Are Good Things Really Worth Waiting For?
I’ve spent a lot of my life waiting for things I wanted, but was too afraid to pursue. One of the main reasons I was afraid to pursue it was because I had learned in church that if God really wants you to have something, he will bring it to you.
It’s totally contrary to the teachings of Jesus, who very often emphasized going out and getting things done, but it was still a deep-seated thing in my mind that caused me to make decisions that damaged my life.
Don’t Be Naive & Call If Faith
I gave away around $1500 last year to people I didn’t know. It sounds noble, and made me feel noble for a brief period of about a week… until I looked at my bank account and realized, “Oh shit. How am I going to pay rent or buy food now?”
One of the things that compelled me to give that money away was believing that God would replace it if I was ever in deep need. So I thought, “Big whoop! I have the money to help this person. If I ever need help, Jesus will help me. He told me not to worry about these things!”
So I would give my money away, then I would wait.
Then things would get worse.
Then I would wait some more.
Then things would get even worse.
Eventually, when I was months behind on my rent and barely able to eat, I realized that money wasn’t going to fall out of the sky.
Whether it’s because God wasn’t going to help me or because I misinterpreted the “do not worry” thing to mean, “Make idiot decisions with your money” isn’t the issue we will get into today. I only want to encourage you to quit waiting for things that are waiting for you to take them. (And perhaps that’s the lesson Mr. Divinity was trying to teach me.)
Waiting Can Kill You
It’s nice because you can cope with indecisiveness by continuing to feel like you’re fulfilling your religious obligations. It’s not nice because it doesn’t bear any of the results you’re waiting for.
It’s why after 40 years, there are certain sects of Christians still gathering in stadiums with repackaged themes and gimmicks, “waiting for revival” (for God to magically make everybody a Christian). It helps you feel good about not going out into your city and “being the change you wish to see” by shifting the responsibility onto somebody else. In this case, “it’s God’s job to bring that change! It’s my job to keep pestering him until he finally does!”
It’s inactivity disguised as commitment to a greater cause (a deity in this case), which makes us feel better about making no advancements for that cause. “It’s the thought that counts,” right?
“Daniel, if you’re out of money, go get a job.”
I can’t. I’m waiting on God to provide.
That was my mindset. It cost me my job, my car, and almost cost me my home.
I’m Not Against Waiting
To a poor person money might seem like the “best thing,” but guess what happens if they sit and wait for money?
They remain poor. “Good things come to those who wait” doesn’t apply to them.
The best things are certainly worth being patient for, but it is a patient pursuit. There is action in the waiting, not apathy.
I learned this the hard way… many times.
How To Grow A Garden
Do you know why Jesus used the illustration of trees, seeds and gardening so much? Because the principles of gardening apply to every aspect of life. Really. Spend some time thinking about things in your life like you would if you wanted to grow a garden and it’s amazing how clear those things can become.
Let’s say I want to grow a garden. What happens if I go sit on my porch for an hour every day and stare at the dirt?
Nothing, right? Why not? I want a garden, and I’ve committed to waiting, so what’s the deal?
The deal is this: that isn’t how life works.
If I want a garden, I don’t sit on my porch. I kneel down in the dirt, plant the seeds, water them every day, and then remain patient with the process of growth.
Once the seeds germinate, I can then spend the next several months waiting on my porch for my garden to grow…
Oh wait! That’s bad advice, too!
No. When the seed begins to grow, there is a period of waiting, but it is still an active wait as I continue to guide the plants towards the result I hope for.
Even after the plants are fully grown, I continue to tend to them, prune leaves and branches (get rid of the dead stuff), and keep them healthy.
What the church taught me (and perhaps it was by accident) was spiritualized inactivity. If you need something, don’t go get it. Ask God, then sit and wait. Have faith that God will drop it in your lap. And if you don’t receive it, it’s because he didn’t really want you to have it!
Bollocks. Compare that with John 4:35.
It’s Raining Cats & Wives
The person who asked the original question (“Are the best things in life worth waiting for?”) asked it in the context of love, wanting to know if they should wait for love.
If I merely wait for a pretty girl to land in my lap, guess what happens? I end up a 30-year-old virgin eating pizza and playing tag with his cat at 4am in his underwear… be right back… (sobs quietly in the corner)
If I want a pretty girl, I have to be willing to pursue a girl I like, cultivate a relationship with her, and wait patiently for the relationship to go through the growth process. I am free to guide things where I would like them to go, but I also must avoid forcing them to go somewhere they don’t want to go naturally.
Don’t Drown Your Hope
There is action required in waiting, but it is thoughtful action. If I’m impatient with the growth process and I try to rush the result I want, then much like what would happen if I get too eager to grow a garden over night, I kill everything I’m waiting for, drowning it with my good intentions. I sabotage that thing I had my hope set on, which of course, makes the heart sick.
Back when I was in the business of stroking my ego with awesome Christian one-liners, I came up the following:
“He said ‘as you go,’ not ‘as you wait.'”
(God, I was so cool! I should write a book.)
Jesus was a very action-oriented person. He never talked about “waiting.” He and other New Testament writers condemned idleness and inactivity. He talked about going out and getting shit done (to paraphrase).
Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.
What’s the point? “Quit waiting for the thing you’ve had your hope set on. It’s right there in front of you, go and get it!
What do you want to grow? And what does it look like to water that seed?