Waiting Patiently - Practical Tips to Help You Learn How to Wait

Tips to Learn How to Wait

Waiting. Patiently waiting. Waiting well.

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting... Our lives are one big hurry up and WAIT.

One of the biggest questions I get asked via email has something to do with waiting.

“I didn’t know it would take so long.”

“We have a leave date in 3 months but still need 50% of our budget.”

“We were supposed to leave 6 months ago and we are still waiting.”

“We know God has called us but the right door hasn’t opened yet.”

Patiently waiting.

Waiting really is a part of this whole missions, overseas life thing. Waiting is just part of it all.

Waiting Patiently - Practical Tips to Help You Learn How to Wait

Waiting for support. Waiting for paperwork. Waiting for answers. Waiting for emails. Waiting for phone calls. Waiting for permissions. Waiting for details. wait. wait. wait.

Patiently Waiting

Even on the field, life is slower. Methodical yet messy. New systems. New people. New customs. New ways of doing things. New ways of waiting. Time ticks past and often without many accomplishments to mark the time. And then more waiting.

Blank space fills the calendar as you wait from day to day.

Learning to navigate all the waiting and unknowns and days of messiness can overwhelm, discourage and frustrate any one of us.

What do we do? Is patiently waiting even possible?

Patiently Waiting - Practical tips for learning how to wait. Real life lessons and ways to overcome and learn how to wait well. Waiting patiently.

When you feel like you can’t do anything until someone else does something or something else happens or the next thing comes together… there are some things you CAN be doing in the waiting.

Things that grow you. Help you. Build you. Prepare you.

Things that, amazingly, are actually a BIG part of the process.

Waiting can be a fruitful time in your life. I promise.

Patiently Waiting – Practical Tips to Help You Learn How to Wait

1} Get Spiritual – Simply abide in Him. He has your timetable under control. Use times of waiting to dig deeper in the Word, take a Bible class, join a Bible study, extend your daily time with Jesus by reading more or journaling. Start family devotions as a regular part of your day. Use this time of waiting to grow spiritually and to lead your whole family into a time of spiritual growth. And I’m not just talking about growing in your missions knowledge or reading missions-themed books. Step outside of that. What areas are needing some attention in your heart? I wrote a post during our season of waiting to leave for the field about being blessed with winter. Are you spiritually taking advantage of your season of waiting?

2} Get Practical – Waiting is the perfect time to knock out some things on your to-do list! Read Tips for Moving Overseas. and Ultimate Guide for Overseas Life. Is your timeline made yet? Can you get your passports? Can you start making lists of things to bring, things to buy, things to learn? Waiting is the perfect time to get practical and work through all the red tape of document translation, AAA driver’s license, passport photos and so on. There actually IS a lot you can be doing in the waiting! Don’t wait to do some of these things. Your last months before you leave get really crazy so having some of the practical stuff done and out of the way is a huge help for everyone!

3} Get Trained – If you are in a time of waiting, this is the perfect time to gain some extra training. Take a basics class for plumbing or electrical or mechanics. Learn how to drive a manual vehicle. Learn to do your laundry by hand or help your family start conserving water. Take a self defense class. Find out if an organization is offering security training. Start in on that new language. Take this extra time to get trained in something you might not know now but WILL need to know very soon! In all honesty, we did NOT do this and really wish we would have used our waiting time to get trained in a few things. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that…

Patiently Waiting - Practical tips for learning how to wait. Real life lessons and ways to overcome and learn how to wait well. Waiting patiently.

4} Get Invested – Stop living in the future. I know… very hard to do when your whole life is wrapped up in the future. But, in this season of transition and waiting, it can be so easy to miss the joys of right now, this moment, today. Invest your heart in today. Go to the park. Enjoy your favorite ice cream place. Find a trail you love and go for a walk. Go on your kid’s field trip. Today is still important. Invest in it.

5} Get Prepared – If you read this blog, you know I’m all about being prepared. Just check out our prep for furlough. Information is key. Preparation saves everyone from more stress than necessary. Getting your ducks in a row is invaluable. So get prepared. Have that garage sale. Put some stuff in storage. Buy a few bins or suitcases and start your shopping lists {this helps spread out the last minute costs!} Give yourself permission to start getting ready! Research, research, research. Skype with someone who just landed in your new country and talk about the process. Find out how you can start getting prepared. Work through your timeline and slowly get your family prepared for your big move.

If you are on the disorganized side, read this. If you need some motivation, read this.

6} Get Memories – If you are in a season of waiting, this is a huge help for your family. Make memories. Go to the zoo. Visit a museum. Spend time with family you don’t normally see. Take a lot of pictures. Memories really help everyone stay connected with places and people. They help everyone say goodbye in healthy ways. When you visit a church and the pastor asks, “Where do you want to go for lunch?” Ask him if there is somewhere special, something local or different to try. This helps your kids make memories with your supporters so when they send that birthday card, your kids know who or where the card is coming from. Memories create light bulbs in your brains and make the time of waiting so much richer.

7} Get Mentored – Find someone to walk you through this process. Meet with your pastor and build a relationship that you can call on when things get tough on the field. We have friends that meet with their pastor in the states regularly via Skype. Find another missionary to chat with. Go to a conference and meet other people doing crazy things like you. Have coffee weekly with a church group or a friend. Find ways to grow and be mentored in leadership, marriage, health and so on.

8} Get Healthy – THIS IS THE TIME!!! Not only are you eating out all the time, spending hours in a car, not working your normal day job, changing your lifestyle completely but health could be on the bottom of your to-do list. It shouldn’t be. We started running soon after starting our first itineration because we were stressed and gaining weight. Running really helped. We trained for a marathon through language school. Insanity, I tell you. BUT… I think that is what got us through. Truly. The time to work out stress, be outside, spend time with Jeremy, cry out to Jesus… sometimes literally… all happened in those hours of running. Still, in our first years on the field, running continues to be a healthy outlet for me. Find what you love or learn something new. Keep the extra weight off, burn off stress and stay healthy for the many, many challenges ahead.

Patiently Waiting - Practical tips for learning how to wait. Real life lessons and ways to overcome and learn how to wait well. Waiting patiently.

9} Get Answers – The problem is you probably don’t even know what to ask. You need this. You need help asking the right questions for YOUR family to make the best decisions for the future. Our list of things to bring won’t match what you need to bring even if we are in the same country. Every family is different. Every organization is different. Every situation is different. Asking the right questions will help you get the information you need. There will always be the “I wish we’d known…” scenario but I’m finding a lot of that can be prevented by just asking the right questions to the right people.

10} Get Happy – Your adventure is about to begin. It WILL begin. Before you know it, the next step will arrive and you’ll be where you’ve been waiting to be… only to wait again for the next step. But each time you wait, your skills grow and your abilities deepen in this thing called overseas life. I look at our family wearing our African wax print, standing in front of a baobab and finishing our first term and think, “wow. wow. wow. God is awesome.” The waiting is intense but the next step will come and before you know it, you’ll be there.

Patiently Waiting - Practical tips for learning how to wait. Real life lessons and ways to overcome and learn how to wait well. Waiting patiently.

Find your fight song. Go through this list. And enjoy every step of the journey.

God is creating your very own missions story and no one else can write that for you. God has equipped you for the task. He will help you in patiently waiting.

Even in patiently waiting for the long haul.




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