Everyone I ask agrees: this semester has been a busy one. The student teachers have material to study and classes to lecture; the staff is already stressed from the conferences we've hosted and the ones looming over the horizon; I'm taking more teaching classes than I've ever thought possible; and GloryBound has traveled almost every weekend! Although life is continually busy, there are still those times when we feel like we're just sitting around waiting.
Last week Tim and the rest of GloryBound left Saturday at noon and didn't get back until Tuesday afternoon. This weekend, he left yesterday around lunchtime, came back tonight, and is leaving again tomorrow morning! Talk about busy. Being on the other end of the deal, I have to keep myself occupied with activities to keep myself from missing him "too much." Yes, there is such a thing!
Waiting is a fine art, and a lost one, if you ask me. Nobody likes to wait, but it's gotten really bad with this "fast-food culture" generation. Who enjoys waiting more than five minutes for lunch at McDonalds? Who likes standing in line for two hours to ride the new tallest roller coaster? Neither do we enjoy waiting long-term for graduation, marriage, or whatever else for which we dream. There must be a way to wait without completely losing our minds!
Whenever Tim travels over the weekend, I occupy myself with something fun. I've cut back on "retail therapy" (shopping!!) due to my status as "poor college student," but there are plenty of things to do that are cheaper than a new pair of shoes! I go to my best friend's house and watch movies, I have lunch with a bunch of girls, or I do the unthinkable and finish some homework. =) If you find yourself struggling to keep your sanity during your time of waiting, I recommend journaling, blogging, or cartooning your progress through this period of your life. I've done all three, and they've benefited me beyond words!
I also recommend purposefully not thinking about it. By choosing to not dwell upon your lot in life, you choose to reject discouragement. Count your blessings. Think about how good God has been to you, and you'll soon be on a mountain of blessings you forgot you had! Most of the time we blow our circumstances way out of proportion, which can lead to a sin called complaining. The children of Israelites got in trouble for this one on numerous occasions, so don't even go there!
Time flies when you're having fun, someone once said. In the South, we make friends while waiting in line. Soon we'll be talking about random things, laughing and carrying on, when all of a sudden it's our turn next and the quick friendship is sadly diminished. I find that even the longest, loneliest weekends seem shorter when I'm enjoying myself. When you're facing a long, boring wait in life, learn to enjoy the ride! After all, getting there is half the fun! You might not believe me -- but if life is what you make of it, a trial of your patience can transform into a party!
Basically, the fine art of waiting boils down to these three things: 1) Document your progress -- you'll look back on it later and praise the Lord for everything He taught you. 2) Think happy thoughts and avoid complaining at all costs. 3) Find joy in the journey. All of these are learned behaviors and do not come naturally, especially when we're so used to whining about every little thing (remember, we live in that fast food culture). While the flesh tugs at us to murmur and despair, God has something better in mind for us. Why not look back on this stage in life and think, "You know, at times that wasn't easy, but I really did enjoy it... in a weird kind of way!" It does seem weird, because it's humanly impossible, but it's yours for the taking through God's goodness and wonderful plan for this part of your journey.