Beautiful Between

living fully in the now & not yet

Stuck in the Middle: The Secret to Waiting Well

I’m so happy to introduce you to a new friend! Deanne Welsh and I met recently and I just knew we were kindred spirits. Today, I’m honored that she would share with us about waiting well. It’s an unavoidable part of life, but we can learn to find joy and make the most of it. Without further ado, here’s Deanne!

This is the part no one talks about. The hours, days and weeks both the director and the writer skip over. There is a reason that stories and movies jump from one scene to the next. No one wants to see the boring parts of the story, even if they are important. If the camera were to capture in real time the hours of contemplation it took for the leading lady to decide on a course of action, we would eject the movie without finishing it.

It’s easy to miss the opportunities found in a season of waiting by distracting ourselves and labeling them as unimportant.

We whisper to ourselves, “I can’t wait to get through this,” and, “I hope this ends soon.” Like children staring at a caterpillar chrysalis, we ask, “Why is it taking so long? Why is nothing happening?”

We forget the hidden nature of significant change and growth. It takes time.

Just as tree roots spurt out from the seed long before anything pushes through the soil, we can intentionally lean into a season of waiting when we feel a stirring in our souls and a longing for more.

Hindsight reveals how the pieces of our story fit together, but during the middle part of our stories we wonder if we will be stuck forever.

In the waiting portions of our story, it is difficult to stay present and acknowledge the gifts of the season. Seasons of waiting are uncomfortable and sprinkled throughout our lives. A few include recovery from a surgery; years of trial and error, wondering if we will succeed; and even the discomfort of pregnancy. It’s a tangible reminder that change comes slowly and causes stress, even if it is something we are looking forward to.

The good news is that seasons of waiting come to an end and there are ways to make the most of them.

Examination

It wasn’t until I read Sue Monk Kidd’s book (quoted below) that I realized the incredible power of seasons of waiting. During these seasons we are forced to slow down and pay attention to our souls, creating the space to ask meaningful questions and to wrestle with the answers. This can be a frightening experience but it can transform and invigorate us. Don’t be afraid to look closely at the circumstances of your season as well as where you are with your thoughts and feelings in the midst of it all.

“Waiting is thus both passive and passionate. It’s a vibrant, contemplative work…It means struggling with the vision of who we really are in God and molding the courage to live that vision.”
                                            – Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits

Thanksgiving in the Moment

Instead of writing a list and trying to think of specific things, try to be fully present in a moment or a few moments during the day. For me this means setting aside my to-do list and soaking in the sight, sounds and constant busybody movement of my son. I quiet my mind and give thanks for the time with him. It also works well during meal times when I slow my eating down and give thanks for the flavors of food and presence of my family around the table. Pick moments that are meaningful to you and allow yourself the space to be fully present and thankful for the gift of today.

It’s easy to focus on how great things will be once a season of waiting is over, but we do ourselves a favor when we look for the gifts of today.

Releasing Expectations

This season is not all we hoped it would be. Perhaps the most difficult part of waiting well is letting go of our expectation and making peace with where we are. This applies to both the happiest and tragic of changes. We mourn the loss of what was and make space for what is and is coming.

A Final Encouragement

Waiting-Well-Vines-Deanne-Welsh

My son and I walk to our neighborhood park almost every day and we pass a wall covered in vines. When we first moved in with my husband’s mother it was winter and the wall was covered by dry branches. They reminded me that there is an order and beauty even when a season feels chaotic and dead.

Waiting-Well-Vines2-Deanne-Welsh

When the leaves began to sprout, I was reminded how quickly the new comes. Although seasons of waiting seem to stretch on and on, they end abruptly and almost overnight.

Waiting-Well-Leaves-Deanne-Welsh

It is now only a few weeks after the picture above and the wall is now overflowing with vibrant leaves. I love this! Whether you are in a season of waiting or on the other side of one, I hope this encourages you.

Are you in a season of waiting? What helps you stay present and embrace the opportunities of the season? We love hearing from you!

Deanne Welsh is a writer who lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She secretly thinks of herself as a girl from the sea because she grew up on ships sailing around the world. You can find her on Facebook here or at www.deannewelsh.com.

 

 

 

 

About Sarah

Hi, I'm Sarah. I love coffee, pancakes and street tacos. I'm a learner, a traveler and a creative mess. I've got a thing for redemption and seeing broken people living beautiful lives. That's the story I've lived, and the one I want for you. Let's be friends!

9 Replies

  1. A fantastic piece.

    I’m in a weird season of waiting right now. My Grandfather is nearly 81. He’s my hero, my mentor, and one of my dearest friends. And he has Alzheimer’s. It’s miserable and brutal. Cruel and confusing. So very mean to watch this brilliant journalist, turn into what looks like such a simpleton. Heart-breaking to see. This season of waiting is no fun.

    But one day, he will be loosed from these chains and we’ll let the bird fly home. Away from this cold cage.

    Waiting for someone to die, someone you absolutely adore, is hell on earth. His green leaves have turned to dried branches on the wall. But there’s still live under those old vines. I still see glimpses of my old buddy from time to time. And I am so thankful for that.

    Thanks for the challenge to wait well.

    Grace and peace,
    Steve

    1. Dear Steve,
      My heart aches for the season you are in!
      Although I mentally know that we all whither and are eventually set free to be with God, it does not make the process easier – especially with those we love and are close to.
      It leaves giant gaping holes in our chest and life.
      Praying for you as you wait and love during this season. May God’s comfort and peace surround you and your family! May there be more glimpses that bring joy and remembrance.
      Thank you for sharing your heart.
      Deanne

  2. Kristy

    What a wonderful message you’ve given us and how true it is!! I’m just coming out of a “waiting well” season and am now entering into a season of “healing change”. Living in the messy middle of life has it thorns for sure! When things aren’t looking like the vision we once had, or believe we were given, we doubt God and question His love for us. We wonder if He’s paying attention and if He even cares about the real struggle(s) we’re facing. What I have hoped in my heart for the last 20 yrs (like Joseph), was revealed & confirmed a few days ago. God has been “strategically training & preparing” me for a particular assignment that whole time! Yes, even the pain. He’s kept me hungry and searching, but has also been the One who sat me on the bench when I wanted to play in the game. He would confirm I was on the right path, but then closed doors I wanted opened because it wasn’t the proper season for me to pursue it. (…and He knew I would pursue it.) Once I learend my latest lesson approximately two weeks ago, insight and knowledge have been pouring down like rain! Doors that were closed before are now opening, and peace is abundantly present. Stay the course and never quit asking, seeking, training, or preparing. In due time, the waiting season will end, and it will be time to get in the game. Blessings to you! 🙂

    1. Dear Kristy,
      Thank you for sharing your story. What an encouragement to hear that your waiting season has come to an end and that you are embarking on a new adventure! Praying God continues to give strength and encouragement along the way!
      Have you read “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho? I literally just finished it and you might enjoy it! I found it to be inspiring and encouraging. It is about a boy on a quest to find his personal legend and the journey towards finding it.
      Would love to hear how your new season progresses.
      Deanne

  3. An important lesson. A few years ago I had both legs in a cast. l realized God allowed this to slow me down and relish the moments, spending some additional time with him, rather than racing through life.

    1. Such an encouragement that you were able to embrace the season (although I’m sure it was HARD!) and to lean into what God was doing. It’s so hard to slow down and I know God has brought me through various slow down times that I would not have chosen for myself. Thank you for sharing!

  4. I’ve been in a season of waiting as well, but nothing specific that I can share about. I hardly even know how to articulate it anyway. I think some things I’ve learned in addition to the excellent ones you’ve written here are along the lines of these. One: your friends in the waiting periods are your friends, period. I live in a city of performers, where name-dropping and networking are the rule, not the exception. I don’t do the thing where I see someone as a stairstep for my own personal gain; I see them as people. I don’t reach out hoping they’ll do something for me in the long run. In this city people are instantly impressed by accomplishments and connections, not by personality and heart. So the people I’ve connected with now, while I’m building something (but waiting for the finale, so to speak), are my friends. If one day my finished work attracts greater numbers of people, that’s great, but I’ll know who my friends are. People who knew me beforehand but never acknowledged me until my successes, are not my real friends. Two: all of life is life, not just the before and after the waiting. It’s sort of like you said about being grateful. I have learned to be present NOW, and consider NOW to be part of my life too, not just the place I’m trying to get to. When I was a kid I spent a lot of time wishing I was somewhere else, doing something else, but I didn’t know how to focus on now. If it was summer, I complained about the heat and wished it was winter. If it was winter I complained about the cold and wished it was summer. I was never happy. Learning how to be content now has been priceless. It’s uncomfortable, but it makes you face your real beliefs and either grow, or be miserable. 🙂

    1. I love the lessons you’ve learned and have found the same to be true of friendships. What a blessing to have identified true friends around you and to be building those friendships. True friends are a treasure and help make our burdens lighter and fill our lives with joy.

      The way you worded that: all of life is life, not just the before and after the waiting. This is so true and something I feel like I keep on learning.

      Thank you for joining in the conversation! I love reading your thoughts and insight.

  5. I’m a perineally poor waiter. Thankfully God is really good at holding his ground and not moving us forward until the time is just right. Until he’s taught us the lessons we can only learn in this season. Until he’s built into us the skills and the character and the endurance that can only be learned in the confusing, not-so-exciting in-between. Those things that we must have in our repertoire when He opens that door and shows us the world He built for us while we were on lockdown in the in-between.

    Wow! Look at that. How beautiful. And so worth the wait. Every excruciating minute.

    Lord, thank you for making me wait.

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