What Are You Waiting For?
by Becki Porter-Harmon, MA, BCC, Clinical Coordinator
Advent, for Christians, is often referred to as the season of watching and waiting. Spiritually, we are waiting for the renewal of our hope in the celebration, and remembrance, of the gift of grace for this world in the form of the baby Jesus. As we wait to celebrate this, we are watching for the signs and wonders that confirm God’s love. Intentionally remembering and making visible the meaning of Christmas, and how it should inform our lives the entire year-round, can be a very meaningful and renewing practice.
However, in the actual living of your life in this world, watching and waiting (too much, too long) may prevent your fully realizing what you are meant to be and do. While some humans jump without thinking at all (a problem of its own), this seems to be a small percentage. Most of us spend time waiting and watching, to a lesser or greater degree, and not fully pursuing our goals, dreams or development of who we are. Waiting for the right time.
Have you ever caught yourself thinking “waiting thoughts” like: when things get less crazy, when things get better, when that person does that thing, when the kids get older, when I lose that weight, when I get that job, when things calm down (or any other variation)?
And then there is the watching. Watching your wish for a better or different job flow by while you wait for other things to fall in place before you put yourself out there, waiting for a different living situation because it seems like you don’t have the energy to figure it out, watching that relationship you want to be closer not grow because you are waiting to stop being afraid, watching yourself engage in the same self-defeating behaviors and thinking patterns because you are waiting to make the effort to seek help to change, watching yourself not doing things that you tell yourself you would like to do while you wait for that better time.
Yes, life requires a certain amount of responsible judgement and behavior. I am not advocating a wholesale hedonistic approach to life. Pursuing negative ends or irresponsible plans may make things worse.
I am talking about doing what you can toward a goal. You can’t get that house without the finances; but what can you do now toward getting the money, toward deciding where and what type of house you will seek? Wanting to have relationships, but waiting till you feel less depressed, while you watch others engaged in life? You may be contributing to your own cycle of depression.
The main thing is to become aware of waiting and watching, when it is not due to responsible choices in planning. Look closely at what you are waiting for and what you are watching go on around you while you wait. What are you missing? Then you need to be honest enough to challenge yourself to see what you can do toward your dreams, or self-development, in the present moment; without waiting for all the pieces to fall in place first. Life is not predictable, things are not likely to fall into that perfect line you are waiting for in a timely or convenient manner. And, you never know what might happen while you are waiting, that makes the waiting longer. Try to stay in the present, what is possible right now – don’t project too far into the future. If you are focused on the future, you will never be satisfied. We can only be happy in the present.
Dis-satisfied with aspects of your life and relationships and waiting for circumstances to change before you change? Consider seeking some professional counseling help now, to start changing yourself. Break the cycle of waiting and watching life go by. It just might be one of the best Christmas presents you have ever given yourself.
Becki Porter-Harmon, MA BCC is an experienced clinician and a Resident in Counseling for licensing as an LPC in VA. If you would like an appointment with her, please call 571-335-5431. You can also visit www.pastoralcounseling.com and read her bio and those of the other CPC clinical staff members.
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