Why Waiting Doesn’t Have to Hurt.
I didn’t know how much my heart felt like it was waiting until the tears threatened to blind me on Sunday.
My husband sent me out alone (splendid!) for hours of writing and prep at a nearby restaurant. As I was walking out the door for my solo afternoon, I grabbed my copy of Emily Freeman’s A Million Little Ways. I ate my lunch in my spacious booth and turned to the pages I’d dog-eared in January. I’m not sure what I was looking for, but I found it on the first page of chapter 9.
The chapter title stood out from the page: WAIT.
“It is not important who does the planting or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:7
“Much good happens in the space where nothing is happening.” – Christa Wells
That’s all I read, the quotes before the chapter, and already my eyes welled up with tears. I didn’t even realize I was waiting. I glanced at the opposite page, the last paragraph of chapter 8 and read what I had underlined and starred earlier in the year.
“It is possible for us to uncover the art we were born to make and show up to release it into the world only to be met with silence, inability to make progress, and a seemingly impossible artless road ahead. The lack of movement isn’t because of fear or sin or lack of belief. Sometimes it’s simply God asking us to wait.“ – Emily P. Freeman
I shut my eyes and whispered a short prayer, “Why is it so hard to wait? Why does waiting hurt? Why can’t I trust you to make the seed grow?”
Six months ago I released my art into the world in the form of a book. I didn’t grow up dreaming of writing. I was much more interested in performing on stage. But the more time I spent speaking, the more the words filled my journals and soon my computer pages. The words came and so I wrote them out over three long years. . . loving and hating the process. . . wanting the wait to be over so people would stop asking how it was coming. I wanted the wait to be over because I didn’t know how to answer, I didn’t want to talk about it.
The professional talker didn’t want to talk about the art.
I was passionate about the topic, sure of the message, and yet, so ridiculously terrified to write and then release it to the world.
As the final steps of the publishing process came together, I was in the final months of my first pregnancy. The due date came and went and soon the waiting became frustrating.
NOPE. STILL NO BABY.
NOPE. STILL NO BOOK.
And then, within a period of six weeks – I could hold them both. Everything changed. And nothing changed.
While my roles and resume took a new direction, the person inside of me stayed pretty much me. Life was more full and complicated, but I still felt like the twenty year-old version of me, so what am I DOING WITH A BABY?
I still wake up every morning and eat breakfast – granted it’s not always when I want to.
I still attempt to keep the house clean and organized. I meal plan, e-mail, shop, check the mail, and occasionally write. I also change diapers, wash tons of laundry, and try to keep up with the demands of an 8 month-old.
But writing a book has brought little to no visible change in my every-day existence. I’ll be honest: sometimes it’s really discouraging. I don’t think I was hoping for fame or notoriety. I didn’t need a post to go viral – but I still have that very human desire to know the art I’m making matters. What should surface as hope tends to overwhelm with fear. The fear pushes me to compare my book and platform with others. The fear demands I measure success in numbers and failure by a lack of response from every avenue I thought was a sure-fire win.
In those moments where I get caught in a whirlwind void of hope, when my waiting is full of fear, I throw my hands up and shout through tears, “It’s YOUR BOOK Lord. I trust You. . . but why in the world aren’t you doing what I think you should?”
“Fear says I’m going the wrong way. Doubt says I won’t find it at all. But hope? Hope says, Wait. It’s just a little farther. You are not alone and this is not just your idea.
My goal is a finished book – I call that my art. Yet there is a deeper work happening. I chase what I think is the art, but really that’s just the evidence. . . The real art is the invisible work happening in the depths of my soul as I uncover, sink, see, listen and wait.
The book is just the souvenir.” – Emily P. Freeman, A Million Little Ways
When I’m halfway through my third cup of coffee on my solo Sunday date, I slowly begin to look for the invisible work happening in the depths and the truth coming from those who love me in my worst moments.
David plays the purpose on repeat: If only ONE who needs these words reads them, it will have been worth it.
Carey writes to remind me that Jesus left the 99 for the 1.
My small group calls me to chase the Gospel rather than the idol.
My family members have all become book dealers. Who knew so many seniors in a retirement home would need a copy? Pretty sure my sister has copies in her trunk if you need one.
Friends who have bought, shared and encouraged.
And my Savior, who says the hope, the prize, is Him.
“As you stare at the stone of the hoped-for souvenir, remember the deeper work happening within you, where your life is hidden with Christ in God.” – Emily P. Freeman
Waiting doesn’t have to hurt, because waiting is part of the prize. In the waiting I’m given a window into my heart and all that still needs redemption. Jesus reminds us in Luke 7 that “…he who has been forgiven little loves little.” I know God is using this season to show me the depth of my sin and the abundance of His love through the cross.
The feelings of disappointment are real and powerful, but, as Carey tells me, in the disappointment I am reminded of my appointment. My purpose to share Christ is unchanging. I must remind myself that in the small God sees BIG. The point isn’t for me to see results, it’s to offer my art, my life, and my waiting to Him and trust that He will change me in the process.
We WAIT in HOPE for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20
Following and learning,