Ordinary Time Growth Series: On Waiting and Growth

by Joanna Chng

 Honestly, waiting for someone is difficult. A myriad of emotions seems to plague me when I have to wait. I worry about whether I am at the right place, at the right time. I get anxious when the other party does not reply to my texts – have they forgotten or overslept? I get bored that nothing seems to be happening. I feel trapped because I cannot move forward or make plans until the person has arrived.

Then I realised, that these emotions also arise when I am waiting for something to happen in my life when I am waiting for Jesus to move in my life.

In 2015, Jesus planted a dream and stirred a desire in me to start something new in the Church. It has been five years and progress has been painfully slow. At times, nothing seemed to be happening. I wished for a rollercoaster ride and I prayed for Jesus to work as fast as possible, maybe take 6 months to a year.  But that did not happen. Instead, there were moments of silence and very long, agonising, and frustrating waits. In those moments, I was impatient and mostly upset that nothing seemed to be happening. I felt trapped because I could not plan my future – I did not have a 6-month plan much less a 5-years plan. Like waiting for someone, I experienced a myriad of emotions that plagued me seasonally.

During those seasons of waiting, where it was a struggle to trust in Jesus and to believe in the dreams He placed in me, this is what kept me going.

Joanna with the brothers and sister who have been her inspiration and support

Surrounding Myself with Like-Minded People
I was blessed to be surrounded by a group of brothers and sisters who continued to inspire and believe in me. In those seasons where I could not believe in the dreams that Jesus placed in me, they believed in it for me. They continued to spur me on in this journey of daring to have a bigger vision and dream for the Lord. They inspire me in how they choose to live their lives and helped me to see that what was deemed impossible by man, was made possible through Jesus.

Being Rooted in Prayer and Sacraments
I rooted myself in prayer and Sacraments. Through prayer and the Sacraments, I was constantly reminded that Jesus did not plant a frivolous dream in me. This dream arose from a need in the Church. Prayer and the Sacraments helped me to remain close to the Father and reminded me that our Father sees and provides for me, He has not forgotten about me. It helped me to remember that my sole identity was a child of the Father who knows, sees, and loves me. He will not give me the scraps of the table but provide a feast for me. Our Father did not need me to provide results before He could love and provide for me, the priced had already been paid and the victory won through His Son. That stirred in me a sense of hope even in my struggles.

Making the Most of the Waiting
Instead of moping in the waiting and allowing the discouragement and emotions to consume me, I chose to identify and take possible active steps in the waiting. This included serving wherever possible and reading in order to learn more in the waiting.

I  realised that I had been growing in those moments of “silence” and waiting. Jesus had not forgotten about me and He was moving in ways I could not see in the moment. However, on hindsight, I realised:

  1. I grew in trust and faith for the Lord. Growing up in this meritocratic society, I learned that as long as I worked hard, I would see the fruits of my labour. But through this, the Lord taught me to have greater trust and faith in Him. I learned that this dream would not move with only hard work, but, when the time is right, Jesus would move it. He would place the right people in my life at the right moment, He would open doors at unsuspecting moments, and He would plant smaller dreams to achieve this bigger one. It took me some time, but I learned that since the Lord planted this seed (dream) in me, then it was not my role to ensure that it grows. I simply had to provide the best environment for the seed to grow and ultimately leave it to the Lord to ensure its growth.
  2. I formed and deepened my relationship with the people around and journeying with me. In the waiting, I had the time and opportunity to slowly build relationships with the people around me, in particular, with the group of Sisters who share the same dream as me. If things had moved faster, I imagined that I would not have had the time to share life with them. But, as things were slow, I could share my joys and struggles with them. We had time to be vulnerable to one another, praying for each other, and serving together. They have become a valuable and important part of my life.
  3. I had the time to grow and be courageous to share with my family and friends about the dreams Jesus has placed in me. In the earlier days, a large part of me was also in denial that the Lord would plant such a huge dream in me. I was afraid to let people know about what I wanted to do, and where the Lord called me to. Over time, I began to grow comfortable in this dream. I became accepting that the Lord will use me. This was something that could not be achieved overnight, but instead took months and years before I could freely talk about it. Though, even now, I sometimes still smile shyly when people ask.

Dear readers, know that you do not have to be alone in the waiting and are not left alone as well. Our Father has a plan for you, He calls you by name, provides for you and will never forget about you. In this time of waiting, cling to Him! Reflect back on your moments of waiting and see how the Lord has stretched and grown you! Underneath every season of waiting, is a season of growth.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So, do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.” – Matthew 10:29-21

For more articles on growth, you may want to check out:

Ordinary Time Growth Series: Tilling the Soil of Our Hearts


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