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What to do when you are left waiting...

by Dr. Elizabeth Langer

As a culture addicted to constant stimulation, any type of action feels good. Even if the result is unfavorable, taking action seems better than waiting. Because when you are waiting, you are trapped in a sort of limbo with no guarantee that you will receive your desired outcome.

This hatred of waiting can manifest in many ways. Take traffic, for example. When you are stuck in traffic, this can create a lot of stress, because you are anxious to get to your destination. You can't control the traffic... unless you are the yutz who is causing the jam! But if you've read this far, I don't think you are a yutz, so let's focus on what you can control... your attitude. You can either get upset because you are stuck or you can use that time productively. Meditate, talk to your kids, or listen to your music.

Your patience is also tested when you are waiting on money. Entrepreneurs go through periods where they have to wait for clients to either sign up or to pay. Employees sometimes have to wait from paycheck to paycheck. Trust me, I understand that when money is tight, it can send everything else in your life into a tailspin. So what can you control? If you don't have kids - or are fortunate to have family who will babysit - this is the time to take action! Get a second job! It doesn't have to be grueling labor, in fact it could in fact be fun! Another way you could make the waiting period better is to look into some means of passive income. If you have kids (or no free sitter), you really need to work on your inner calm and patience because the stress of being in limbo can turn you into psycho-mom (or dad). It's not easy, especially when you have no food and no money.

Let's shift your focus to your health. Are you sick and waiting for the doctor to call? For your test results? All that anxiety isn't going to push the results in your favor. It's only going to make you upset. Or are you wanting to lose weight, but are in too much pain to exercise? Are you are waiting for the pain to subside so you can start burning some calories? Can you try to love yourself and bless the fact that you have an abundance of food? And can you start to reduce certain things in your diet (i.e. processed foods) that could contribute to your inflammation? Maybe you know of a good acupuncturist who could help?

Or maybe you are trying to conceive? Whether you are waiting for the test results or are waiting to see if you got your period, how do you stay in faith while you are waiting for your miracle? When everything seems beyond your control, finding patience and peace can seem impossible.

No matter what the circumstance, patience isn't something that comes easily. Not only is it a skill, but it is also a fruit of the Spirit. So attaining patience doesn't mean working harder. It means letting go. As you exhale the tension and frustration, patience will naturally come in when you rebound and inhale. You just have to ask for it.