I hate waiting. I have been impatient regarding many things and I am seeing more and more how impatience is one of my character defects.
Waiting in lines. Waiting in traffic. Waiting to get a text back. It causes a lot of restlessness and irritability. It causes my blood pressure to rise and the surrender to fall. I grip tighter due to the fear of not being in control. I want to feel in control of my environment and having to wait on other people or wait because of circumstances outside my control, well I don’t always handle that very well.
The last few weeks have felt like one giant waiting game. I have been siting in life’s waiting room trying to pass the time but the magazines don’t help. Sliding the multi-colored beads back and forth on little wires losses it’s charm quickly. I’m supposed to talk through these fears but sometimes talking about them trigger even more fear.
And the questions in my head won’t stop! Oh the questions that pop up there are pretty crazy sometimes. The dreams I have had is another sign that a lot of my mental energy is being devoted to pondering the unknown.
Will I get the job? Did I impress them in the interview? Am I even cut out to be a teacher anymore? If I get the job should I coach again? How long should I be in Nashville? Am I being a bad father for staying in America while my girls continue to live abroad? How will it be when I pick them up at the airport in a week? Will they enjoy being here with me? Will they prefer to stay with their Mom’s side of the family?
All of these questions (and these are just the tip of the iceberg) have one thing in common. They are all raised because of fear. My fear has the power to move me into action such as putting my resume out there and lining up job interviews. It also has the power to become toxic and paralyzes me or drives me to rage or shame.
I am powerless over fear.
I have been praying a lot lately. That is my ONLY solution in conquering fear. I can’t face my fear alone and come out the other side a sober person. It’s just impossible, it’s that simple. But if I surrender these fears that my disease tells me to try and control, then I can make it. I can stay sober. I can remain useful to others.
A few nights ago, I was Ubering and a bunch of us drivers were waiting for the concert at the stadium to let out. About 10 minutes after I pull up to the waiting area, a woman came up and explained that she was also a driver and her battery had just died. The concert was nearing its end and the biggest chance of catching rides was fast approaching. It had been a pretty frustrating day and one that I had acted and thought very selfishly. I knew this was God’s way of reminding me that this is not my world. I will still have food on my table tomorrow if I turn off the app for a few minutes and help someone. So I did. She also happened to be a teacher and we talked for almost an hour as we waited for the concert to end. It turns out the concert did not end until a lot later than expected. I noticed something about myself that night. As long as I was connected to God and another person, I was not a bit restless. My irritability vanished and I just lived in the moment and surrendered the rest. It was beautiful.
I know I may never find a cure for feeling fear and getting restless. But it sure eases drastically when I am connected to others and serving others.
The gift of surrender not only allows me to survive one day at a time but it gives me the chance to truly live in freedom and joy.