“Wait a minute.”
I utter this phrase to my children no less than a dozen times a day. I simply need them to patiently wait. Ironically, for someone who loves words and clarity, I am incredibly vague when I say this to my kids. “A minute” really means an undefined pause. It could truly be 60 seconds, 5 minutes, or just sometime later. It is not me telling them no – but rather, not yet. I need them to just wait.
I’m curious if you are being asked to wait a minute right now?
Not the 60 seconds kind of minute. The “Caitlyn Parenting” kind of minute that is vague and non-descript. The waiting that is slightly maddening because you know eventually you’ll get some sort of answer but when? How long will you have to exist within the ambiguity that comes with the wait?
When my kids are waiting on me, the stakes are not high; maybe they are waiting for an answer about screen time or what we are having for dinner. Your stakes are likely much higher. Are you in a period of undefined pause?
Waiting for a pandemic to end.
Waiting to see if your dream will materialize.
Waiting to learn if a relational hardship will resolve.
Waiting for important health results.
Waiting for your child to hit a necessary milestone (like sleeping through the night!).
I’m convinced waiting is painful and challenging because it is a stark reminder we are not in control. We are on pause until circumstances, people or information changes. It is without question a humbling place to be. The wondering that accompanies the waiting can be maddening! So, what can you do when you are asked to wait a minute?
I suggest a blend between taking action and being still. It may sound like I’m suggesting you to take two contrasting approaches – I am.
Do Your Part
Take action in the areas that are appropriate to do so. Gather information, respond to feedback, and figure out if there is a next step you can take. Do not let waiting be deflating to the point that you mentally and emotionally shut down. Do not give up. Wait with expectation that things are moving and ultimately “the thing” you are waiting for will be revealed or achieved. When that happens, you want to have your eyes wide open and you want to be ready.
If you are waiting for a dream to materialize – spend a healthy amount of time on personal development that will support the dream. If you are expectant for a career opportunity – reach out and begin having coffee with those who have gone before you. And while we all wait for the pandemic to end, let’s commit to leaning into community and learning how to foster resilience – even in the unthinkable.
While you have a role and responsibility in waiting well – you must also recognize that you must stand by and be still.
Be patient that there is a plan and purpose – things will come together and fall into place. Waiting does not mean you are getting an answer of “no” but rather “no yet”. Your faith must kick in and you must be able to trust in what you cannot see. That is so hard when you feel like other people hold the keys to your success or the outcome.
As much as possible, trust the process. Consider that the act of waiting, in and of itself, is an opportunity for increased development of your character and faith. Don’t waste that opportunity while you wait.
Waiting is hard. Whether you are waiting a minute, a month or a year. It requires us to humble ourselves and accept – we are not in control. We can try to force a resolution while we wait but that often ends in a poor outcome. We can act helpless but that also usually ends in a poor outcome. Waiting well takes both recognizing our role and embracing the stillness of the pause. Be open to the learning that can take place while you wait a minute.