White walls and a ticking clock. The paper beneath me crinkles as I reposition myself for what seems like the hundredth time as I sit on the patient table. I can hear the heels clicking and shoes squeaking in the hallway outside of the patient room we reside in.
I glance at my watch. Only 10 minutes has passed since I looked last time, yet it feels like an eternity. This can be so hard sometimes. So many anticipated results leading down an immeasurable number of possible paths. And someone out there already knows which one it will be. Breathe, Nicole. Breathe…
“Psssst,” I hear jokingly whispered across the room to me. I turn my head. There he is. That smile. He had to have been watching me spiral back into my thoughts again. I am so often going back and forth from moments of peace and trust to being fidgety to having the word “anxious” stamped across my forehead.
The latest shuffling of feet outside has grown loud and then stopped suddenly. And this person has stopped right outside our door. The handle twists and the door opens. My heart is racing again. I am moments away from finding out if I have cancer or not…
The act of waiting is defined as the action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens. And it has the potential of bringing so many emotions to the surface. Anxiety, nerves, stress, eagerness, agitation, desire, hopefulness or hopelessness, impatience, enthusiasm, or discomfort to name a few. I am pretty sure I felt each one of those emotions while sitting there waiting for my scan results.
Waiting isn’t just challenging in those moments though, but in every day life. And we do everything we can to minimize it or avoid it. The ease and convenience offered through fast-food restaurants, Amazon, and Google Search make us happy to have access to quick service. But even then, sometimes there’s a line, an item isn’t “prime eligible,” or there isn’t any internet service. And we are reminded yet once again that waiting is part of our every day lives.
I think that’s why the Bible comments so much about patience, contentment, and how to cope with anxiety. Whether you’re stuck in traffic when you’re trying to get somewhere, pregnant and looking forward to meeting your baby, nearing the vacation you’ve been planning for a year, or, like I was, waiting for results for scans, “waiting” is inescapable. And how we handle waiting effects our peace, attitude, relationships, and can even affect our physical health.
I truly want to experience the full and abundant life that we have been given (John 10:10), so I took time to search for truths to commit to memory when I find myself anxious or struggling with waiting:
- God loves me (John 3:16)
- The Fruit of the Spirit reminds me of how I am called to live life, including times of waiting (Galatians 5:22-23)
- God has a plan for my life, for good, no matter what my circumstances are (Romans 8:28)
- God offers peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7)
- Each moment I am alive is a gift, and all that I have, so I want to make the most of what I have right now right in front of me (James 1:17)
- Worrying does not add a single hour to my life (Luke 12:25)
- There is a time for all seasons (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
- God is preparing me in the waiting (1 Peter 1:13)
- God’s timing is always perfect, because He, Himself, is perfect (Psalm 18:30)
When my Oncologist walked in, he shared that my scans showed that I am still cancer free! I am so thankful and excited. At the same time, I want to grow from that experience so I don’t wear myself out in the waiting.
Every 3 months I receive scans that will tell me if my cancer has returned or not. Through counseling, that I did as part of my survivorship plan, I learned that God has more for me than to simply live my life in fearful 3-month intervals of waiting; like a ticking time bomb counting down the moments to my next scan. I also learned that I can practice daily what it looks like to live life with trust in God amidst times of waiting for other things unrelated to cancer.
And even though it’s not always easy to be content and at peace while waiting, my hope is that writing this down can serve as a point of reference for you and me to come back to when waiting is just plain hard.
Maybe you’re struggling with waiting in every day life: waiting in lines, for coworkers to reply to emails, or for Mr. Right to come along.
Or maybe you find yourself in a season: waiting to heal, for things to turn around, for a new job or opportunity.
Or maybe it’s cyclical: waiting to see your yearly evaluation, for family to arrive for the holidays, or cancer scan results.
Waiting will never go away, but it doesn’t have to effect our quality of life. We are all in this together and have access to peace and contentment right now. Sometimes we just need one another to encourage and remind us of those truths. And I hope that if you find yourself amidst a time of waiting, that you feel known and encouraged, filled with hope, and equipped with reminders of the truth that God has a plan for your life.
God bless you and thank you for your prayers for my latest round of scans!
We all struggle with waiting to some extent. Which area of your life can I pray for contentment and purpose for you while you wait?