I’ve never been good at waiting. My work on being more patient has ranged from a New Year’s resolution to a regular prayer request, but recently entering the post-graduation season of life has introduced me to a whole new set of unknowns.
I struggle with perfectionism and wanting to be in control, but times of waiting force me to remember Who God is — my identity rests in Him, not in the outcome or success of whatever I am waiting on.
You might not be in this specific position, but waiting is an unavoidable part of both major transitions and everyday life. Maybe you’re waiting to hear back about a job application, college scholarship or graduate school. You might be deciding where to live or if you want to relocate. You could be waiting to find godly friendships and a community that feels like home. Or maybe you feel tired of waiting and searching to find your place, your people or your purpose.
A different picture
When I think about waiting, it always feels passive and static, like I’m stuck somewhere unable to reach whatever good things are to come. The dictionary defines waiting as: “to stay in place in expectation of,” “to remain stationary in readiness or expectation” or “to look forward or hold back expectantly.”
When we talk to friends and family about waiting it’s easy to vent and complain. We might feel like the time is wasted and our expectations will never be fulfilled.
But Scripture offers a different picture, full of meaning and trust. We don’t have to merely wait by ourselves, trying to move forward in our own strength. Instead, we are called to wait on the Lord.
I hold onto Psalm 37:4–5 when I’m trying to make sense of waiting: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.”
This passage isn’t saying God is going to give us everything we want, but I see these words as a prayer that He would shape the desires of my heart to be more like Christ. When I’m in a time of waiting to understand His direction, I know He orders my plans, even if His answer takes time or in the end is “not yet” or simply “no.”
Abide in Christ
We can wait on the Lord by abiding in Him. In John 15:4–5, Jesus tells the disciples, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
But what does abiding actually look like? To me, it means recognizing God as creator, provider and sustainer, and daily, actively reminding myself of these truths.
When Jesus says I can do nothing on my own, He reminds me that each day, each second and each breath comes from Him. Overthinking, doubt and anxiety try to snare me and weaken my trust when I’m waiting on making a big decision or hearing an answer. I often fall into the trap of thinking I can or should handle it by myself.
But the truth is that we can’t do this life in our own strength, and seasons of waiting point us back to a comforting reminder — we are safe in the true vine.
God guides our steps in every long moment of waiting and stepping into the unknown. We don’t have to put life on hold as we wait, and whatever your season looks like, it can be fruitful if you abide in Christ as the source of growth and hope.