Are you waiting on things outside of your control? 9 Tips to keep you going!

waiting at a traffic light

We’re in the midst of waiting. Months and months of waiting…

  • In September – We knew we were moving back across the ocean to the land we call home
  • In October – The move was stopped and from morning to night and from day to day, what we were doing and when we were doing it changed, as things changed within the company
  • In early November – we were moving again and it looked impossible not to be home for Christmas
  • Then week after week and weekend after weekend – through Thanksgiving, and Christmas, our Anniversary and New Years we would do what we could do and then wait – on the company, the movers, the government and Harley Davidson
  • 11 days ago – all of our household things were loaded into a container for overseas shipment
  • 7 days ago – our motorcycle was crated and taken to our container
  • It’s almost mid-January and we’re still waiting – for paperwork to clear so we can leave

The emotional roller coaster has been intense:

  • Sad to go – So many tearful goodbyes – not knowing if or when we will see many of our friends and neighbors again
  • Sad to stay – Missing so much at home that we thought we would be a part of this year
  • Frustrated with all the barriers – There is so much we don’t control
  • Impatience, questions, anger, tears and numbness have all been a part of the process…

A neighbor recently commented that she doesn’t know how I’m still smiling. Another friend commented on my patience.

The reality I that most days I can smile because I do the 9 things I recommend below, but I’m also human and I have bad days too.

Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year, and it’s been 4 years since I’ve been able to celebrate it in the way that I’d like to. (When I know we aren’t going home and set my expectations accordingly and I can navigate that day very well.)

This year I was so sure that we would be there, that I struggled to adjust those expectations as the date approached. When I woke up on Christmas Eve, I cried and dried my eyes and tried to focus on something else and the tears came again. …Over and over, for half the day, that process repeated itself. That’s not normal for me, and it wasn’t how I had imagined spending the day. But I got it all out and I am smiling again.

Need help dealing with your waiting?

  1. Be thankful: Intentionally look for blessings and thank God for them.
  2. Pray: It’s ok if some of your prayers are confidently claiming scripture, while others are filled with gut wrenching questions, and others are peaceful and accepting.
  3. Turn up the volume on your favorite tunes: And listen to beautiful melodies and lyrics filled with truth an inspiration.
  4. Be authentic with your friends: Their understanding and support will help to carry you with new perspectives, advice, encouragement, prayers, distractions, laughter and if you’re as spoiled as we’ve been – maybe even meals!
  5. Get some exercise and fresh air: Just getting out and walking changes the scenery and gets your blood pumping.
  6. Look back and remember: Other big seasons of waiting and change that were really tough that caused you to emerge softer, and stronger and wiser.
  7. Dream about the future: Who do you want to connect with, what do you want to do… What can you do now to prepare for that?
  8. Keep others that are waiting in your thoughts, prayers and messages: Who do you know that is in a season of waiting? How can you support them?

So many of our friends and family are waiting for things that are bigger and harder than what we are dealing with.  

Friends all over Louisiana that had their homes flooded in August and are still waiting to get back home. …Many are staying with friends, some with family, some in FEMA trailers.

They’ve waited:

  • On flood waters to recede
  • On insurance companies for estimates
  • On banks to clear insurance checks
  • On construction crews to be available and to get started

While they’ve waited: They’ve lacked privacy, and lost personal freedoms as they’ve adjusted to life in the homes of others.

Other friends have waited for:

  • Medical testing
  • Then waited for test results
  • Then waited for treatment plans

Some are now waiting for treatment to start while others are waiting for treatment plans to work.

And we are surrounded by people that live outside of their home countries and away from their spouses and children for years at a time to provide a better future for their families.

  • They wait for vacations – Often waiting months and years past the promised date.
  • When there is a family emergency back home they wait for approval to leave – and often don’t receive it. (So they often miss the births and weddings of their children, miss helping family after a natural disaster, miss visiting a loved one in a hospital, miss saying goodbye to and burying parents when they die.)

 An interview, a job offer, the adoption to be finalized, or something else…

  1. Give yourself permission to have a bad day: Get it out and then get back in the game and repeat steps 1 – 8.

Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. ― Viktor E. Frankl

What tips do you have for people that are in the midst of waiting?


Image credit:  Pixabay

President, Giana Consulting

Chery Gegelman is an adventurer that loves to learn. ...Deep conversations, books, travel, and daily living are all food for growth.

As a speaker, facilitator and workshop leader she creates energizing environments that reflect God's grace, tear down walls, help people to consider new perspectives, and inspire change.

Chery is the Founder of Giana Consulting and Conversation Safari's, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two leadership books.

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6 thoughts on “Are you waiting on things outside of your control? 9 Tips to keep you going!

  1. I wish I could move things along for you but of course that’s part of the insanity of this all.

    You share such powerful tips with us on how to endure a wait. I love your idea of being authentic with your friends. There is nothing like our support systems to help us get through tough times.

    I sometimes wait for long period of times for new client perspectives to make their decisions. It could take months for organizations to decide whether or not to move forward. Of course my life is not one hold as is yours but we are all waiting in life sometimes.

    I am sending love and light your way. It will happen! In the meantime, just be your amazing self.

    • Thank you Terri! I have wished for magic wands, transporters, and that the warm thoughts and prayers from friends would speed things up too! I’m also looking for learnings and opportunities to add value right where we are.

      Great reminder that we ALL wait on something, sooner or later so it is wise to learn how to navigate it and to realize we are not alone.

      And looking forward to being home again.

  2. Such a heartfelt article, Chery! Waiting is hard for all of us and I love your list of 8 ways to get through it…I would add “Be grateful.” Even in the midst of a crummy situation, when we choose to be grateful it changes the way our brain thinks about it.

    P.S. I am among those who are praying that you will soon be stateside 🙂 We miss you over here!

    • Thank you LaRae!

      Do you see gratitude and thankfulness differently? (As thankfulness was numero uno on the list?)

      And thank you so much for the prayers! I am so thankful for this experience, and will miss the people. And I am also so very ready to be home.

  3. We lived in China for 6 years, Thailand for 5, and Vietnam for 1. When we decided to return to the US, for me it was a return. My wife’s Australian. We spent three months living in a hotel in Hanoi, travelling back and forth to the embassy in Ho Chi Minh City, trying to get my wife a visa and finding that we needed “one more piece of paper.” So yep, waiting, and out of our control.

    I coped by studying the NC Driver’s Handbook and writing a novel, but that’s because I’m a weirdo. What we remembered is that we were able to get Jan a visa in only six months. The typical time to do the same thing while in the U.S. is more than two years. That doesn’t do much for the emotional frustration of waiting, but the logical side was pleased.

    • Michael I agree!!! Focusing on anything positive helps during the negative. 6 months v.s. 2 years is awesome! Not to mention that studying and writing is a great use of time!

      Welcome Home!