me to grow in patience and if perfecting my patience will make me a more successful “waiter”, then mustn’t I welcome hard times and challenges? What about challenges that come that are unfair? I would never wish for a hard or challenging situation, but I have learned through experience that when they come, there is much for me to gain from them.

As I said before, patience is something that gets perfected throughout a lifetime. If patience were easy to gain, everyone would constantly have it. Remember to be kind to yourself as you are growing in these areas. It doesn’t happen overnight!

I want to finish this discussion of waiting by discussing the notion of: How you behave in the wait, is how you receive that thing you are waiting for.

Let me explain what I mean by this statement. If I practice waiting with anger or complaining, then I will receive what I am waiting on with anger and complaining. Just because you receive something that you have been waiting on, doesn’t mean that you will automatically stop negative or unproductive behaviors.

Now, I understand that waiting can be a tough process, as we have already discussed, and that certain emotions such as anger, frustration, fear, or cynicism may rise. My point here isn’t to say we have to behave perfectly during the wait, but instead I just want us to be aware of our emotional states. If I recognize that I am constantly angry or afraid when I wait, then I can do something about it, but only if am aware. I may experience certain emotions, but I don’t have to live there.

One very important thing I have learned in the process of waiting is that I have a better chance of keeping and maintaining what I have been waiting for when I receive it in a more positive light. I mean c’mon, you don’t want to get to the finish line of a race kicking and screaming or punching out the person in the lane next to you! Chances are you won’t be very well received, or worse than that, you may have your title stripped for poor behavior 😉

It is always important to practice healthy behaviors during the wait, that way you put yourself in the best possible position to receive, enjoy, and maintain what you have waited so long for. Now go get it!

Since we all have to play “the waiting game”, we might as well get all that we can out of the process. How will you decide to wait?

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