A Lesson in Waiting Well: The Tension of Contentment

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! ~Psalm 27:13-14

As a single woman quickly approaching my mid-twenties, I’ve received a lot of questions and advice about my dating life. Most often when I feel the conversation take a turn in that direction, my unwarranted-advice sensors sound the warning alarm, my walls go up and I nod politely to whatever is said. I force a smile and try to state as kindly as possible that I’m waiting on the Lord’s timing for a relationship.

But I have gotten one or two pieces of great advice that are a little…well, unconventional to say the least.

My favorite by far was given to me like an unwrapped gift at my birthday dinner last year. I was surrounded by family and friends that were practically family as we all chowed down on chips and salsa at my favorite Mexican restaurant. Halfway through the basket of chips at my end of the table, the woman across from me leaned in a little closer.

“Jazmin, I know where you can meet some good guys.” (Apparently, that was my issue at the time–I didn’t have anywhere to go to meet a great guy.)

Crunching another chip, I felt my walls go up as I waited for the advice I knew was coming. But the advice wasn’t at all like I expected and nearly caused me to choke on my tortilla chip.

“You need to join a golf club!”

Entirely serious, the woman went on about how great golfer-guys are and how I could even join the all girls circuit and still have a great time because golfing is a very good activity.

I sat their half dumbfounded and half extremely humored. After that meal I proceeded to tell every single friend of mine that story and we would laugh ourselves silly over the idea that golfing was the answer to all of our single woes.

As silly as this advice is, though, I think there is a golden piece of truth here. Tucked in it’s center is the idea that you can’t stop living while you’re waiting.

Too often when we’re waiting on something–whether it be marriage, a family, a career–we throw ourselves entirely into that waiting. All of our focus, our prayers, our attention goes into that thing we want but don’t yet have.

In my life that has meant clinging to the desire of being married, and making sure it’s always nearby because if I forget about it, I might not get it.

If I’m not doing something to make it happen, I might not get what I’ve waited so long for.

I’ve also tried that whole be-content-in-Jesus thing because everyone seems to believe that the moment a single person is content in Jesus, the spouse of their dreams will pop out of the ground like a daisy and they’ll live happily ever after.

But that just simply isn’t true.

I know a lot of single people who are some of the most God-fearing, Jesus-serving people, and they’re still single.

Contentment isn’t a key to unlock our heart’s deepest longings.

But it can be a tool we use to live well in the waiting.

Just because we’re waiting on something doesn’t mean our lives are meant to be put on pause. Does it hurt to not have what we want? Of course. Sometimes the longing to be married, to have a man who loves me and has chosen to walk beside me through every season of life is almost unbearable. But I haven’t stopped living where I’m at.

My goal, all those years ago when I committed my love story to the Lord, was to find out who I was before Mr. Man walked into my life and my heart. I didn’t want my identity wrapped up in the object of my wait; I wanted to be fully and completely the Lord’s.

Over the years I’ve found that prayer more than answered. The journey to this point hasn’t be easy, and I’ve dealt with a lot of heartache and unmet expectations. But I’ve committed in my heart that I’m going to embrace this life I’m given. I’m chasing my dreams, doing ministry, pouring into my people, pouring into the families around me. I’m learning new skills, learning how to do this adult-thing, and loving my adorable pup.

My life is full, and I can honestly say I am content.

Does that mean I do not want to be married anymore?

Not at all. There is this frustrating tension between being fully content where and still longing for the object of my wait that is just a normal part of waiting well. It doesn’t mean we have to forget about what we have been asking God for so many years. It doesn’t mean that we have to shove away our desires. It simply is what it is.

In order to wait well, we have to be able to live with the tension of letting our hearts feel that longing and living contentedly where we are.

David writes in Psalm 27 that he believes he will see God’s goodness right where he is. And if we read the rest of the psalm that comes before that hopeful statement, we see that David is in a tough spot. Fear is threatening to overtake him, loneliness is his only companion. Things look bleak here.

But David hasn’t forgotten God. He hasn’t forgotten his heart’s true desire to be in the Lord’s presence forever.

He hasn’t forgotten that being in the presence of the Lord for even a moment is better than being anywhere else.

It is this realization that allows him to place his hope in God, to state boldly, “I believe I will look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” It’s why he can urge his heart and others to take courage and wait for the Lord.

Because he believes that God is good.

David believes that God will do good things in his life.

Because he trust’s God’s goodness, His character, David can wait well in the knowledge that God will show up.

Waiting isn’t easy. It lasts far longer than we hope and stretches us to grow more than is comfortable. But the waiting is good.

I say that not on the other side of the waiting, but as one in the midst of it.

Waiting is good.

It requires us to take stock of what’s really important. It challenges us to live fully right where we are even when we don’t have what our hearts most long for.

If you find yourself in a season of waiting, I challenge you to “join a golf club.” Don’t stop living in the waiting. Do something for you. Plug into the community. Set a regular coffee date with a friend. Learn a new skill. Travel. Explore. Chase after that dream.

Chase after the good God who loves you and wants you to know He is good even here.

Life doesn’t stop just because we’re waiting, but it can pass us by if we’re not careful.

Don’t give up living now for the object of your wait.

Live in His love!

Related: Trusting the Lord in Seasons of Waiting


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