I am a “doer.” And the longer I live, the more impatient I become with waiting. If there’s something I want, I go after it. When presented with a problem, I figure out how to solve it. When things aren’t the way I like, I change them. I like to try different doors, and when they don’t open, I try the windows. I’m always ready to set goals, and then figure out how many little goals I need to set along the way to get there. I like charts and graphs and schedules and maps. I refuse to sit around and wait for life to happen to me. Life’s too short. I want to make things happen, and the quicker the better. So I figure out what I want to do, and then I figure out how to get there. Simple.
But lately I’ve been presented with quandaries. It turns out that sometimes in life, circumstances can’t be so easily and immediately changed. And this drives me absolutely batty! I have always had a hard time with the Lord when his answer to my question is simply, “Wait, wait on the Lord.” But why? (Insert 2-year-old whiney voice.) Why can’t we just figure this out now and move on? These futile questions are often followed with more of the “just wait” rhetoric. As Inigo Montoya so eloquently put it in The Princess Bride … “I hate waiting.”
I’m sure the mature who read my blog are already saying to themselves, “but waiting builds character.” And though I know they’re right (even from my own past experiences), I still don’t like it. Waiting is a difficult endeavor for action-oriented souls (which is probably why we’re offered so many opportunities to practice it).
Part of my waiting right now includes the fact that I’ve been presented with a problem I can’t figure out how to solve. For the girl who took five years of math in four years of high school, I can be severely irritated by a problem I can’t solve. I’ve researched, I’ve inquired, I’ve interviewed … and still I come up short on answers to my questions. And I can’t change my circumstances until I find solutions to the problems. It can be so frustrating!
And herein lies my conundrum. I don’t want to sit in this period of waiting on the Lord with nothing but impatience and complaining for company. That is NOT a solution (and I believe my husband would wholeheartedly agree). I might be caught where I am for a while, but its no excuse to be discontent …
Ah, discontent … the opposite of content. The further I dig into my own psyche, the more I realize that the bottom line here has more than a little something to do with contentedness. There is a contentedness to be found at the other side of change, but there is sometimes also a contentedness required of us when change is impossible … or at least impossible at the moment.
I wish I knew the easy way to contentedness. But search as I might, I haven’t found that book at the library yet. I remember once listening to Elizabeth Elliot speak on the Secrets of Serenity. How that woman ever truly attained serenity, after all she had been through, was a secret indeed. I just wish I remembered more of HOW she found serenity, not just THAT she found serenity. But I figure if SHE can do it, surely those of us with less severe circumstances can find it. Though sometimes I think its those who have the least problems who end up doing the most complaining. Hmm, there’s a lesson there, isn’t there? I think I need to stop before I truly teach myself something. For now, it is enough to recognize that I can’t whine and complain my way out of my problems. And no matter the problem, and no matter how easily solved, serenity is worth pursuing … for our own sanity, as well as everyone around us.
Maybe the goal to be set here is serenity itself. (I know, now we're all quoting Kraemer and George's dad from Seinfeld ... "Serenity Now!") Its not about laying down and choosing to simply accept the circumstances, but there is a way to ride the circumstances, while we're waiting for the answers on how to change them, with grace and peace instead of straining and fighting and complaining. Its a lofty goal, but I bet I can come up with a chart on how to reach it.