I’ve never been any good at waiting. Just ask anyone who knows me well, and they’ll tell you that I struggle with impatience and a sense of restlessness when I don’t feel like I’m making steady forward progress. I fidget, I check the clock over and over, and try my best to find something to make time pass faster.
And the times I’ve been forced to wait for more than a few minutes? Ugh.
I suspect I’m not alone in this. Most women seem to feel like failures if we aren’t cramming every moment of our days and our lives with activity.
But, no matter how much we may hate it, waiting is just a part of life. While some of these pauses are short, others are not. Waiting for an illness to pass, your dream job, or to land a great client can all put us in a prolonged holding pattern. These times can test even the most patient and optimistic among us.
But, I’ve started to wonder if we’re missing the point when we resist waiting, when we fight against it with all that we have. What if waiting presents us with unique opportunities, chances to do things that we don’t normally have the time or perspective to do.
Like what, you ask?
How often have you longed for a little break, just a moment to yourself, but failed to take full advantage when one came along? How many of you find yourselves frantically sending work emails in the waiting room of a doctor’s office? Or mentally planning a child’s birthday party when stuck in traffic?
Don’t get me wrong – I have absolutely nothing against productivity. As a working mom, I know that making good use of those extra minutes in our day can make all the difference.
But, what if we consciously chose to just rest the next time we had to wait? What if we just sat and enjoyed some stillness and quiet? What if that little break was just the fuel we needed to finish our day in something other than our typical frenzied state of mind?
There was a time when I spent my days in such a rush of activity that, by the time I made it to bed at night, I had trouble recalling what I did that morning. I rarely took the opportunity to reflect on what I was doing. I failed to celebrate the things that went well, and often missed the lessons of what didn’t.
Reflection is critical – both to our enjoyment of life and to our personal growth. And what better way to use a few minutes (or longer) of waiting to consider where we are in life. What simple joys have you missed lately? What mistakes have you made that could have been avoided by making different choices?
The next time you’re faced with a moment, or even a season of waiting, why not try a new approach? Rather than fidgeting, or pushing yourself to be productive, why not see it as an opportunity? An opportunity to rest and recharge. An opportunity to pause and reflect. Who knows what might happen on the other side?