When Jan finally persuaded me that we could raise chickens, I plunged right in building the best henhouse I knew how. I gave it more size, comfort, and options than any chicken needs. The way I figured, happy chickens would mean more eggs. Jan said we could expect to see eggs in about 16 weeks. I was confident that my extra effort would have our hens cranking them out in 12-14 weeks, tops.
But as we approached 19 weeks, the only egg we experienced was a big goose egg. Nothing. Zilch. Nada.
I cleaned the coop, adjusted their lighting, added fresh straw to their nesting boxes, changed their feed, and let them free range longer each day. Still no results. A couple of times I found myself loitering at the chicken coop, as if staring at them could intimidate them into laying. "A watched pot never boils" ran through my head. I was half tempted to stick them in a boiling pot.
Today, on day one of their 19th week, we got our breakthrough! It's only one egg, but hopefully it's a start of grander, more glorious omelets to come.
Have you been waiting for results? To sign the deal? Strike oil? Pass the exam? Conceive? Go into labor? Receive the check? Get the lab results? Get a proposal? Get some answers? Waiting is HARD, isn't it?
I'm in the process of learning how to wait for more things than eggs. As a writer who submits manuscripts for my livelihood, it sometimes feels like waiting is at the top of my job description list. I. DON'T. LIKE. IT. Wait for a reply from the agent...wait for a reply from the editor...wait for the decision of the committee...wait for the contract...wait for the check...AAAUGHH!!! As weeks turn into months, I can find myself stressing, pressing, and obsessing. But there are other options. Here are 4 things I'm learning to practice while I W.A.I.T.
- WORK: I must always attack the next project. Remain productive. People who are busy canning today's beans don't have time to whine about yesterday's peas. I must always look to the fresh tasks of today, disciplining myself to look forward and pour my whole effort into my next undertaking (Colossians 3:23). It's harder to get to the next destination if we're always looking in the rearview mirror.
- ASK: We all know the importance of follow-up when it comes to business. One call rarely does the job; it must be followed by more calls. I understand that "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" in the natural world, but sometimes I forget to apply that to God. For some reason, He wants me to. I tend to pray about my situation once, maybe twice, and after that assume that it must not have been what He wanted. But Jesus told a story about a persistent widow that shows we "should always pray and not give up" (Luke 18:1-8). I'm learning that it's okay to keep asking until the final answer is clear.
- IMPROVE: Waiting often provides the opportunity to polish up on my skills. A few months ago, I submitted to my agent a proposal for a book series I thought would catch a publisher's eye. While waiting for a response, I happened to pull out another series of unpublished short stories I wrote many years earlier that had never garnered any interest. As I re-read these old manuscripts, I could still see their potential, but I also realized why they never went anywhere. After revising and tweaking for several days, I submitted them in a proposal to my agent just for grins. When I finally got a response of serious interest from a publisher, it wasn't for the series I had expected, but for the old stories I dusted off and reworked. The waiting period gave me time to get a fresh set of eyes and make much needed improvements.
- TRUST: God told the Israelites at the end of their road, "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." That was right before He plowed a highway right through the sea. I find it especially difficult to trust Him in areas I think I can handle myself (although I know I really should because I know I really can't). Maybe the first step toward trusting God more starts with AT LEAST letting go of things that I know I have absolutely no control over. When my worrying does absolutely no good, and the Bible gives me countless examples of how and why I should trust the Lord, then trusting God and His promises is, clearly, the most productive thing I can do.
What are you waiting for that seems to be taking too long? Do you have any "waiting" insights, encouragements, or experiences that might help someone else? I would love to hear them!