Why God sometimes invites us to wait

Before I graduated college, I waited and wondered what God would call me to do once I had my degrees. In his time, I said “yes” to a year of service with Franciscan Mission Service and became engaged to my fiancé. Now that I’m in the middle of my year of service and looking forward to married life, I’m excited to know what God will call me to do in the next season of life.

All of this is to say that I feel like I’m always waiting for something. I quickly understood that waiting will always be part of my life, so what I do while I wait matters. During my time in waiting, I could easily do nothing. I could grow frustrated, give into despair or wish away the time. I could demand that I have my perfect life immediately, or I could approach my season of waiting with patience and grace.

In “Mere Christianity,” C.S. Lewis writes, “I am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless he sees that it is good for him to wait.” We often hear about “trusting in the Lord’s timing,” but do we allow ourselves to do this? God doesn’t hold out on us or keep good things away from us for fun. If we believe that he has good and beautiful plans for our lives, then we should believe that he’ll unfold those plans when the time is right. So what should we do while we wait? These are a few things that I have done in the past and that I’m currently doing as I wait for God to unfold his plan for me, and hopefully you’ll find them helpful too.

1. Surrender

Discern what God’s will is for you instead of holding on to what you want for yourself. Sometimes we get so caught up in how we want our lives to look that we forget to ask God what he wants. I’ve been guilty of white-knuckling my own will when I should have offered it up to him. In the midst of my senior year of college, I prayed consistently for God to increase my trust in him. He answered this prayer in a myriad of ways by teaching me lessons and helping me grow. In the end, I understood how to surrender my plans so that I could say “yes” to his plans.

2. Show up

Pray and receive the sacraments often. These are the ways that we talk to and spend time with God. When we pray and receive the sacraments, we open our hearts so that we can hear his voice and understand what he wants us to do. When we show up to pray and when we go to Mass or confession, we say yes to God in little ways. The little yeses we make add up, and when we’re apt to saying yes to God in little ways, we’ll be able to say yes to him in big ways.

3. Be a self gift

Find ways to serve. While you wait, find ways to give of your time, talent and treasure. We can often grow in our love for God by loving our brothers and sisters in Christ. This can be especially helpful if you’re waiting for your “big V” vocation. At the heart of every vocation is love, so when we serve and love sacrificially, we’ll likely find how God is calling us to love.

Our seasons of waiting are meant to form us. If we let him, God will use this time to mold us into better versions of ourselves. This way, we’ll be ready to step into the next chapter of our lives and receive what we’ve been waiting for. With his help, we can take our seasons of waiting to become holier and grow closer to him.

I love to think of God as a gardener who tends to us as his precious flowers. A flower doesn’t bloom as soon as it’s planted. It needs to be nurtured with water, sunlight and fertile soil so that it can take root and grow. Before we can bloom in our lives, we need to take root in God. Because of this, we shouldn’t rush through the times when seemingly nothing is happening. The times when we grow and prepare for what’s about to happen are precious, and they’ll be more fruitful when we embrace them with grace and lean on the Lord.

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