What to Do While You're Waiting
For me, the waiting was for test results........waiting for mammogram results. Waiting for ultrasound results. Waiting for biopsy results. Waiting for MRI results. And now, waiting on genetic testing results. Many who have received a medical diagnosis know this process and the emotions that go along with it.
But some are waiting for other things. Waiting for a wayward child to come home. Waiting for a loved one to get sober. Waiting for that new job opportunity that makes getting up every day more meaningful. Waiting for those who are chronically ill and suffering to be called home to heaven. Waiting to be free from the pain of depression or anxiety. Waiting for life to just plain get better.
For some, waiting is for a short season. For others, it’s years. I don’t know why God allows some to wait longer, to endure longer, but I know He has a good plan no matter the wait. Jeremiah 29:11-13 promises us so.
Feelings and emotions can come in like a flood, drowning out any trust or hope you had that circumstances will change. Worse, dreams invade your subconscious or you wake in the middle of night only to lay there and worry.
This isn’t the first experience I’ve had with waiting. I’ve waited (and still waiting) for family members to know God. I’ve waited for life to get better. I’ve waited for circumstances to change. But, my Adventure 2017 involving cancer has made me much more attune to the importance of HOW to wait.
So, if you’re waiting, I hope what I share here gives you peace and a new way to wait. A new way to endure.
1. Allow yourself time to process the emotions, feelings, pain and grief of what you’re waiting for. But don’t stay there. Have I cried? Of course. Have I been scared out of my mind? Yes. Have I allowed the “what if’s” to carry me to a not so good place? Absolutely.
King David was known for “letting it all out” and lamenting at times.
Hear my prayer, O LORD! And let my cry for help come to You. Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress; Incline Your ear to me; In the day when I call answer me quickly. Psalm 102:1-2
When Mordecai learned all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city and wailed loudly and bitterly. And remember Job? Esther 4:1
And what about Job?
“My spirit is broken ... the grave is ready for me” Job 17:1
“My eye has also grown dim because of grief” Job 17:7
2. Redirect: There’s a saying……”what you focus on expands.” While I allow myself to process and feel what I’m feeling, I don’t stay there. I make conscious choices to redirect my thinking to thoughts that will be helpful, positive and focused on God’s truth rather than my irrational and unreliable emotions and feelings. I also worship as I wait. Nothing can pull me out of paralyzing fear, hopelessness and worry like praise and worship. And.....my workout playlist!
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8
a. What does God’s word say about you? Your life?
b. What does God’s word say about His love for that person you're grieving for?
c. What does God’ word promise you?
d. What is God’s truth?
e. What music fuels your hope and encourages me to keep going?
3. Surround yourself with positive messaging. What are you watching/ reading? Who are you talking to/ listening to? There’s no shortage of negative messaging. TV, Social media, a toxic work environment. However, with every spare minute, any down time, you get to choose how you spend this time and with whom you spent it with. Make choices that lift you. Make choices that give you hope, make you laugh.
a. What will you watch when you’re down and worried?
b. What can you read that will lift your spirits and give you reason to hope?
c. Who can you talk to that will encourage and speak life into your weary soul?
4. Maintain your health: Bad circumstances, stress, worry and medical concerns are easy excuses to give in to emotional eating or vegging on the couch for hours...... or days. But these actions won’t help you. A healthy diet, exercise and getting plenty of rest are crucial to mental and physical stamina. There are numerous studies linking health, diet and exercise to positive outcomes.
The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
Yes, I have breast cancer. Yes, I will be facing surgery. Yes, I’m still waiting on genetic testing results to determine just how evasive the surgery will be. And yes, I am still trusting, clinging to God’s promises in His word, as I wait.
If you’re waiting for something, I’ll wait with you. I ‘ll pray with you. I’ll speak truth to you. I’ll workout with you. I’ll cook a healthy meal for you. I’ll adventure with you just like God is adventuring with me.
As far as my Adventure 2017, here’s the update:
- I had my MRI on Saturday and the results indicated that I only have the one spot of breast cancer. We are praising God for this news!
- I am waiting to have my genetic testing done next week, and then waiting a few more weeks for the results.
- If I am predisposed on other cancers, I will have a double mastectomy and possible a hysterectomy. If I’m not, I’ll have a lumpectomy, radiation therapy and take a hormone inhibitor for five years.
- I am waiting on surgery consults, surgery dates and a schedule so I can plan for being out of work.
- And, I am trusting God for every step of the way on my Adventure 2017!