How to Bear The Wait

(read in :035)“Teach us, O Lord, the disciplines of patience, for to wait is often harder than to work.”~ Peter Marshall

I have never been good at waiting. It’s hard for me to do nothing about a situation and I have a tendency to dig up the dirt to see if the seeds are sprouting. I wrote a piece entitled “Wait Lifting” almost three years ago to the day. I was struggling to have the patience I needed to wait for answers and an outcome. Twiddling my thumbs is tough, I admit it.

Let me explain

Hold on while I tell you what I meant by wait lifting. I had this wild thought waiting might actually be good for us. Maybe it can strengthen us emotionally and spiritually. When we lift weights we build our muscles and bones by intentionally putting pressure and strain on them. We actually create little tears in our muscles. It can be tough and it hurts but the effort, followed by rest makes the muscles heal back stronger than they were. That’s a little oversimplification but I think you see where I’m going.

Sue Monk Kidd had this to say in her wonderful book When the Heart Waits,“I had tended to view waiting as mere passivity. When I looked it up in my dictionary, however, I found that the words passive and passion come from the same Latin root, pati, which means “to endure.” Waiting is thus both passive and passionate. It’s a vibrant, contemplative work.” 

Waiting for your harvest

Our family spent 34 years on a farm. It’s a life overflowing with messages about patience and brimming with metaphors for life. Think about how a farmer spends his time. There is one payday a year for a farmer when it comes to crops. Typically, harvest time lasts about two weeks. That’s about 4% of his time. Do you see what I’m saying? Waiting for spring, preparing the soil, planting, cultivating, watering and tending the crop until it’s ripe takes much, much longer than the reward part. And there’s no way you can cram or rush the harvest.

Waiting doesn’t mean wasting

I love the saying (and I don’t know who said it) “good things come to those who wait as long as they work like hell while they’re waiting.” The trick is we don’t just wait. Ask our friend the farmer. There are always tractors to fix, bins to build, new techniques to learn, contracts to negotiate. Don’t waste the wait. Tweet that!

Seth Godin, one of my favorite authors, wrote a dandy little book years ago called The Dip. Godin’s book can help you decide if it’s time to quit when you hit “the dip” and the going gets rough in whatever you are trying to accomplish. He suggests you should decide early if something is worth doing so you are mentally and emotionally prepared for the inevitable struggle.

The urge to give up and to quit comes and goes. The hardest part is not knowing how to handle those feelings. Godin says, “If the journey you started was worth doing, then quitting when you hit the Dip just wastes the time you’ve already invested. If you can’t make it through the Dip, don’t start.”

Wait Lifting, a great way to grow strong

Don’t forget, mastery takes time. Malcolm Gladwell wrote in Outliers that expertise takes 10,00 hours to achieve. Zig Ziglar also said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly until you’re good at it.” (I especially like that one.)

The Bible is full of messages about waiting and patience.  I like the King James version of Psalm 27:14. “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart”. It also does wonderful things for our character and our gratitude muscles.

“The fact that we wait for something is evidence that in some way we already possess it.”~Herbert Anderson

Not much of a wait now til spring my friends, only 11 days! See you Monday!


  • Gail

    Nice play on words! I am impatient too – gardening teaches me to wait. Thanks Betty for another great blog!

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