What To Do While You Wait For Something Big (Part 1)

I saw this meme the other day:

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I found it convicting.

In my twenties I found waiting impossible. It only took my husband and I four months to conceive our daughter London, but I whined all through it like this “waiting” was Job-level testing.

My daughter Eve was a few days overdue and you’d have thought somebody stole all the chocolate in the world the way I griped.

I actually wrote this in my pregnancy journal:

"Waiting for this baby is like waiting for Jesus’ return; every day she doesn’t come makes me think perhaps she might not come at all."

Christians have been waiting for the return of Christ for close to 2,000 years. Waiting for Jesus is a little bit harder than waiting two days for a baby.

Still.

All waiting is hard.

Waiting for the phone to ring.

Waiting for news.

Waiting for a car to pull in the driveway.

Waiting to finally “make it.”

Waiting for relief.

Waiting for help.

Waiting for love.

Waiting for God.

The Psalmist wrote, “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits.”

You might know what that feels like…

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I want to write about waiting. I sat down to write this post and thought through all the times I’ve waited. I messaged a friend who’s waiting right now. I read Bible verses about waiting.

I realized not all waiting is created equal.

Today, I’m going to share a story about a time I waited for something to happen when I should have been making something happen.

On Friday I’ll share a story about waiting to get married and a story from my friend Megs about waiting on an adoption.

On Monday we’ll talk about waiting for God to show up.

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About a year and a half ago I had a book proposal universally rejected. I’d spent a year writing the book and four months on the proposal.

Before that book, I’d spent probably ten years brainstorming book ideas. I had journals full of them. I kept files and collected magazine clips and highlighted copies of book pages—all of it preparing for the book I’d one day write.

I asked God to let me write. And I meant, “Let me write a book.” With my name on the cover. And a reputable publishing house’s name inside.

My favorite compliment was, “You should write a book.”

Until I wrote a book and nobody wanted to publish it.

Then I hated that compliment.

I’d waited ten years to be a writer. How much longer was this going to take?

For a while there after the flood of rejection letters, I flailed. I thought about going back to teaching. I drank a lot of Coke. And I stopped writing.

I don’t know what I was waiting for, but I was definitely waiting for something.

I decided (in the meantime) to blog. I’d blogged before. I liked the way it forced me into disciplined writing. I liked the opportunity it provided for me to take risks with style, tone, and content. I knew it would help me find my voice. And maybe I could help people, too—not many people,  but a few.

I committed myself to serious, focused blogging—two to three posts a week, every week, with a clear guiding focus (read: no pictures of my kids or random book reviews).

Soon I had a post get 3,000 views in three days.

That isn’t the most impressive number for a blogger. Probably lots of you have had posts that big.

What you might be surprised to know is that 3,000 is a very impressive number for a book-writer.

A Wall Street Journal best-selling hard cover book might sell 3,000 copies in a week.

When I realized that, that my little blog was reaching more people than my obscure book on God and Clothes ever would have, I realized this: I’m not waiting. I’m writing.

I’d been thinking all this time that a book would somehow be the magic mark, the making of my vocation. But all along I’d had the resources to do exactly what I wanted to do: write.

I opened up Tumblr this morning to post and saw this quote on my dashboard:

Don’t wait. Writers are the only artists I know of who expect to get somewhere by waiting. Everyone knows you have to dance to be a dancer, you have to sing to be a singer, you have to act to be an actor, but far too many people seem to believe that you don’t have to write to be a writer. So, instead of writing, they wait. Isaac Asimov said it beautifully in just six words: “It’s the writing that teaches you.” Writing is what teaches you. Writing is what leads to “inspiration.” Writing is what generates ideas. Nothing else-and nothing less. Don’t meditate, don’t do yoga, don’t do drugs. Just write.

—  DANIEL QUINN (via booksandpublishing)


Yeah…

In the last year I’ve written 121 posts. I wrote my own resource on modesty and published it myself. I created a workshop for blog readers. I’m planning an app.

And I’m doing it because I realized sometimes we’re waiting when we should be working.

Do you have resources? Use them.

Do you have talents? Put them to work.

Stop waiting for that something big to come along and change your life forever.

God said to the Apostle Paul, “What are you waiting for? Get up.” 

Is it possible He’s saying it to you, too?