Life on the waitlist


So, I went and logged in to the student portal to pick my next seminary course. The pickings were slim—none of the required courses for my degree were available, of course. At least, none that didn’t have a prerequisite that I’ve not taken yet (no real surprise). In fact, the only one available for me to take at all was an elective on Calvin’s Institutes.

Or rather, it would have been.

Instead, I’m on the waitlist.

I’m very familiar with the waitlist, and I don’t just mean academically. As I mentioned in an earlier post, for a few years now, it seems like I’ve just been waiting:

  • Waiting for the right publishing opportunity
  • Waiting for clarity on how best to serve the Church (and my local church)
  • Waiting for one of my kids to learn that the rest of us are people too
  • Waiting on some other things that I can’t talk about

There’s a lot of waiting going on right now. I joke a lot with friends that apparently what the Lord is trying to develop in me is the fruit of the Spirit known as patience. And to a degree, I think this is very true. I’m not the most patient person in the world, though—thankfully—I’m becoming more of one. But when I look at all the things in my life I’m waiting on, there’s not a lot I can actually do to make things happen.

  • I can pitch books, but I can’t make a publisher say yes.
  • I can look for ways to serve, but I can only act on the ones that I’m green lit for.
  • I can explain to the boy that other people have feelings, but I can’t make that particular lightbulb turn on for him.
  • And I really can’t do anything about the other things.

All this waiting has led to a strange feeling of temporariness in my life, and with it a temptation to just sit on my hands and do nothing. To stop living as though the demands of today, and the opportunities that are right around me right now don’t exist or don’t matter. Which is nonsense, but it’s where my mind goes.

So here’s what I think God’s really been doing in this season of waiting—he’s been reminding me that I need to actually live to the fullest in the present. To stop worrying about tomorrow “because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34 HCSB). And that’s been a great comfort to me in recent days (specifically, the last day or so when it finally clicked). There’s lots for me to do here while I wait:

  • There are kids at my church who need to hear the gospel
  • There are coworkers who need me to do my job to the best of my ability (and the kids our organization helps, too)
  • There are people in my home who need me to be here, not wondering about what tomorrow’s going to bring

When your life is like being on the waitlist, that’s what you’ve got to do. Wake up, go about your business, and do all things for God’s glory. Because even when you get off the list, that’s not going to change.

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