What to Do While You Wait

“What did you do while you waited for Trevor?” a girl asked me. (Trevor is my husband of almost ten months.) “It’s so hard to wait patiently.”

I can tell you I sure didn’t wait perfectly! There were lots of hard days, and more and more really sweet days as I learned to put my hope in God rather than in a potential boyfriend or husband.

What did I do during my days as a single?

I did the next thing—whatever was right in front of me.

I spent time with people—the old and the young.

I took dance lessons.

I kept journaling.

I wrote a book.

I pursued God through His Word and in prayer (which really means He was pursuing me!).

I picked Michigan cherries and canned applesauce.

I laid on my beach towel by the waves.

I served in my local church.

I played volleyball at the YMCA.

I did laundry and grocery shopped and cleaned my apartment.

I looked for others who were lonely and tried to encourage them.

I “crashed” from constantly go-go-going, and then I slowly re-learned how to live.

I learned how to say “no” occasionally instead of automatically saying “yes” to every invitation. (Goodbye, burnout!)

I learned how to identify my emotions and communicate what I really thought.

And slowly, without even realizing it, I stopped waiting for a guy and started living for God.

Slowly, without even realizing it, I stopped waiting for a guy and started living for God.

What that doesn’t mean is that I “earned” Trevor because I stopped wanting a guy so bad or because I lived well. Not.at.all.

Trevor was and is an undeserved gift from God.

I love my life with Trevor now. But I also had a purposeful, fulfilling life before Trevor.

I say that to assure you that you are not waiting on a guy to start living. In fact, you have a whole lot of good works just waiting for you to do! Ephesians 2:10 tells us:

We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

How can you—this very day—do the most good to the most people?

“May the world this day be happier and better because I live.” —A Puritan prayer

About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys’ attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She’s married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She’s the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York. You can catch all her writing on PaulaWrites.com.

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

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  • Rosey Taylor

    Wow, this was such a good one! And the timing of this has to be a God thing; I’m starting a single girls’ bible study with some of my close girl friends this week, and I’ve been looking for good articles and such about living your single life to the fullest. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for! Thank you so much, can’t wait to share it with the other girls 🙂

    P.S. i can’t wait until i can get your book!

    • That’s so great, Rosey! What book of the Bible will you be studying? (Meet with them in personal, powerful ways through Your Word, Lord.)

      Let me know what you think of “Confessions” once you read it!

      • Rosey Taylor

        We are using Dannah Gresh’s book, Get Lost, for the main portion of the study (and we will all be doing the 10-day challenge in it), and we may also use some of her other books, And the Bride Wore White & Secret Keeper. So we will be covering several different bible verses/passages! I’m very excited!

        I signed up on your Paula Writes website, so i will be sure to contact you and let you know what i think of Confessions 🙂

  • Person

    What if the waiting never stops? How do you find total contentment. I’ve been waiting for years with no promise of my hopes being fulfilled. I feel like it’s my sin that keeps the waiting from ending. I say that because others who seem more righteous than me have more luck in this area. Of course I’m seeing that’s not always the case, and perhaps my singles doesn’t have to do with my sin. But the very fact that I associate prolonged singleness with punishment shows how warped my thinking is. I have tried to move on so many times, SO many times, I’ve lost count. A few years ago I saw on here that the only way to stop loving something is to replace it with something better. But I already have God and family and friends, I try to distract myself with school and hobbies and others. But I see them as time killers in a way. What’s there to replace it with, and what if replacing doesn’t stop the hopes from resurfacing every time I’m reminded? I don’t want to be a pathetic person, but I feel like I am.

    • Good morning! I will get back to you soon–wanna think on your comment a bit before responding.

      • Person

        Thank you Paula, I appreciate it a lot:) You have such a caring heart<3

      • Person

        Paula, I know you said you wanted to think about it, but I didn’t know if maybe you just got busy? I’d still be interested in your thoughts if you have any ideas.

        • I haven’t forgotten you! Just extremely busy. I will do my very best to write a response today. Thank you for your patience with me!

        • Good morning again. 🙂 I just wrote a blog post in response to your question (it’ll be posted sometime in September). If you’ll email me at Paula@PaulaWrites.com, I’ll share it with you (I don’t have your email address).

          Thanks much,

          paula

  • Becca<3

    This is so good! I so badly desire to be able to fully enjoy my life before marriage (if it’s God’s will for me to get married)! I think it’s so important to be my own person and develop my own passions and dreams. I don’t want to be one-dimensional or shallow in my personality; I want to be someone that my future husband (or anyone, really) has to kind of work at to figure out, and i want to surprise people with different aspects of my personality.

    This is actually something that I have wrestled with, especially over the past few months. I want to take music and dance lessons, I want to get a job, I want to make youtube videos, I want to grow in my relationship with God! But a lot of the time when I start to work on achieving my dreams (or stepping stones), I get anxious about the possible changes and back down:( It’s been a process, and I hope that if I force myself to accept challenges, that it will become easier over time.

    • I I can totally relate with that anxiety as I move toward change..sometimes I feel almost inadequate to move forward. I’ve been praying for the Lord to give me courage and what a wonderful work he’s been doing in my life!
      I’ll be praying for you Becca.

      • Becca<3

        thank you very much, I truly appreciate it! I’ll be praying for you as well Julie:) And just as an update, I did get a job! I had my first day at Chick-Fil-A yesterday and it was a blast! my sweet mother is the one who gave me the push (she put the application on my dresser and said I was going in for an interview the next Tuesday, and I had no way out lol) I’m very excited to be working there, all the staff and managers are super sweet:)

        • That’s great, Becca! My husband calls Chick-Fil-A the “Promised Land.” 😉

          • In fact, that’s where we met for the first time in person–and where he told me he liked me. (Needless to say, we had Chick-Fil-A catered for our wedding reception.)

    • Thanks for your honesty, Becca! (And FWIW: Even if you weren’t to develop any other hobbies or skills, I already think you’re an intriguing person to know, just from your comments on this blog.)

      Would it help if you saw these activities not as opportunities for performance but for sheer enjoyment? (I took dance lessons after college, and while I’m not very good at it, I can’t wipe the HUGE smile off my face when I’m dancing. So, so fun.)

      • Becca<3

        Thank you so much!:) your sweet words are certainly worth a lot (and made my day!) I think that is a very good idea! I hope I can find things that I enjoy doing and do them just for fun; thanks for the encouragement:)

  • hannahb

    I truly am amazed by today. I went to another blog that had an extremely similar message with a different twist and then this one. This is something I am battling incredibly right now with the term “wait”.
    I know His truth. “Wait and be still, Hannah. See how I work through this moment right now, how I show you this about me, how I work through your life right now in this moment.”
    You are so right, Paula. We are called to LIVE where we are at…to truly be content and see the beauty in all of it. I know there will be a day where in my marriage it won’t be the typical dream we all see it as and I will have to learn to be content in being a wife as well. But I know if I can figure out how to be content even when I don’t know for sure who my future husband is, I can be content when I am married.
    Thank you so much for this!

    • Amen, Hannahb. You are a wise young woman to seek to learn contentment in this season. It will serve you well in every season of life. Cheering you on!

  • Brooklyn

    Love, love, LOVE this article! It’s simple, down to the point, and practical as to what to do while waiting. We, as single people, aren’t waiting for a guy so we can start living our lives. Life is now.

  • Laura

    Thanks Paula for this wonderful post! It was such an encouragement to me! One of my frustrations has been that people often act like I haven’t started living since I don’t have a guy . While I would be thrilled if God brought a man into my life, I have known a fulfilling and purposeful life as a single. It’s ultimately Christ that gives our lives purpose!

    • Definitely frustrating, Laura. I guess for now you get to show them a different picture than what culture expects. 🙂

      How encouraged I am to hear that you’re experiencing a fulfilling and purposeful life this side of marriage. Yes!! (And why ever not?) 😉

  • Praise the Lord. It’s an encouragement to see that other Christians are “setting their affections on things above,” and things that are practical, rather than focusing on this world/guys. We need to run the race Christ has set before us rather than having our minds RACE about guys and relationships. Thanks for writing this article! 😀

  • Sarah Fox

    This is totally powerful! I just realized that I’m doing some of the same things! I use to think that I was being weird or “boring” because I chose to write and read my Bible rather than go out with a guy, now I know that I’m not alone! Thank you!

    • You bet, Sarah! Far from boring, to meet with the living God and then to write about your experiences. You go, girl!

  • Gracie

    How does one learn to identify their emotions, and why is that important? My sister sometimes asks me how something makes me feel as if my emotions are a deciding factor. My response to her is always ‘it doesn’t matter how I feel about it, what matters is what I’m gonna do about it’.

    • What interesting timing, Gracie . . . I read this quote by Ed Welch just this morning in his excellent book on anxiety. I think you could replace “fears and anxieties” with emotions:

      “There are times to listen to our fears and anxieties because they point us to the things we value. There are times when we don’t listen to them because they point us away from God and his truth.”

      He said this in relation to Psalm 27, where David was obviously NOT listening to his fears (emotions).

      But, like he said, it is important to be aware of what you’re feeling so you can hold your emotions up to the light and see whether they’re true, how to repent if needed, etc.

      Hope that helps,

      paula

  • SaRiNhA

    It’s a big challenge to us wait for some guy and start to live for God, especially when all your friends are dating.However, God works in different ways to our good.

  • Dana Ruth Robles

    Hi Paula! I’m in the waiting process now. The truth is, it’s very hard. People nowadays want instant things but God has His perfect time. Thank you for the encouragement. God bless you.

  • Nene

    I’m in the waiting process right now. I’ve been here for a while. Ive only had crushes and when I had courage to tell a guy I liked him I was ignored or rejected. I’ve seen in your other posts about parents consent how do you know you’re ready or if he’s a Christian or not. Truth be told I don’t think any of that matters. I’m a Christian and I don’t live perfectly I sin. I’m a work in progress, so I don’t expect a man to be some great hope of a white hot Christian. I just hate it that I believe I’m doing the right thing and still have not met anyone. How do I know I will be liked if I have not in my pass. I’ll be 24 on Friday and I don’t feel any better about my singleness. Sometimes all of these answers not just this blogs are cliche.

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      You’re right, Nene…for a follower of Jesus, there’s a world of difference between doing the right thing (living a life of purity) “for” the purpose of receiving something ( a guy) and living a life of purity “from” the reality of who we are as children of God, joint-heirs with Christ, daughters of the King of kings.

      Oh, friend, waiting is hard. It is! But waiting is different when I not only know in my head, but believe in my heart that God is a good, good Father—who is for me and not against me. He’s committed to me; He only gives good gifts to His children… at the right time. He’s not punishing us, because He punished Christ for our sins. He’s not keeping a ledger of being good/or bad.

      Nene, I hear the pain and frustration in what you’ve shared. I wish we could have coffee to talk about these things further…but since we can’t, here are a few resources that have been really helpful to me personally in learning to believe the love of God for me and all that means in the practical realities of daily life.

      • The Gospel Centered Life – ( you would also want to get the leader’s guide) http://stores.newgrowthpress.com/the-gospel-centered-life/

      • Comforts From the Cross https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002E58ODY/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

      • Counsel From the Cross https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002E58ODY/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

      Thank you again for taking the time to comment, Nene.

      Abundant blessings of His grace and peace,
      Carrie