What not to do when you’re tired of waiting.

{Image: battrick2010 / 123RF Stock Photo}

{Image: battrick2010 / 123RF Stock Photo}

I almost did it again today. That quirky tendency of mine to start a new gigantic project when the ones around me are slow and frustrating.

This time it was in the shape of considering raising chickens. Why? Because they were there. The baby chicks we’ve been watching hatch this week at the preschool finally arrived (cue ooohs and ahhhs). And guess what? They need a home.

Whose better than mine? I thought.

And really, how could I pass up free hens?? All I’d have to do is

  • spend 10 hours researching the keeping and care of this foreign-to-me animal,
  • acquire a coop, chicken run, feed, and supplies, none of which are available within 20 miles of my house,
  • grow money on the trees in my backyard to finance such an endeavor,
  • swap out my kids for the kind that would actually help care for animals as messy as chickens.

Piece of cake, right? I thought. Let’s do it!

(Did you hear the crashing sound just then? That was me falling a hundred feet from my head-in-the-clouds pipe dream and smashing into concrete reality).

Because here’s the thing: I wanted to jump into one of my favorite quirks to cope with what’s hard today. Which includes about a hundred issues that are derivatives of words WAITING or PATIENCE.

  • Our middle school daughter is still not passing her classes, in large part because who can do homework or focus in class when her hormones and bipolar have transformed her into a rabid, alien life form?
  • I have my first book out now, and a new author marketing her first book is a process that puts molasses to shame on the slowness front.
  • My husband lost his job three years ago, started his own company two and a half years ago. In. a. recession. That’s all I need to say there.

Once, when someone asked me at a dinner party, “You’re a coach, so what’s your best piece of coaching advice?” I answered: learn how to grieve well.

I stand by that one. Our culture doesn’t value, model or support healthy grief, and we need to.

What does grief have to do with waiting though?

Everything. Because when we’re waiting, we are grieving what’s not happening yet, what’s not happening at all, the dreams we’ve wanted so long we can taste them, the lifestyle we’re working toward that’s still just out of reach. 

In short, the work of waiting is grieving what’s not here. . . yet.

What did that look like today, when I realized how annoyed I was with everything?

  • Denial: We can totally handle this massive extra time, energy, organizational and financial sink.
  • Anger: THEY (kids) can’t handle it and I hate that they can’t handle stuff that I’d love to do as a mom.
  • Bargaining: If we made a chore chart and rotated week-to-week (and spiked their morning breakfast smoothie with listen-to-mom-without-hormonal-outburst vitamins) we could totally do this.
  • Depression: We can’t do this. We will never be able to do this. . . or anything else fun as a family. Where’s the chocolate?
  • Acceptance: This one’s not for us. Waiting for hubby’s business to sustain itself is hard. Sowing seeds into book marketing is tiring. We’ve got a while before teen years are done and that’s tough. But you know what? We do board game night really well in our house. And ice cream night. And bike riding. And those can be pretty fun substitutes on those please-God-we-need-breakthrough days. Instead of creating breakthrough with a new species of pet, and breaking down as reality dawns on me.

What about you? What do you tend to do to “fix” waiting? How might looking at it as an invitation to strengthen your grief muscles change the way you handle it?

-Laurie

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Comments

  1. says

    I can’t help but think of that verse that says “hope deferred makes the heart sick but when the desire comes it is a tree of life.”

    So many times when I read your posts it’s like looking into a mirror in one way or another. This one is no exception.

    I don’t like to wait, even though I’ve done a lot of it. And, its hard to admit that there is grief involved because I’ve done so much of that lately.

    I usually try to clean something, hopefully not someone’s clock, or overdo it in one way of another. And I do get depressed and or do a lot of prayer that is really bargaining. Sigh.

    I’m still learning to grieve well. I’m also learning to wait and exhibit patience. So much to learn as we go through this life.

  2. Kate F. says

    Wow – I have done all of those things but am especially good at anger and depression. I can’t understand why my life has been on hold for so long. All the things my heart aches for don’t seem possible – I want to adopt again but financially that doesn’t seem possible. I keep saying I’m going to start writing but other life things get in the way. Need new job opportunity but no doors (or windows) are opening. Thank you for reminding me that waiting isn’t the end of the world. I really like the concept of waiting as grieving what isn’t here yet – it clarifies why it makes me so sad. I appreciate your writing and sharing of yourself.

  3. Karen V says

    Oh boy, and I thought that buying all kinds of semi-precious beads and crystals and most of the sterling silver jewelry findings was all I needed to start my jewelry design business and of course make lots of money. So why after 5 years do I still have most of the those beads and crystals and I haven’t produced a jewelry creation in a year?
    Could it be I have no organization skills? or that I don’t like the business end of jewelry making or what?… I’m ready to change, but into what. Thank you Laurie for pointing me in the right direction. Go with my strengths even when they can be weird and quirky.

  4. Jane Franks says

    Hi Laurie:

    Boy does this hit home!! We have been waiting since August 2012 for a really big breakthrough that my husband is/was convinced God wanted to happen with his art career. Without going into all the details, basically it would mean recognition/possibly purchase of his Arkansas chapter’s paintings (came here from So. Cal. to do in 1991 — about 180 major paintings of Arkansas — he’s a native, but not a “local” !). Anyway, he is passionate, steady and accepting. I am a racehorse that frequently needs reigning in! We have had some indication that the source he is convinced can help make this happen, is going to work. I have been cultivating, cultivating — moving 2 steps forward and one step back! And we WAIT! In the meantime, savings dwindles, income grows thin, and we pray!! Some people would say we are nuts! God says WAIT! (I won’t go into all the scriptures, nudging of the Holy Spirit, etc. to convince us of this).

    I go through EXACTLY what you have just described!! So, how do I handle this?? Sometimes not well!! In those moments, I get back to the basics — reading scripture, books like Ravi Zacharias’ The Grand Weaver, rehearsing what great things God has done in our life/marriage/career (and there are many!) — and sometimes in desperation just crying out to God to help me get my perspective back. We have a large 2 car + garage that is nicely finished — and only one car! So I go out there and pace and talk out loud to God. No one can see or hear me!! Sometimes I argue with Him, sometimes I’m ashamed to confess I’m even angry! But I DO NOT leave the garage until He breaks my resistance and ministers to me. Often there are tears in this process. But each time, I come back thankful that God cares enough for me to minister. I Peter 5:6-11 is a favorite passage that helps me at these times.

    Just recently God has specifically ministered to us financially, too. Gene has taken on some portrait commissions, and we have just seen a specific provision last week through one of these, that meets exactly what we need for this next month. So, as hard as this is, I wouldn’t trade it!! God is SO real, and showing Himself so specifically!! I feel like the widow of Zeraphath in I Kings 17! God kept supplying her enough oil each day to bake the break for her son and Elijah, as she trusted God for it.

    Specifically what I am doing is getting back to the book I’m writing, and proceeding with daily routine, instead of being paralyzed worrying about our finances. CHOOSING to believe God is at work, and leading us along this path. I have to keep coming back to that.

    I apologize for the length of my reply!! Thank you so much for your reminder to WAIT productively, and your candor. I can pray more specifically. God Bless. And Hang in there!! You are doing great work. I will pray for doors to open for your book, too. Mine is on the way and I can’t wait to read it!!

    • says

      It really is a moment by moment choosing! Never a mastered trait for us mover/shakers. 🙂 Sounds like you and your hubby are a good team… complimentary strengths, even if they at times seem to clash. Thanks so much for sharing your story. And for your prayers!

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