I’m impatient with my impatience.
I know better. I really do. Yet it still doesn’t stop me from (a) being angry, (b) feeling sorry for myself, (c) crying pathetic tears into my pillow at night, (d) trying to take things into my own hands (ONLINE DATING IS HEINOUS!) and (e) wanting to give up, altogether.
I’m embarrassed at my fickle heart. I go from being extremely happy with my life “as is”, to completely devastated that I’m not where I want to be.
Yesterday morning I dressed myself for church, feeling obligatory, pudgy and tired, with touch of low-grade frustration. I arrived a few minutes late and picked a new place to sit, alone. I’ve been attending church alone for over three years now. I’m quite used to it. I’m okay sitting by myself. In fact, I’m getting so good at doing things alone, I sometimes forget what it is like to have a companion.
My problem is that I’m okay with all of this. I have told myself I have to be. For the most part, I’m just fine being single. I’m fine with not getting asked out on dates. It’s totally understandable, because it’s not the right time, or the “right” guys aren’t asking, or whatever other stupid-ass reason. It’s okay that I have to suppress my raging sex drive (I write about this a lot, don’t I?!), because I know better. I want to have sex when it’s right, with the right person: one who will not just use me, empty me of my full, capable heart, and then leave.
Side note: When you’ve gone from having a very regular, healthy (except in the end) sex life to NOTHING — ?!?!?!
F R U S T R A T I O N.
Of course, it’s not just about sex. I long for relationship.
So, I’m waiting. Hoping. At the same time, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be held, desired, caressed; loved – specifically, by a man. And in those recurring moments of despair I know the answer is to turn to God for help. Except that I feel stupid, selfish and silly, because I should be stronger than this.
The truth is, I’m not strong at all.
I’m sick of this “single” bullshit, and pretending that it’s okay. It’s not. It sucks.
And so, a few minutes after I slipped into my seat and greeted the friendly, churchy-hipster faces around me, Joseph began his sermon.
It was about “the meantime.” Waiting.
Oh, come on, God. I don’t feel like listening to this today. I know I have a bad attitude, and I’ll try to fix it. I don’t want anything to apply to me, personally. I want to be left alone. Can’t Joseph give some illustration about somebody else? An update on the Kenyan mission team, or maybe a typical four-pointer on how to love my neighbor, all beginning with the letter “L”? I just feel like checking out today.
Alas. His intro was really good, so I decided to cast aside a little bit of my negativity. I pulled out my journal and pen, and began taking notes.
The “meantime” is the time between wanting something and having it, I wrote, almost as quickly as it left Joseph’s lips. We equate waiting with wasted time. If we have any hope, the meantime can bring up negative feelings. We begin to distrust, disobey and despair.
Sigh. It’s so true. I am chief of the triple D’s.
We need to wait…for the RIGHT thing.
How many times have I heard this?? Yet, I can’t poo poo it, because I know it’s truth.
I then started to think about all of the warm bodies in the room, and for what each person might be waiting; hoping; longing.
I know a few couples who are waiting to get pregnant. They’re trying everything they possibly can, all while praying, hoping and believing that God will answer those prayers. It just hasn’t happened yet. Time is running out.
I know families who are waiting to hear news – good or bad – about their loved one’s illness. What an agonizing place to be: wondering if your child/husband/brother/mother is going to suffer and die, and soon.
I know a woman who is waiting for her husband to “come around” – to see her for who she truly is, and to love her deeply; intimately. He’s just not capable of it right now. She still believes in the potential of the man he can become, and is waiting. It’s caused a lot of pain and confusion in her life.
I thought about my own journey, and how I’m waiting for God to answer all of my prayers. I’ve been praying about moving back to New York since July 2009, even when I was still married. I’ve been praying for my dad, step-mom and sisters to plunge into a deep relationship with God. I want to spend eternity in heaven with them. I’ve wondered and prayed about a second husband. I actually started writing to him — whoever he is — two years ago. It feels so cheesy.
And dare I even pray and ask for a career and children? I do.
There’s nothing that I can do to make the waiting easier, not even with a good attitude. I just have to sit, and wait, in the meantime. I know I do a horrible job at it, but I also know that God is in control. I get frustrated with myself at how small and petty my complaints seem to be, but they’re real, and I know they don’t go unnoticed. I know God cares, and I know He’s not going to forsake me. He hasn’t done so thus far.
My mind drifted back to the sermon, and I continued taking notes. I started to tear up a bit when Joseph pointed out, “As long as we are breathing, God is not done with us.”
Okay, God. I surrender. You got me. And I KNOW You’re not done with me yet.
As if that weren’t enough, Joseph “landed the plane” (hilarious pastoral terminology for wrapping up a sermon) with a 5-minute film. The lights dimmed, and a beautiful, blind teenager named Alyssa was projected onto the screen. She’s been blind since birth.
Great. I feel even more like an ass. My life is good, and this poor girl is blind. She wins. I suck at being a Christian.
“If I could see,” Alyssa said, “I don’t think my faith would be as strong.”
The camera then cut to her walking onstage and sitting down at the piano, and Alyssa played and sang – like an angel — an inspiring, beautiful song that she had written.
I started to cry harder at this point, and heard a few other people sniffling around me. The woman sitting one seat away from me dug in her purse for several tissues.
“I have so much joy and so much anticipation,” Alyssa’s voiceover soothed the congregation, “because I know the first face I’m ever going to see is Jesus, and that means the world to me.”
I realized something at that point: Alyssa will never see. Not in this earthly life, at least. She is waiting for something that you and I take for granted, daily. Her whole life is a “meantime”.
Yet she still has hope. She still has joy. She still has an impact on — and purpose in — this life. She literally walks by faith, not by sight.
I have struggled with this post simply because it doesn’t feel poignant or special. I have no “plane to land”; no physical evidence of my hope and faith, or even my prayers being answered.
Yet I still hope. I wait. I trust. I believe.
Over two years ago, a friend of mine made me a CD to help encourage me as I endured the real-time pain of my divorce. I never used to listen to Christian music (I was way too cool for it). Now that the scars have begun to fade, certain songs pop into my head. Today, “While I’m Waiting” is on replay in my mind.
I’m waiting on You, Lord,
and I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait
I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait.
It’s hard to wait. The meantime can really suck. But may we keep moving forward, with boldness and confidence; may we keep running with endurance the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1), and hold unswervingly to the hope that we profess, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).