Playing the Waiting Game: Cultivating Patience

pexels-photo-298018Life can often give us a sense of feeling stuck. We know what we want, but can’t seem to make any progress. We can often find ourselves playing “the waiting game” (Whomever coined such a phrase clearly doesn’t like games. Or, perhaps, never played one.).

We wait for the career we’ve dreamed of . . .
We wait for the end of a long work day. . .
We wait for a spouse share life with . . .
We wait for the pizza to cook in the oven . . .
We wait for a text from a friend . . .
We wait to emerge out of the hole that is our student debt . . .
We wait for this long overdue letter (sorry ’bout that) . . .

We wait. We wait. We wait.

At times, it feels as if the twentysomething life is a series of waiting games. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Consider what so often bursts forth in the waiting:

  • In waiting, there is still much work that can now be done. There is good to tend to in the here and now. Thinking is action. Small, incremental steps are simply right in front of us.
  • In waiting, there can be greater depth. Time and space to ponder, inquire, and reflect brings much needed wisdom to steward future opportunity.
  • In waiting, there can be increased growth. Instant gratification does not mature us. Growth comes through trial and difficulty. The friction that is waiting can spark something within us.
  • In waiting, there is a call toward gratitude for what is as opposed to what could be. We have an opportunity to take stock of the blessings of the present.

Your twenties are, in a sense, a decade of waiting games. But rather than drumming our fingers on the table impatiently, try to embody the anticipatory hope of the Gospel for this day, this week, this season, this decade. Live your lives within the tension of being:

Fully present, fully prepared.
When we do, we practice what the Christian spiritual teachers have called The Holy Delay; a spiritual practice of letting God work in us in the waiting.
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