It was certainly one of the most challenging seasons of my life. I had just broken up with my fiancée, only months away from the wedding day. The honeymoon had been booked. The wedding venue paid for. The invitations addressed. (Thankfully, not sent!) The relationship I had invested so much into was over.
Even in high school, I longed for the day I would be married. In my twenties, I was confident the “single species” was a dying breed. At least the 34-1 married-to-single ratio at the church I was attending convinced me it was so. And after college, my desire to be married grew even more when I realized I was the only person among my buddies who still didn’t have a wife.
When the engagement ended, I was 29 and found myself, once again, without a date and hopelessly single. (I can almost hear the sad violin music quietly playing in the background.)
Nearly 10 years later, I can look back and smile, because I know it was a turning point. After the breakup, God became more real to me than ever before. I began to see, truly for the first time, that His plan was best, even in this extended season of longing and waiting. It was a hard season, waiting for the pain of a broken engagement to subside. I struggled to see how God was going to bring about good in my life. But through it all, even in the waiting, I learned that God was more than sufficient to satisfy my deepest longings.
What are you waiting for? What do you desire that seems out of reach? Maybe it’s a spouse. Maybe it’s a fulfilling career. Maybe it’s healing from something holding you back. Whatever it may be, we are all waiting for something. And that waiting is hard.
It’s also important. God has shown me just how valuable it is to give over my desires to Him. When I don’t, these longings gradually pull me away from Him. In those times of desiring anything or anyone more than my desire to trust God and follow His ways, I will inevitably find myself in a never-ending quest for that which cannot truly satisfy. A well-known verse from St. Augustine’s Confessions says: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.”
As we develop more character and see circumstances as He does, something miraculous begins to happen. He begins to mold and shape our desires to be one and the same with His. This is the beautiful mystery behind Psalm 37:4, which says, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Following and pursuing God’s plan, not our plan, is the only way to have the things which will satisfy our deepest desires.
Amazing! It’s not about getting what we want, but about becoming who God wants us to be.
Helpful Habits in Waiting
Looking back, I learned some great lessons in that time of waiting. I am still learning and growing in these areas, but here are a few things that helped me survive that season and be ready for the things God had for me.
Read God’s Word faithfully. This may sound like a Sunday School answer, but during the waiting, it was easy for my emotions (rather than truth) to get the best of me. Rather than allowing my feelings to guide me, I found it helpful to dive into Scripture and be reminded of God’s character and good plans for me. Then, as I started to implement what I knew God wanted me to do, I began to see good fruit in my life!
Connect and serve. When I was down about my broken engagement, I couldn’t do life on my own. I needed the love and support of trusted friends and family who could remind me of the truth. While I was waiting for God to work, I also learned that He wanted to work through me. And as I allowed Him to work through me to serve others, He started to really work in me.
Be thankful. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 encourages believers to “give thanks in all circumstances.” When I was so focused on what I didn’t have, I was unable to see the many blessings that I did have, including the greatest blessing — that God sent His Son to die for me that I might have life!
Pray. Sometimes when I am waiting, my attention turns inward and I am tempted to take matters into my own hands. Spending time intentionally seeking the Lord through prayer, can flip my perspective. As I realize that most things are outside my control (surprise, surprise), I see more clearly the importance of looking to God for the answers.
Being stuck in a waiting season can make us feel helpless, but there are so many things we can do to seek the Lord, connect with others and discover God’s plan during those times. Ten years later, now married with two children, I am confident that His plan is the best and His timing is impeccable. I didn’t understand at the time, but I chose to trust Him anyway. I’m so glad I did.