The Courage to Wait

As I entered the store, I was enthusiastically greeted by three highly energized employees. They thanked me for being there and then went into the reason for their excitement hoping I would be as thrilled as they were.

This national store that sells everything from, groceries to guns to glucose supplements, had developed a new app that would make my shopping experience so much better. The first two features of this new app were that I would no longer have to wait in line to purchase something and I would no longer have to wait in line to return something.

The next day our pastor began a new sermon series on Waiting as we move deeper into the season of advent. When it comes to Christmas many of us are not very good waiters. Even as adults we want Christmas to come so we can open our presents.

We live in a society that is increasingly all about getting everything now. We can order our coffee or our meal on our phones and have it ready when we arrive. Where we once got excited as we slowly watched our screen fill up with our dial up connection we now get frustrated if our screen isn’t instantaneously complete.

While patience may still be a virtue, for the most part it has now simply disappeared.

From a psychological perspective this trait of impatience even has a name, FOMO, Fear of Missing Out. The formal Oxford English dictionary definition of FOMO is, Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.

If fear is the diagnosis, courage is the antidote. Do you have the courage to be patient, to wait?

About a year ago my wife and I began a serious search to buy a new home. We had been renting for about five years and were now in a position to be able to own a home again. We secured the services of a great realtor, Ryan Hanson, and the quest began.

Several times each day my wife and I would be online checking to see if new homes had been added to the various websites. We didn’t want to miss anything that might be just the right home for us. We had narrowed down some pretty selective criteria so we were quickly able to eliminate everything we saw early on.

After looking for a couple of months two homes came on the market that were very appealing. We could see ourselves living in either home very comfortably and they met our criteria. Just as quickly as they came on the market they were gone. My wife and I did not act quickly enough.

As the weeks went on after we’d missed on these two opportunities regret set in. Why hadn’t we acted faster? Those homes were perfect for us. In our FOMO world regret is a common occurrence. We tend to look at the past and dwell on the things we missed rather than look forward to what might be.

On Memorial Day, nearly three months later, we went with our realtor to look at a house we’d seen online for some time. It met all of our criteria from a visual perspective but was more than a bit out of our price range. My thought was that since it had been on the market for so long maybe we could make a really low offer and get it. Upon arriving at the house we quickly dismissed it as another swing and a miss in our quest.

As we walked through the house my mind went back to the two we missed out on. “We’re never going to find anything to match those two,” I thought to myself.

As we were walking out of the house Ryan told us he had set up an appointment for us in a few minutes with another house that wouldn’t go on the market until the next day. He said that based on our conversations with him over the past several months he thought this might be a good fit for us.

Well, we were already out and didn’t really have any plans so we might as well go and look. Our expectations weren’t very high based on what we’d been seeing since the lost two.

As my wife and I walked through the house we were both completely silent. The house was beautiful. It wasn’t anything like we imagined we would buy. It was so much better and it was so much less expensive than the two from many months before. We bought the house. Every day I feel incredibly blessed to be in this home.

In this case, patience was, in a sense, forced upon us and for that I am glad. There were times I was almost willing to settle for a home we didn’t really want. Patience is still a virtue and patience often leads to better, but patience is hard.

Are you willing to settle because of FOMO?

Maybe you’ve been looking for a new job for a while, or searching for that right potential mate, or maybe even looking for a new home!

Do you have the courage to wait? Do you have the courage to be patient? Do you have the courage to not settle?

Psalm 40:1-2


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