If you’ve ever had experience in a waiting room, you know it’s not fun. You just have to sit in anticipation of what’s to come, no end in sight. There are things you can use to distract yourself—your phone or one of the years-old magazines they provide—but none of them seem to stop you from planning for what’ll happen when the wait’s over. 

The thing is, this feeling doesn’t just come when we’re anticipating bad experiences (sorry, dentists); we also feel this way when we’re waiting on really good things, like a job, relationship, a house, etc. And in the anticipation, we get frustrated, disappointed, and bored because we can’t find a way to stop ourselves from looking to the future and asking, “How much longer is it gonna take???”

We want to be content in where God has us right now, but it feels impossible when the things we’re looking forward to seem so much more exciting than our current situation. We begin to get resentful of our discontentment, but, at the same time, we’re also resentful of God for not providing what we think we need.

The biggest struggle can be knowing how to remain content when God has given us so many amazing things to look forward to. The thing is, waiting will probably never be our favorite thing. But, we can take some steps to appreciate it more and provide purpose in the anticipation.

Here are some ideas to help you make the best of the waiting:


📝Look Back at God’s Faithfulness (Deuteronomy 8:2)

Try writing down a list of times when God was faithful to you. This can be waiting-specific or just ways you’ve seen him work in general. Taking note of these moments helps us remember that he’s a good God who keeps his promises. We see Moses remind the people of Israel to look back in Deuteronomy 8. They’d been rescued from Egypt and were preparing to enter a new land. As they waited for this promise to come true, Moses challenged the people to remember what God had done in the past, and that it was he who brought them to this new land of promise: “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments.”  

📚Prep for What’s Next (Matthew 4:1)

If you have an idea where you want to go, but you know you have a while until you get there, why not get ready for it now? Even Jesus entered a time of preparation before his ministry started. He went into the wilderness and fasted for a long time. When he was hungry? The enemy showed up and tried to get him to abandon his calling, forget who he was, and worship Satan instead. It was this time of preparation that set Jesus up to endure all that he endured for our sake and the sake of the world. If Jesus needed prep time, it’s not a bad thing for us either. 


🎨See the Opportunities Around You  (Philippians 1:12-14)

When we become too focused on what we want, we forget the joy of what we can do now. When Paul was in prison, he took the time to write a letter to the Philippians to encourage them. In this letter, he writes, “I want you to know, beloved, that what has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel…” Paul saw the opportunities around him, even when his context was a prison cell. What opportunities surround you right now? It could be space to share the good news, or space to try a hobby you’ve always wanted to try.  You could also use this time to check something off your bucket list. Maybe try reading a book you’ve been meaning to get to, painting, or something that pushes your boundaries even more, like sky-diving or training to run a marathon.


😞Be Honest with God (Psalm 88)

When we feel like God is withholding something from us, it can feel wrong to express our disappointment in his will. But he wants us to talk to him about all of our feelings, even the negative ones. The authors of the Psalms demonstrate what it looks like to be completely honest with God. The book is filled with raw emotions and cries to God. Specifically, in chapter 88, the author says, “But I cry to you for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you. Why, Lord, do you reject me and hide your face from me?” This Psalm shows what it looks like to be honest about our frustration with God. Even though it might seem harsh, he wants to hear about those feelings. Try telling God about your struggles as you endure the waiting. When we let go of our pent-up emotions and disappointments, we can be more open to God and his purpose for this season.


🌳Step Away from Your Circumstances (Luke 5:16)

In Jesus’s time on earth, even he saw the importance of removing himself from his circumstances to focus on his Father. Luke 5 talks about how, while crowds of people came to him asking to be healed, he still took a step away to spend time alone with God. And if Jesus needed this, we definitely do too. So, when you’re feeling overwhelmed by your disappointment over your circumstances, try spending some time in silence and solitude in nature. God’s goodness and beauty are sometimes more obvious and tangible in his Creation. So, go for a walk. Sit outside and just look at what’s around you. Try your best to focus on the things you see, hear, smell, touch, and taste instead of what you’re waiting on.