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Getting Better at Waiting

Getting Better at Waiting

By Elisa Morgan


I’ve never been very good at waiting. Rather than sitting quietly in my assigned spot, I pace and prowl, as if my action will move me to the end of the wait or move the end of the wait up to me.  


The first book I wrote was titled I’m Tired of Waiting! (now out of print). No one who knew me was surprised by the topic or by my take on it. My disdain for waiting had much to do with my life stage – youth – and even more to do with my personality – Enneagram #3 Achiever, DISC high ID, Meyers Briggs INTJ etc.


I used to wait for concrete things.


A job.

A husband.

A baby.

A return phone call.

An answer to prayer.


And I used to wait within a timeline.


By the end of the year.

By the end of the month.

By the end of the week.

By the end of the day.

By the end of the hour.

Right now!


I’m noticing a shift. I’m waiting less for the tangible things I once longed for and more for the less concrete. Less certain. Less definable.


I’m getting better at waiting – because I’m waiting for the intangible which happens while we’re waiting.


I notice my 6-foot 5-inch almost-into-his-twenties grandson navigate choices that are out of my reach (and many times even out of my knowledge – lol). His updates to me come through short (like five word) texts instead of long talks during sleepovers. He’s somehow more mature than I imagined and I’m not sure how he got there.


My adult children roam through their thirties and into their forties and even fifties stacking up both happy moments and disappointments, sorrows and joys, failures and achievements. On occasion I pray very specifically for a job for one loved one or protection and healing for another. But more often I yield my formulaic mindset of desired outcomes to whatever is best in God’s perspective. I observe from a distance. Occasionally my opinion is solicited but I work hard not to insert my views, following the wisdom I heard that “unsolicited advice is always received as criticism.” Yikes.


Even my work accomplishments are less black and white. Oh, I still obey deadlines for articles and other projects. But my leadership is more amorphous. I question. I listen. I nudge rather than direct. I summarize and release the results to others who are now in charge.


Admittedly, I’m surprised to find myself in this fresh space. Actually, I’m stunned to discover a growing appreciation for this new waiting posture. Rather than obsessed in the angst of ticking off much-wanted items on a list, I yield, observe and softly settle into what is. And funny as it may seem, I often look up to discover that the tangible things I always desired either appear with little effort from me, or don’t show up at all and also don’t seem to matter as much any more.


Yes, I’m older and some of the struggle has evaporated. But the calling to purpose, legacy and meaning remains. I still want to make a difference and I still have specific ideas about how that might happen.


I think what’s really changed are two things:


First is my sense of responsibility that it’s up to me to deliver the results. I know better. It’s not up to me – or not up to me alone. While individual accomplishment has changed many elements in our world, no one alone has completed all the necessary change on our planet. It’s up to all of us.


Second is the impatience that what I’m waiting for has to happen now. It doesn’t have to happen now. The process is as important as the product. We only get where we’re going through the journey. The result God is interested in includes both what is accomplished in us and what is accomplished through us.


I slide myself into a seat, turn my attention to the here and now and settle in for the wait. What am I waiting for? I’m not sure. But I plan to absorb, observe and enjoy the view from here.

Elisa Morgan is the author of You Are Not Alone. She is the cohost of the podcast, God Hears Her. She is also the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Her other books include Christmas Changes Everything, When We Pray Like Jesus, Hello, Beauty Full, and The Beauty of Broken. Connect with Elisa @elisamorganauthor on Facebook and Instagram.


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