Basketballs
Encouragement

If Waiting is a Game, When Do We Win?

At any given time, we are ALL waiting for something. The list seems never-ending and to consider the gamut of what we are waiting for? Wow.

School BusKids: Currently some parents are waiting for their children to finally exit the front door and step onto a school bus again (pleeeease), while others are waiting for a child, maybe through IVF or adoption. Still others wonder when their toddler will be out of diapers, or if their grown prodigal child will ever come home again.
Health: test results, surgery delays for a cancer diagnosis, recovery from addiction, organ donations and transplants, insurance, braces to come off (teeth, knees, neck…)
Relationships: reconciliation, a compatible human to surface on a decent dating app, divorce paperwork to be completed, forgiveness from a friend or foe

A paycheck, a delayed flight, a prison sentence, warmer weather, cooler weather, a dog to be house-trained, even a drink of water
Hugs, phone calls, water to boil, files to download, hospital stays, court dates, aaaand soon and very soon… election results.
Don’t forget about the infamous Amazon package!

You get the idea. We’ve all played the Waiting Game.

Did you know there is actually a definition for it?
‘A strategy in which one or more participants withhold action temporarily in the hope of having a favorable opportunity for more effective action later’ (Merriam Webster website)

So wait. Haha – see? I typed that phrase without thinking much about it, but was inadvertently telling myself (and you) to wait as I withheld continuing to write this article in hopes of it becoming more favorable and effective while I try to understand the Waiting Game definition. We are truly always waiting, even if only for a split second!

One of my brothers was on a high school basketball team in the mid-90’s, winning back-to-back state championships in addition to having undefeated seasons both years. That’s a lot of winning!
I’d like to break into the W column for playing the Waiting Game. How? Well, tryouts are over. We made Team Reality and waiting season is starting.  Stay active with me and let’s get some serious skills to wait this out.

Basketballs

Practicing Patience with Psalms
Patience is a virtue and I want more of it RIGHT NOW! Clearly haven’t mastered this skill, however, the more seasons of waiting I endure, I realize the best drills I can run through to build my patience and endurance are the Psalms. Seriously! David wrote many of them and dang, he experienced seemingly rough bouts of depression, avengers seeking to take him out, longing for justice and more. He played the Waiting Game on offense and defense. We can relate to his frustrations and lamentations, but then take note as he turns them into victorious praise (so important).
**Practice Drills** : Read a Psalm per day, out loud if possible (with the less intense, 48 hour wait for an Amazon shipment, might want to up it to a few Psalms per hour; there are 150 of them!). They are rich with the raw truth of waiting, but also full of praise. You’ll find the Psalms in just about the middle of a Bible (or Google will help you). A few of them are in this prayer: Waiting.  It takes practice, and patience, but I never get tired of this drill. It’s necessary, and quite hydrating.

Flexing Faith with Fight
As mentioned in a previous post, I resigned from my job a couple months ago. You could call it some serious faith flexing, considering we are in the middle of a pandemic which is affecting employment rates and I didn’t have another job lined up. Now that the vacation payout is dwindling and so far, job applications have been denied, I can confirm fibers of the faith muscles are tearing and repairing (with a few drops of sweat involved). At the same time, I have a deep sense of peace, because I personally know a faithful God and He won’t let me down. For a basketball game, players suit up. In the Waiting Game, warriors prepare for battle.
**Uniform Fittings** : Get yourself ready with the ARMOR OF GOD. There’s the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, ‘high top kicks’ of the gospel of peace, shield of FAITH, helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit (Word of God) and lots of prayer. I literally have a recurring reminder set on my phone each morning to put on the armor and I envision myself being equipped with God’s power to fight the unseen battles ahead. You can read more here: Ephesians 6:10-18  This ain’t no backyard pick up game. We must be prepared for those fiercely competitive playoff game-days against a cross-world rival.

Training Together with Teammates
Championships aren’t won alone, even for individual sports (the golfer trained with someone along the way). As I wait for my next source of income, I’ve been reaching out to teammates for assists, like prayer, encouragement and advice. We compare game plans, laugh, cry and then agree that God’s got this, even if He decides to come through when the score is tied with less than a minute left on the clock! At this point, the best assist is to get the ball (of concerns) to Him. Keep in mind God is ready for the final Waiting Game pass and He never misses a clutch, game-winning bucket.
**Teamwork** : It’s a team effort, and since we are all waiting for one thing or another at some point, let’s train together. Choose teammates who have similar mindsets and goals when it comes to winning the Waiting Game and surround yourself with players who are all in.  If you don’t know who to reach out to, start with a prayer, and/or send me a message. I will pray with you! In addition, trusted advisors and friends standing court-side can make great cheerleaders and supportive fans too.  Ultimately, pass your Waiting Game burdens to the Star Player, God. Best. Teammate. Ever.

Coaching Cues with Confidence
My brother’s high school coach was a significant part of his team having zero losses over the course of two basketball seasons. Not too long after the state championships, he also won a state level coach of the year award. A confident coach makes a difference. I’d like to nominate a winner for Coach of a Lifetime. He happens to be an expert on life, because He created it. When in the heat of the Waiting Game, He designs strategic plays while making timely substitutions (namely Jesus for our sins) and provides expertise and loving encouragement. I haven’t seen him throw a clipboard yet!
**Listening Skills** : God isn’t just a teammate, He is the HS Coach. I’m not talkin’ high school; I’m referring to the Holy Spirit. When He is on your side during the Waiting Game, day in and day out, the result is renewed confidence and guaranteed victories. Simply believing is how you join Team Reality for Eternity (Here’s My Heart prayer). Learning to listen to Coach Holy Spirit is a process, but a certain game changer.

Remember the never-ending list of what we are waiting for? Sometimes, it feels like we’re coming from behind in double over-time, but we must stay active, stay hydrated and STAY IN THE GAME. If we are running the Psalms practice drills, faithfully wearing the proper uniform, working together as a team and listening our Coach, we actually…

WIN WHILE WE WAIT.

Yes, the Waiting Game is exhausting and at times, we are depleted (No Words prayer, been there) but we can recover with the hope of having a favorable opportunity and CELEBRATE that desired W regularly. When one Waiting Game ends, the tip off for the next is about to begin. Let the glory days of undefeated seasons live on!

(Are injury timeouts available? I think I sprained something and I need to wait for it to heal…)

Keep it Real. ~Kelly Rae

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