| By Sheri Wohlfert

GROW as a Disciple of Jesus: Time Spent Waiting is an Opportunity to Love and Serve

[Jesus] Answered Them, “It is Not for You to Know the Times or Seasons That the Father Has Established by His Own Authority. (Acts 1:7)

A recent traffic jam gave me time to think about how much time we spend waiting and planning. We wait for food, parties, clothes from the dryer and Friday. We wait in the dentist office, the gym, the carpool line and in the checkout lane. I think we actually spend more time waiting than doing. When we aren’t waiting, we’re planning, mapping and calculating dozens of things a week, and we get frustrated and throw a little hissy-fit when our plans go sideways.

In the midst of our waiting and planning, we often forget an important fact – God is in charge and only he knows the details. In our attempt to control events, situations and outcomes, we often forget the Father doesn’t need our help – only our trust in his perfect timing. Our discipleship can be seen both in our waiting and in our doing. As we trust in the time and seasons of the Lord’s plan, we can practice patience and look for “Father-pleasing” things to do while we wait. I absolutely need to be better at waiting. I need to look for people to pray for, visit with and serve, or show kindness to.

As I stood in the checkout line recently, I got a poky cashier. I had plans and needed to get moving. I was right on the edge of getting impatient when I noticed my beautiful daughter step around me to help the shopper behind us. She was in a wheelchair, and Shannon unloaded all of her groceries onto the conveyor belt. They visited about everything from the lady’s granddaughters to the Flaming Hot Cheetos in her cart. I got a lesson on the value of waiting, and I realized that stepping outside of my own little plan while my daughter showed me how to serve someone else had turned waiting into a precious gift.

The world will whiz by in a blink whether we spend 10 more minutes in line or in traffic, so when we boil it down to the bottom of the pot, our tiny time on earth is all about waiting and planning for true life – in heaven. Only the Father knows that time and season, so the object of our waiting and planning is to trust, love and serve.

Pray every day: Begin each new day with a prayer for patience. Develop the practice of stopping to pray for the grace of surrender each time you get frustrated when your plans are changed or your schedule is disrupted.

Study the faith: During this Easter season, spend time each day reading from the Acts of the Apostles and discover the beginnings of our beautiful Catholic Church and be inspired to live out your discipleship.

Engage in parish life: Turn your personal planning and waiting to good use and volunteer to be on an event planning committee or to be a greeter and hold the door as you wait for people to gather in Our Father’s house.

Serve others’ needs: The next time you are waiting in line somewhere, offer a kind smile, a helpful hand or a cheerful conversation. In an act of true service, offer another shopper an invitation to go ahead of you in line.