Yesterday a close friend of mine was having some outpatient surgery. I decided to go be with her until her surgery was over because it was meant to be a quick procedure and she is a good friend. I met up with her and her husband around 9:00am. The surgery was supposed to take 45 minutes so accounting for all the paperwork time on the front end and recovery time to come out from under the anesthesia on the back end, I figured I’d be gone by 1:00pm at the latest. We ended up not leaving the hospital until after 6:00pm. Her husband and I sat in the waiting room for the better part of 7 hours doing nothing but sitting there waiting. Thankfully I had both my iPad and my iPhone to keep me somewhat distracted from the endless waiting but it still was no fun just sitting there waiting. (cue the theme song from Jeopardy)
What I found most interesting was how tired I got from just waiting. I pretty much did nothing that whole time but by the time it was all said and done I was exhausted. I don’t know if it was boredom or what but something about just sitting there made me tired with a capital T. As I reflected on my fatigue I thought about how God says waiting on Him would have the opposite effect. When we wait on the Lord, scripture says, our strength is renewed.
But as I am currently in a season of waiting, I find that waiting is making me more tired than energized. I am growing weary in the waiting; much like I did in the hospital waiting room yesterday. But there is a promise in this verse. A promise that if I wait He will renew my strength. The key is that HE will do the renewing as I look to Him. I can’t expect Him to do His part if I am busy trying to distract myself from the waiting. I need to be fully present in the space of waiting because it is there that His presence lies and it is there that I will find the strength I need to keep waiting well. But when I’m not getting what I want, when the promise is delayed, and it feels like it’s never going to come it is much easier to distract myself because I don’t want to deal with the disappointment I’m feeling. But I think trying to deny my pain only makes matters worse. Denial is exhausting work. It takes a lot of energy to pretend that we aren’t feeling what we are feeling. It takes a lot of energy to keep putting on a happy face. Maybe the better approach is just to sit with it; don’t run from the pain, just let it be and experience whatever comes with the pain.
I created an art journal page a couple days ago that basically told me the same thing. I created this page as a way of listening to the words my heart was trying to tell me. It was one of two pages that I made filled with #secretmessages my soul needed to hear. I share it here as a reminder that denial won’t serve me in the end. Risking to feel the pain is where the opportunity to gain new strength lies. It is counter-intuitive but that’s the thing about faith; it doesn’t always make sense to the natural mind.
The quote on the bottom says:
Don’t fear your pain. Sit with it. Give it space. Don’t put it away. If you feel like crying…cry. If you’re angry…be angry. Feel all of those emotions without trying to suppress them. On the other side of that fear lies your breakthrough.
Maybe today instead of distracting myself from the waiting, I’ll courageously sit with the pain of the disappointment and allow the Father to renew my strength for the journey.