People often say, “Good things come to those who wait”. Sure, from time to time we have to sit back and wait on someone or something, but I do believe there is a significant difference between waiting and being patient.
Patience is something you practice. It’s intentional. It’s a character trait you refine through the years as you recognize it’s strategic and relational benefits. It’s something you are actively participating in. You are “being patient”, intentionally.
Waiting is something entirely different. It’s typically either enforced upon you by someone else, or it’s something you do because you have convinced yourself there is no other option. It’s something you do when your checking out at the grocery, or after submitting documents to the government. It’s not typically viewed as productive time.
Waiting is typically imposed upon you. But the majority of the time, you can turn this time into an act of being patience. That means you engage and make this time productive. If I’m waiting in line, I either start a conversation with a stranger, work on my Blackberry, or spend that time thinking. I deliberately chose to perceive this “waiting time” as valuable time I can use to be productive, rather than wasted time that irritates me.
Too often, waiting is just an excuse for doing nothing. I hear so many people say, “I’m waiting on God to tell me what to do.” That’s an easy, and very common excuse to not do anything at all. These people have effectively chosen to view their inactivity as a sanctified or righteous act.
I would argue that a car that isn’t moving is difficult to steer.
Patience is a virtue. Waiting is an excuse not to act.