Patience is not my superpower. I’ve spent the better part of my adulthood working in project management. I define what result we want, set a deadline, and create a plan to get there. I track progress against that plan daily, weekly, monthly to ensure we hit the target on time, within budget, and meeting all expectations. There’s very little allowance for patience or waiting in this process.
I’ve approached my own life this way. It worked with wedding planning. We set a date and then I created a plan to get there. It didn’t work so well with starting a family, though. We decided when we wanted to have kids, but learned the hard way you can’t project manage that process. Infertility sidelined our plans and left us waiting… not so patiently. We had to instead put our plans and timelines in the hands of doctors and God.
Waiting on God’s Timing is Hard, But the Wait Has a Purpose
To say it’s hard for me to be patient while waiting on God’s timing is an understatement! I get impatient. I try to make my own way to accelerate the process. I question if I’m even waiting on the right thing or need to change course. I even sometimes vent my frustrations to God.
I’m learning better ways to be patient in the wait, though. I’m learning to find the purpose in the wait. I’m learning to stop making my own way and trust in God’s plans.
Waiting on God’s Timing Requires Patience and Faith
I’m currently in a long season of waiting. God’s calling me to something new, but he hasn’t given me a map, a plan, or a timeline. I haven’t been able to define the end results, the timeline, or steps to get there. Instead, I’ve had to patiently wait for God to reveal each next step. And when the steps haven’t appeared, I’ve had to take steps forward in faith.
When I first entered this season, I started making plans. I set a timeline, defined next steps, and started working the plan. When the endpoint wouldn’t come into focus, I realized this approach wasn’t going to work. I needed a new way to wait for God’s timing. Instead of a plan, I needed patience and faith to trust God through this process.
How to Be Patient While Waiting on God’s Timing
1) Pray. A Lot.
The number one way to find more patience in the wait is to pray. Pray and then pray some more. Go to God in prayer first and let prayer be your rock and your guide.
Pray for patience and fortitude through the waiting season. Pray for God to reveal the next step or the next season. Pray for your heart to be open to the work God’s doing through this current season. Pray for transformation and renewal.
It’s not easy to go to prayer first when you’re frustrated in the wait, but as you develop this habit (and utter dependence) of prayer, you’ll find the waiting becomes easier.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)
2) Read Your Bible
Stay in scripture, especially in seasons of waiting. Often what feels like waiting is really a season of preparation. It may be that our heart needs some work or it may be that God is moving in other areas to prepare the way.
Staying in scripture keeps you grounded in God’s plans and promises. When you’re in that season of waiting, daily reminders of God’s faithfulness will sustain you. Reading about God’s power and plans will fill your heart with hope. Studying others who endured seasons of waiting reminds you that you’re not alone in this struggle.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4 NIV)
3) Surrender to the Process
Change is a process and can take time. When God is working a change in your life or carrying you through a particular challenge, it may take time to fully work through the process.
Stop fighting the process and surrender to God’s work in your heart. Submit to God’s timeline and process. Let go of your attempts to control and plan your way out and allow God to lead.
Entrust your ways to the Lord.
Trust him, and he will act on your behalf.
He will make your righteousness shine like a light,
your just cause like the noonday sun.
Surrender yourself to the Lord, and wait patiently for him.
Do not be preoccupied with an evildoer who succeeds in his way
when he carries out his schemes.
Let go of anger, and leave rage behind.
Do not be preoccupied.
It only leads to evil.
(Psalm 37:5-8 GOD’S WORD Translation)
4) Consider the Lessons in the Wait
Is there a purpose in your waiting? Do you have some work to do to prepare for the next season? Is God working on your heart?
Consider the lessons and submit to God’s work in your life. If you need to deal with a sin, confess and turn away from old ways. If you need to forgive, do the hard work to let go and forgive. If you need to rid your heart of some stubborn habits or beliefs, dig deep and allow God to do his work.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5 ESV)
5) Focus on the Blessings
Above all, try to find joy and blessing where you are. Instead of focusing on where you’re going, look around you and find the blessings that already surround you. Even if your season is dark and stormy, be especially vigilant about looking for blessings.
Where can you be a blessing to others in this season? Who has God placed you near that you can bless? Who can you pray for and encourage?
In all things, be full of praise and thanksgivings – even while waiting, even through the storm, even when you’re frustrated?
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8 NLT)
How Will You Find Patience While Waiting on God’s Timing?
Are you in a season of waiting on God to move? A season you don’t want to be in and anxious to move on to something better? A season of darkness and struggle and you’re wondering when the burdens will lift?
Hold onto hope! Have patience and lean into God more than ever in this season. Trust that there are blessings even in this season. Be thankful for God’s faithfulness and use this time to prepare your heart for where God is leading you next.
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