I’ve been hearing these words a lot lately. “Wait your turn…”
It’s graduation season, beach body season, and baby season apparently. All things I happen to be struggling with at the moment. With all the daily reminders on Facebook of people’s pictures of new born babies, perfect beach ready bodies, and shiny new diplomas with their big kid job acceptances waiting in the wings feel like little bullets poking holes in my resolve to stay positive. So hearing, “wait your turn,” has been quite infuriating.
I’m not a jealous person, it’s not envy that’s eating me up inside and making me focus on all of the things others have that I don’t. The reality of it is, my own expectations of how my life should go, should have gone up until this point, are weakening me and my resolve. These expectations are coloring the way I pray, the way I read my Bible, the way I speak to people. Comparison is stealing my joy, and these expectations are just another way the enemy is trying to pry his way into my life.
But it’s not just my friends and family and my own mind saying, “wait your turn,” it’s Jesus. Every time my heart squeezes inside my chest while holding someone’s newborn baby, every time I think of our precious baby in Heaven instead of in my arms, God whispers, “wait your turn.” He says it oh so gently, more of a promise than an admonition. As hard as it is for me to hear the words, they happen to be what I need most at the moment.
Tonight I drove home from the hospital after meeting my newborn nephew, his perfect little face and hands teasing me and making me fall in love all at once, and I cried. Waves of grief and joy fought their battle while I kept my eyes fixed on the road trying not to fall apart. And God whispered, lovingly to my aching heart, “it’ll be okay my dear, just wait your turn.”
A few days ago I sat in a restaurant with a friend the night before the final we were supposed to be studying, instead I spilled about how frustrating it was to see everyone accept their new adult jobs, nursing, advertising, teaching, business, you name it. Meanwhile I’ve changed my focus three times and taken a two year break from my academics, two years that felt like an eternity. She listened, smiled, and said, “it’s okay, you’re not alone, it’ll be your turn soon.” Ha. She’s sweet, she’s right, but it hurt. Boy did it hurt. But again, on my drive home God spoke to me again, “daughter of mine, I have a plan for you, a plan for your good, I won’t shortchange you. And I won’t give you something you’re not ready for. Wait your turn.”
Just because these words come from God doesn’t mean their easy to hear. After all, I am a middle child, competitive by nature, prone to raising the bar for myself impossibly high. So hearing, “wait your turn,” is not easy, even if I know it’s necessary. But I also know the remedy. God doesn’t play with our feelings and make us wait for no reason. Maybe what I need, actually, what I definitely need, is to take a pause and look around me. The remedy is after all, gratefulness. A thankful heart has no room for frustration, a thankful heart is extremely hard for the enemy to penetrate, a thankful heart is the cure for expectations that have been put on hold.
I may be struggling with these things, I certainly can’t deny that comparison gets to me, but I am not weak and I have much to be thankful for. A beautiful toddler, the product of those two years away from my education. A wonderful marriage 2 and a half years in the making and growing more loving every day. And I am in school, working harder than ever to achieve my goals, with a new appreciation for all the sacrifices it’s taken to get to this point.
These are all things that God has blessed me with, all things that He is telling me to appreciate in the here and now. These things, these blessings, are the best way to fight back against my expectations, and the enemy’s schemes. So I can congratulate my dearest friends on their achievements, and hold my beautiful nephew while he sleeps, and not feel conflicted by the war of emotions in my heart. Instead, with God’s help, I can wait my turn, and be grateful.
Photo Credit: http://joyandeva.com