‘Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.’
William S Burroughs ~ Author
Waiting is Not Wasteful
Let’s be honest, waiting is not something we do well, even though we do a lot of it. The British are famous for waiting so politely in queues. However, we see waiting as wasted time. It’s endured rather than enjoyed. We become impatient while we wait in the queue at the shop, or sat in one of those uncomfortable bucket seats in an airport lounge. I’m right there with you, that kind of waiting seems pointless.
We are not talking about that here. The waiting we have to develop is not wasteful. It has purpose to it. It is productive. We are not waiting for the bus, instead we are learning how to lead well by understanding the art of waiting well, the skill of thinking things through.
Over the years I have learned enough about myself and my personality to know how important waiting is. As a logistician (16 personalities), one of my weaknesses is being right, which means I always think I know what should happen in any given situation. I might even be right, but, despite the frustration of having to wait, it could be the difference between success or failure, between saying the right thing or the wrong thing, between rushing in driven by emotion rather than responding in a more appropriate, caring, purposeful fashion, the difference between what is good or what could be great.
I have learned to embrace the waiting, understanding that in the waiting God may well be up to something. Doesn’t make the doing of the waiting any easier though. Thankful for a go to verse, wise words found in Proverbs 16:9…
‘We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps’ (NLT)
These words have become my filter to all the great ideas, plans, responses, actions and decisions I might think are right. They have become one of my daily prayers, ‘Lord, I know I have a plan, Have answer, but I ask, will You Lord, show the right step to take next’.
There is power in a good wait.
When we wait, we create the opportunity to align ourselves with a God-created rhythm, one designed to bring blessing into our lives. An alignment which can help us to lead better.
When we wait, we create the opportunity for God to get involved, making just enough space for God to move, to speak and to be heard.
When we wait, we are not giving up, we are not wasting time, instead we are intentionally inviting God into the situation, into the problem and most importantly, into the answer.
Six Words to Help Us Wait
PAUSE: We can be so busy, and in such a hurry, that actually stopping to pause can be almost impossible. The way of the world seems to compel us to rush headlong for one emergency to another. No time to waste. Waiting is for wimps. I know what to do, get out of my way, I’m coming through, like some kind of saviour riding in on your white charger.
Pause. Stop. Be still. We have to remember, however driven we may be, our true identity is never found in what we have accomplished but rather it is found in knowing whose we are.
THINK: In the world of smart phones & Google, the art of thinking seems to have been lost. Such for a way through? Need an answer? Just go find one online.
In learning to wait, we learn to think. To meditate on God, on His Word, to say ‘thank you’ for the journey so far, for the guidance needed as we head into the future.
Tune out the noise. Where are you? Where do you need to be? What is God doing? What is God saying? What are the options? What is best for the situation, not necessarily what is best for me?
Don't over think it but allow the Word of God to speak to you. You may just discover new ways to do old things.
LISTEN: This goes with the time to reflect. We have removed the distractions, so we are better able to hear what God is saying. We can be too quick sometimes in our response and in our actions. Don’t be a hurry to move ahead, instead, hurry up and wait.
We might have answer but is it the right one. Don’t be so quick to bring all your requests to God, yet make no time to simply listen and hear what He has to say.
CAPTURE: Nothing is wasted, so do all you can to learn from everything, whether it’s a success or a failure. You never know when a previous experience will be needed in the future. In learning to wait, learn to recall, learn to be prompted, and learn to capture.
Today, it’s never been easier. Use a notebook, use an App, note down particular scriptures, thought, ideas and inklings as part of the process of pausing, thinking, reflecting & listening.
RESPOND: We have to be willing to be obedient to what God is saying to us. Through obedience is where the blessing comes.
If Joshua had rushed into Jericho to take that city, maybe he would not have had success. Instead, he waited. The people waited. And in the waiting came the strangest of military tactics. Even then, it’s one thing to capture the thought, it’s another to be obedient and follow it through.
TRUST: Ultimately, acting on the Word of God requires faith, which is simply us choosing to trust God is more than able to do what He has said He will do. Having paused, taken time to think on God, reflect on what He has done and wants to do in our lives, listened, captured what He is saying and then responded, trusting Him should begin to come much more easily.
Exercise Your Ability to Wait
What is in your hands right now? What projects do you have responsibility for? What decisions are in your hands?
Make a list.
Pick the most significant.
Take a walk. Have a pause.
Leave the busyness of the day and make space to hear from God.
Think & pray about this most significant thing. Not necessarily for hours, maybe just a few minutes. It’s just about inviting God into the mix.
Put aside what you would normally do. Wait for a God-given idea. A new insight. A different approach.
Capture your thoughts.
Work out your response and trust God to help you to bring this answer to its fulfilment.
You can do this on your own or it might be more productive to get others on the team to do the same thing before bringing back what you feel the response should be.
Then repeat. Go to the next on the list.
There is power in a good wait. We are improving our leadership and how we lead ourselves, which can only be a really good thing, for us, and especially for those we lead.