“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:15-16
David and I have shared just one car our whole marriage. (Yeah, I know, most people think we’re crazy.) Through the years this has caused a lot of waiting…for whomever doesn’t have the car. We learned long ago we would waste a lot of time if we didn’t plan ahead and find ways to fill the minutes while they passed. We’d end up growing impatient, sometimes to the point of getting irritated and angry. And when we finally got picked up, all that pent-up frustration would make for a very heated (or cold) ride home.
Knowing this wasn’t good for our marriage, we looked for solutions to help us use those moments well and to our advantage. And what we found has made a huge difference. It’s allowed us to get in the car with a smile and a good attitude. And it’s helped us to turn all unavoidable waiting times into opportunities for blessing.
David talked about waiting from God’s perspective in his Couple’s Bible Study post “Time & Marriage: Part 6 – How to Wait Well.” In it he shared how our attitude and perspective can make all the difference in whether we allow waiting to bless us or break us down.
I don’t think any of us particularly like waiting. But it doesn’t have to ruin our day. Learning how to get things done in the midst of a delay can turn seeming wasted moments into blessings of productivity. And, as a bonus, when we use our waiting time as an opportunity, it keeps us from becoming a frustrated mess.
There’s all kinds of waiting. Waiting in line. Waiting for answers. Waiting in traffic. Waiting your turn. Waiting for news.
I suppose we’re all very experienced when it comes to waiting. But being a successful wait-er comes from learning how to get things done in those moments when time seems to stand still. Doing so allows us to meet the other side of waiting better than before. And isn’t that what we all desire?
No matter what kind of waiting you have to do, having some ideas for productive ways to fill the time can make the difference between wasted and worthwhile. It’s all in how you look at it and what you choose to do.
So with this in mind, here is a list of things you can do the next time you end up waiting that will not only bless you, but others, too. (Choose wisely according to your specific waiting situation.)
Ideas for Making the Most of Your Time While You Wait
♦ Read. Try to always have something to read with you–book, magazine, emails, even work documents. Choose what to read based on what you would like to accomplish–relax, be productive, gather information.
♦ Have a conversation. If others are waiting around you and the opportunity arises, start a conversation. It can be a great way to pass the time and make the wait more enjoyable for both (all) of you.
♦ Look for the opportunity to help someone. Take notice of the people around you. God might have you waiting at that moment just so you are available to help.
♦ Encourage someone. We can all use encouragement when we are waiting. And what better way to be encouraged than to encourage someone else?
♦ Call, text, or write someone you’ve been meaning to contact. We’re on our phones so much, you might think this is obvious. But who is someone you keep thinking you should get in touch with and haven’t? This is a great opportunity to do so.
♦ Plan. Go over your schedule for the rest of the day, the week, or the month. Make a list of things you’d like to accomplish, either work-related or just for fun–like a bucket list. There’s really no end to the kinds of planning you could do.
♦ Create something. Write, draw, make music, take photos. (One time while waiting for my daughter to get off work I composed a ring tone on my cell phone. It was fun and rewarding.)
♦ Play a game. On your phone. Maybe a pocket size book of Sudoku or crossword puzzles. Or, hey, make up your own game. It’s always good to put your brain to work.
♦ Clean. There’s always stuff you can clean. When was the last time you cleaned out your purse or wallet? The inside of your car? Your cabinets or closets? The dishes? The files on your computer?
♦ Relax. Sometimes this is the best thing we can do, expecially during a stressful time. Take some deep, purposeful breaths. Stretch your tired muscles. Close your eyes and just be quiet for a bit. (Of course, don’t do the last one if you’re stuck in traffic.) You can even–if the situation allows–take a nap.
♦ Memorize Scripture. (This is one of my favorites.) Do you have memory verses you are working on? Keep your latest verse handy to go over. And keep a list of verses you’ve already memorized to review.
♦ Be observant. Waiting seems to take forever because it slows us way down. But what a great opportunity to stop and smell the roses. Really look at the world around you. What do you notice? What have you been missing? Relish in the beauty of God’s creation.
♦ Count your blessings. Think about all the things you are thankful for and give thanks to God.
♦ PRAY. (I personally think this is the BEST way to spend time waiting.) Pray for the details of why you’re waiting and for the people involved in the situation. Pray for the people waiting in line around you and the workers who are trying to help you. Pray for the other drivers on the road, the other people in the waiting room. Pray for your own attitude and for God to reveal what you need to see. Pray for those you know in need. Pray for whatever the Lord brings to your mind. Give thanks and praise the Lord. This puts us in the best possible position to be a blessing and use our waiting for good.
I wish I could say we always do this well. We don’t. I still have those days that I stew when I have to wait. But I’m working on it. And so is David. Hopefully, the more we practice it, the better we will become at waiting well.
We must always remember that God’s timing is perfect. If it’s in His plan for us to wait, He will use it for our good…if we don’t get in His way.
Contrary to popular belief, the time we spend waiting can be the best part of our day! It’s all in how we choose to use it.
Do you have any other suggestions for what we can do while we wait? We’d love to hear about it. Please share with us in the comments.
Grace and peace,
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