The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Patience is a virtue.

Color me unvirtuous.

It’s probably fitting I chose a Tom Petty lyric for this week’s title as I might be sounding a little petty. But I like to believe I say (or write) what other people are already thinking. (We can debate whether that’s a good quality or not at another time.)

Did you ever calculate how much waiting you do in a single day?

Probably not because you have better things to do with your time. As a writer, I have the luxury (compulsion?) to observe everything and usually overthink all of it. Something trivial and dismissed by most will pop out and practically assault my senses until I obsess over it for the next day or year.

Here’s a short list I compiled, in no particular order, of some potential daily activities of waiting:

  • Traffic lights/stop signs/railroad crossings
  • Gas lines/drive-thrus/stores
  • Calls/meetings with colleagues/friends/family
  • Emails/texts from anyone
  • Pickups/drop-offs (either as the driver or the passenger)
  • Services

There are countless others. My point is none of us can avoid waiting. So, since it’s an inevitable byproduct of existence, why aren’t we better at dealing with it?

Perhaps you are that rare breed who is patient and handles waiting without much fuss or ado. What’s that like? I imagine it’s a calm and lovely mental state where you simply carry on with other interests or enjoy some downtime until your wait is over.

No one would use the word patient to describe me.

Unless, of course, it’s in the context of me seeking medical attention and being a patient in a facility. Other than that, I think you’d have a difficult time finding anyone who would use the adjective version as part of my description.

I know this is a shortcoming and it has certainly impacted my life negatively over the years. Because I have obsessive tendencies, I’m not able to just forget about something and easily pivot and shift my focus. I try. Believe me, I do. Sooner or later, however, my mind goes right back to that nagging question, “How much longer do I have to wait?”

In many situations, the question is quickly followed by my analysis of how it shouldn’t be taking so long and that if it was done my way it would be more efficient, and I wouldn’t still be waiting. (If that all sounds a bit prideful, you read it correctly.)

This is when the Holy Spirit usually gives me a gentle reminder to stop being so Judgy McJudgykins. I’m prompted to just relax. It’ll all work out. Just be patient.


There’s that word again. You would think being a person of faith, someone who believes in prayer, praise, and worship, this wouldn’t be so difficult for me, but it is.

I’ve asked the Lord to help me understand this behavior. I didn’t like the answer.

It’s difficult to wait because it means you’re not in total control.


The truth is we aren’t ever really in total control of anything. Even if it’s a strictly solo endeavor, there are outside forces (weather, health, finances, etc.) that may impact the situation.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I’m waiting, I get anxious. I’m not referring to times when I’m waiting for an order or something concrete and deliverable. I might get a little nervous if my online order is running late, but it doesn’t lead to anxiety.

It’s when I’m waiting for more important things (test results, publishing approvals, as examples) that I can get concerned. My imagination fills in the blanks. And I don’t know why my imagination is so negative. The worst-case scenario is played in a loop in my brain in vivid color. Sometimes it’s even in 3D which is really creepy.

Factor in a time delay to my already slightly unhinged mindset and it’s party time. Let the sleepless nights and unhealthy ingestion of comfort food begin. Wish my self-soothing leaned more toward salads than chocolate.

Waiting can be challenging because we don’t want to hope for the best or prepare for the worst.

If you’ve ever been disappointed (and who hasn’t), hoping for the best becomes harder to do. We have this horrible tendency to remember the disappointment and extrapolate that experience into new ones. Because we hoped for this and it didn’t happen, we can’t hope for that because it probably won’t happen too.

I know the Lord looks upon us in those moments with tenderness and love, encouraging us to simply trust Him for the outcome. And we want to do that. But there’s this evidence, this experience we’ve had getting in the way.

Sometimes we don’t get what we prayed for.

It may be a hot take, but it’s also the truth. It doesn’t mean God is cruel or that He doesn’t love us. I always refer back to Him being all-seeing and all-knowing. We are not. It may not make sense to us, but we are to trust He knows best and is working all things out for our good.

So, because I’m a woman of faith, and I don’t want to be a doubter, and though disappointment may have curbed my hope for the best, I won’t commit to preparing for the worst either. This has served me well at times, not so much at others.

I’m still finding the delicate balance. I believe the best thing to do is to acknowledge the potential for the worst without giving into it. In my case, it may mean realizing I may not get published in a magazine, but that doesn’t mean I’m done and should give up writing altogether. Now, when the rejections are piling in it’s harder to maintain that posture, but I’m getting there.

I encourage you to read stories of great characters from the Bible who had to wait and endure a lot before they received the promises God gave them. Stories of Abraham, Joseph, and David immediately spring to mind.

What I love about these stories is that each one starts with a promise and then the waiting. After a significant period of time (and, often, pain and trauma), someone decides to hurry the promise along by trying to make it happen. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t work. In all cases, it usually creates new problems.

But what do you do when the waiting is no longer with expectancy but rather with despair?

You start out waiting hopefully, but time and stagnancy begin to chip away at your enthusiasm. I’ll use myself as an example. I was in prayer with the Lord about four years ago. I had dabbled in writing for years, but I felt it was time for me to dedicate my full attention to it. I was excited at the prospect of finishing a book I’d started writing 13 years earlier. I finally finished it and could call myself a published author.

I knew the writing world wasn’t easy, but I had staked my claim, and I wasn’t going to be moved. I believed God had more for me. As I’ve mentioned before, I know my writing is a gift from Him. And now we were going to work! Look out world!

Almost four years later, I’ve had some stories published in magazines and an anthology, but I have yet to experience the fullness. I’m still waiting. Rejections have recently grossly outweighed acceptances. I see an email from a publication, and I sigh before I open it. Preparing for the worst. The worst happens (rejection). I try to shake it off and keep moving. It’s not always that easy.

As a Christian, I believe there is an enemy who loves to sow doubt into our life. He enjoys these moments when I’m questioning my choices. I can hear him in my ear discouraging, belittling, telling me to give it up and just get a regular job already.

Do you ever hear that negative voice in your head?

I can assure you of one thing: that voice is NOT God. Will He correct and redirect us? Absolutely, but He will never make us feel awful and worthless. He won’t harp on our failures and shortcomings. He is gentle and loving. He wants us to succeed. The enemy does not.

I won’t lie to you. Sometimes it’s very challenging to stay on this journey. There’s a part of me that believes there’s this one project that will open all the doors. But which one is it? And when will it happen? Or is there even such a thing? Or is it just a series of ups and downs, one door opening at a time?

I have no idea.

I inquire of the Lord (meaning I get whiny and say something like, “When God? When?) Yet because He’s so amazing, as soon as I start to wallow and get my pity party of one reservation ready, He reminds me through song, word, people, or some other means to stay the course. Wait. Patiently.

You know how you learn patience?

You wait. And you wait. And you wait. And when frustration starts to rise up, you take a deep breath and wait some more.

I also suggest you put on some praise and worship music (helps drown out the negativity trying to overwhelm you). There are also plenty of verses to help encourage you. I’ll include a few below, but recommend you do your own search. (Any and all Bible verses, unless otherwise indicated, are from, NIV, emphasis added.)

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope. (Psalm 130:5)

This verse struck me with its use of the phrase my whole being waits. Wow. I can never get my whole being to agree to do anything. Room for growth for me at least. And it cannot be emphasized enough how the Bible is a key to, well, everything.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. (Psalm 37:7)

This is one I need to reflect upon whenever I get stuck in comparison. That’s another game the enemy tries to play with you. He’ll make you doubt yourself and then reinforce that doubt by showing you how well others are doing and how you’ll never get where they are.

Have I mentioned he’s a fool and the father of all lies?

I’m going to leave you with this verse. Know that waiting is a part of life. It’s how we wait that can make all the difference. Just remember, we’re not waiting alone. He is with us through the waiting and wondering and wilderness.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;…” (Psalm 46:10)

Until next time, stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know. Remember, you’re not the only one waiting. With God’s grace, we’re both going to make it.

Look forward to hearing from you.



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