As a teacher, I completely understand the value of “wait time.” For those not in the world of education, “wait time” happens when you ask a question, and then sit in silence awaiting the student’s response. Many times, teachers know the answers and do not want to put students on the spot unnecessarily. We fear the students do not know the answer so we begin to coach them through. We interrupt their thought processes. Therefore, we sit in trainings where leaders remind us to wait. It will seem like an eternity, but every second we wait gives the student the opportunity to work through the scenario and formulate the best response.
Today, I have changed the scenario a bit. I am still the one waiting, but the One who has the answer is not a student. Anyone who has set foot in a church for any amount of time has undoubtedly heard to trust in God’s timing. Yet, many lose much faith in this waiting period. Even those who are not church goers have heard some version of the following statements.
“All great achievements require time.” – Maya Angelou
“If you work hard, give it time, and don’t give up, things will always get better.” – Alex W. Miller
For the past month or so, I have been waiting for direction. Where do I go next? What is my next plan of action? I was so obedient. I did everything God asked me to do. Now what? What mountains do you need me to move?
These questions are followed by monumental silence.
In the silence, I am reminded that, “time waits for no one.” And, “there is nothing more precious than time.” As such, I stuck in the middle of not knowing what to do next and not wanting to waste time…
So I prayed more followed by, of course, more silence.
Then I heard a voice ask me, “What is it that you have always wanted to do, but you have never had the time?”
I immediately begin to answer.
- Keep in touch with old friends
- Read to my children
- Keep my house clean
- Use my creativity at home
- Family activities
- Devotions with my husband
- Unrushed lesson planning
- Better budgeting
- Give all of this “extra” away
- Swim lessons for the children…
And He interrupted as usual. And His response was simple and profound as usual.
“Do those things.”
And I was confused. You uprooted me from my workplace, my church, and my ministry. I took all of the grand leaps of faith simply because you asked. And now in my mountain moving moments, you want me “do those things”? What in the world do “those things” have to do with moving mountains? I am ready for grand gestures of faith, life-changing testimonies…
And He smiled, and He spoke again, “Do those things you have always wanted to do.”
And He went silent.
And I began investing in my wait time. I found free swimming lessons for my children, and, coincidentally (if you believe in coincidences), registration was open on the day I called. (Registration was open for three days total.) I Pinterested (quite sure Pinterest should be a verb) all kinds of summer activities for my children. I picked up a calendar of summer library activities. I set up dates and times to volunteer with a friend who could use a hand with her business. I set up dates and times to coach hurdles. I cleaned my house. I began to live my life on my own terms.
As I continue to learn to live life as God intended life to be lived, I will share what I learned thus far.
1.) Time is one of life’s greatest gifts. I have spent a majority of the past four years of my life involved with what needed to be done. Lessons that must be planned. Ministry activities that could not wait. Children that must be raised. All the time in the world, but every second of it assigned to some specific purpose. When life gives you time off, take it. Take it, and do what you love. Do all “those things” you have always wanted to do.
2.) Investing in wait time is inexpensive. Swimming lessons are free. Volunteering is free. I spent $3 on a box of markers that both my daughter and my son use to decorate a box from the garage. I spent $5 on water guns that my husband and my son use to free his toys from ice. One of my largest purchases was an $8 wading pool that my son and daughter largely ignore. We spend instead a huge portion of our time outside hitting around the $1 beach ball. $3 of play dough work great for learning to subtract, as do the $2 dice for adding. Braden was probably most excited about using his minis located all around the house for free sight word and math words activities. Our greatest treasures in life do not cost much.
3.) You cannot predict nor prepare for the moments that will shape your life forever. By the time my students reach me, few will really use the math I teach them especially in the manner presented. Should I then say, learn it and throw it away? Absolutely not. I wholeheartedly believe that everything one learns can be applied in other areas. Sometimes it looks exactly the way you practiced. Other times it looks entirely different. One, however, can never really be sure what you will need and what you will not need. 5 years ago the skills I learned in business school were much more practical than the quadratic formula I learned in high school. Now, the roles have reversed. Whenever you are in prayer, then wherever you are is exactly where you are supposed to be. Take it all in. Soak it all up.
One day, you will use all of the moments, the lessons, the treasures….all of your ordinary life…to do the extraordinary. One day you will use “those things” to move mountains.