One of the most harmful things you can do to yourself is to stay in a mindset of just waiting around for things to happen.
Let’s distinguish between waiting and endurance. Endurance involves coping, maintaining a steady course, doing what you can do in an adverse situation. Endurance is necessary and advisable. Waiting, however, means expectation—anticipation of change. Something or someone outside ourselves which is going to change us and perhaps even decide our future.
There is a theme of waiting that permeates modern culture. Waiting for likes and comments. Waiting for a promotion. Waiting for friendships and “the One.” Waiting for leaders to fix the country.
This waiting mindset is not limited to secular society. Depending on your religious background, you may also carry the understanding that there is a destiny awaiting you, whether it’s a relationship, career, or something else. Don’t get me wrong—Christian destiny is true, in a sense. God loves you as an individual and wants you to be part of His Work. He even calls certain people to special missions or purposes. This is all real, with biblical precedent.
The part you need to be careful about it framing this entire idea into a Hollywood timeline, fine-grained on the individual level.
Life is like a movie only sometimes. Meanwhile, there’s many decisions you have to make. You’ve been gifted with free will to make those choices. Your life is not a screenplay. You have the autonomy to think, reason, and act, and there will be consequences to those actions, good and bad.
Stop waiting. Just stop.
I’m saying all this as if writing to my younger self, because I wish someone had told me this a long time ago. At some point, I thought if I was just good enough, patient enough, or had waited long enough, some kind of change or resolution would occur that would bring me in contact with my destiny. I shied away from making certain decisions, trying new approaches, or taking risks, because I assumed it was best to do nothing—nonintervention, if you will—and wait for things to happen. I think introverted women can be especially susceptible to this habit and sometimes attribute it as a natural element of our personality or gender, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
Waiting is not always bad—there are times and seasons for it. However, neither is it the pinnacle of faithfulness. What was really happening was that I was abdicating responsibility, and that’s the opposite of what we are called to do. If you want a change in your life, do something about it; act in good conscience and remember perfection is impossible. Just don’t get stuck in the waiting rut.
For more on this topic, I recommend Fr. Mike Schmitz’s video What’s a Sign from God (and What Isn’t).