by Shane Fookes, MA LPC Intern
“The waiting is the hardest part.”Tom Petty
Who Likes To Wait When Stressed Out?
When you are feeling stressed out you want to be able to fix it right now. We all do. However, sometimes waiting and healing is what we need. If you were to conduct a survey of your friends and neighbors with the question, “Do you enjoy waiting?” you’d be lucky to find a single person who would say, “Yes, I love waiting!” In the United States, in particular, everything is seemingly designed to minimize waiting, especially through technology and automation. Maybe you’re old enough to remember the concept of “banker’s hours” when banks were open for only limited hours and you had to wait in a line to see a teller to get money.
Now we have 24-hour ATMs and online banking. Even 100 years ago, you only ate food that was “in season.” Now we can get our favorite fresh food items pretty much any time of the year. Whereas communication by mail used to take days, now we get mail electronically in seconds. I could go on but if I did you’d probably get impatient and skip down anyway! Am I right?
We don’t like to wait. I don’t think I said that strongly enough. We HATE waiting.
Here’s the challenge: whether we’re talking physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, or relationally, healing necessarily involves waiting. The waiting involved with physical healing probably makes sense to you. Whether you like it or not, even a small injury like a pulled muscle takes time to heal, much less a significant injury like a broken bone. But even though it makes sense that waiting is required for physical healing, we still don’t like it. And giving time for healing in the other realms of life seems even more difficult.
The Necessity of Waiting
Emotional and relational healing also takes time. Sure, someone seeking help for anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress can learn tips and techniques in a few therapy sessions (or on the internet for that matter). They may even see some quick reduction in symptoms. But actual healing, especially when stressed out, takes much longer and involves significant periods of waiting. When a couple starts marital therapy to work through a significant relational crisis, I tell them to expect 18 months to 2 years of challenging relational work to experience the healing they desire.
This necessity of waiting in the healing process flies in the face of personal and cultural expectations. It challenges our craving for quick answers and simple solutions. But those who look to the Bible for hope and help discover that waiting for God is a vital part of maturing and human flourishing! When you read the Bible, you find that it teaches about and illustrates the importance of waiting from beginning to end. The major characters in the Old Testament – Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, and many others – endure long seasons of waiting and wondering. Nineteen times, the psalm writers describe or encourage waiting for God’s deliverance. In Romans 8, the Apostle Paul compares the importance of waiting to a woman in childbirth waiting for her baby. What a powerful metaphor!
In a culture that incessantly offers myriad options for easing your pain and increasing your comfort, waiting for God can seem absurd. When you are feeling stressed out, waiting can seem almost impossible. So many voices both within and without scream: MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN! But when you turn to escape the struggle or ease the pain, you lose. The person of faith waits and hopes for God (see Psalm 130).
God’s Role in the Waiting While Stressed Out
So you may wonder: why does God delay? Does he just get a kick out of watching you squirm and struggle being stressed out? Not at all. Here’s what God knows (and we know if we’re honest about it): waiting expectantly is the most important ingredient for growing your character. Waiting not only tests but also grows resiliency. Two Bible passages, in particular, make this clear:
Romans 5:3-5a 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment.
James 1:2-4 2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Strength of character, confident hope, endurance, wholeness, contentment – these desirable qualities only come through waiting. But make no mistake, waiting is anything but a passive process! Recovering from a physical injury requires active involvement in the healing process by putting time and effort into strengthening and flexibility exercises. Similarly, the waiting involved in emotional and relational healing involves active participation in such things as mindfulness, meditation, communication, and conflict resolution training. In other words, you do everything you know to do while trusting God with the timing and the results.
If you get “stuck” in your story, Christian counseling can help.
Even the best of us get stuck in our dominant stories. A good counselor can help tremendously by providing a safe space to identify your dominant story (or stories) and help you see and explore alternative stories. Through a collaborative therapeutic experience, you can identify what is changeable in your story and feel empowered to choose a path forward.
Consider Online Therapy in Oregon When You’re Stressed Out
Our Clackamas and Hillsboro-based counselors are excited to work with you, wherever you are in Oregon. You can stop feeling stressed out and learn the power of waiting and healing. Our Christian counseling can help you get back on track in a way that aligns with your faith and values. When you are ready to start online Christian counseling in Oregon, follow these simple steps:
- Learn about our therapy team in Hillsboro and our caring counselors in Clackamas
- Schedule an appointment with your preferred therapist, or contact us with questions
- Start learning how to wait and stop feeling stressed out
Other Mental Health Services at Life Discovery Counseling in Oregon
If you are in Clackamas, Happy Valley, Damascus, or Hillsboro, we can help you in person at one of our comfortable therapy clinics. Christian counseling is the cornerstone of our approach to therapy. Not only do we see adults, but children in counseling too. We also work with depression treatment, anxiety therapy, trauma therapy and PTSD treatment, relationship issues, marriage problems, and postpartum counseling. No matter where you are in the state, we can provide the support you need with online therapy in Oregon. Once you’re ready to start, we’re ready to meet you. Let’s connect!