Waiting to Wait
When I was 8, I wanted nothing more than to get my ears pierced. Every time I passed by Claire's in the mall, I couldn't help but be envious of all the little girls with their shiny cubic zirconia gems poking out from behind their pigtails. Life would be complete, I thought, if I could just punch holes through my earlobes. Unfortunately, my mother's response to my one and only wish was, "Wait until you're 12." Devastating. Twelve was four years away; at eight years old, that was half my life we were talking about. She may as well have said, "Wait until you're 30," for all I cared. Hope was lost.
My mom believed in teaching my sister and I the importance of waiting. Not waiting for a reward, but waiting to wait. Instant gratification was never in my vocabulary because I was taught at a young age that waiting was an integral part of life, even if it seemed purposeless. Sure, I could understand that I needed to be more "mature" to watch PG-13 movies or above 4'5" if I wanted to drive a car, but I couldn't understand why twelve was the magic age for ear piercing. It seemed unjust and pointless, and maybe it was, but the lesson wasn't in the end result. It was in the waiting.
The thing is, we often have a false perception that waiting means a massive reward is coming or that we will be justified in our pursuit of a goal. Sometimes, this is true, but other times, I believe we are made to wait only to be prepared for more waiting. Life is full of waiting, and waiting for one thing prepares us for another (usually longer) period of waiting.
I think it's dangerous to always assume that waiting will mean that you receive far and above what you expect. Sometimes, waiting ends in disappointment or an unexpected outcome. I believe that God often allows us to wait so that we will be able to prepare our hearts for more waiting. In reality, you spend far more of your life waiting than meeting your goals.
Meeting a goal is a fleeting moment of reward that we usually take for granted five minutes after it happens. More important than meeting the goal is learning to live a joyful life in the gap periods, the times when nothing is happening, and you feel like you're standing still when everyone else is moving forward.
Living your life waiting for the wait to end is a tunnel-vision approach to one of the only things in this life that everyone has to go through. If there's nothing to wait for, there's nothing to work for. The light at the end of the tunnel isn't there to help you block out the journey; it's there to remind you not to lose hope.