This is the first post of a three part series on why we are made to wait for something worth having. You might prefer to start with reading the introduction here.
Note: I have created these series using a Colombian couple’s story of the suffering and difficulties that Colombians endured for 30 years and still live today. Through their personal views, experiences and lessons learned, I discovered three great reasons why waiting is a part of our journey to achieving any goal, right through to finding your life’s purpose!
A very special thank you to Lina and Jaime for sharing their story.
We lived in constant panic, afraid to walk the streets, never knowing when firefights between gangs could break out. Some residents of the poorest slums felt completely isolated. They were controlled by local criminal gangs, so violent that even the police feared to go and never went. The whole world feared stepping foot in our country. Every Colombian’s dream was for peace and harmony in the streets. Many of us prayed every day and night that our country would one day transform and shift. We prayed for 30 years!
Today, we are proud of the significant shift that has taken place in Colombia and the drastic drop in violent activities. Most of all, we are thrilled to see the increase in tourism continue to grow from one year to the next.
30 years is a long time to wait, it was necessary!
And it is still necessary. Here’s the first reason.
To Prepare and Develop
Violence was pretty much all we knew. Most of us went about our daily lives in isolation. We needed to be prepared for the shift. Freedom is a great thing, whether it’s freedom within a country or inner freedom. But, freedom can be easily lost if we’re not willing to prepare and develop to handle it. When a prisoner is released after many years, if he has not been prepared and trained to go out in society, he will go back to his old ways and end up back in prison. We needed to be adequately prepared to be a community. Not only a single family or a small neighborhood but, a whole community. Of course, increasing security was a big issue but, so was the need to create opportunities. The public education and health system needed to be improved. Institutes were needed to give people the opportunity to learn and acquire technical and professional skills. Programs and projects were also needed to empower communities to develop innovative ways of finding economic sustainability.
Preparing for any big change in our lives does not happen overnight. Don’t we need to develop certain skills? Don’t we need to develop certain attitudes and behaviors?
With any dream, whether we want to change a bad situation, change careers or pursue our life’s purpose, we will face difficulties and obstacles. We are made to wait to prepare us for the difficult times that will be ahead on our path towards the long-awaited dream.
30 years later, although we have seen a major positive change and have attracted more tourists, the riches of Colombia (Petroleum, Nickel, Gold, Natural Gas, Iron, Silver, Coal, Platinum, Emeralds, Coffee, Fruits and Vegetables) are not representative by the majority of the conditions in which people live. It’s a great richness that is being kept hidden, buried inside the country and not fully being used for the best possible quality of life by all Colombians. Still today, so many of us are made to wait for a ‘better’ quality of life to further prepare and develop our mindsets, behaviors and attitudes to adapt to the change and the implications of it. This transformation is necessary to move forward as individuals and together as a country. It is key to developing and releasing our full hidden individual potential and that of our country.
Let me explain:
Colombians are very patriotic, as you may have noticed (laughing). Only a handful have traveled outside the country. Yes, for some it’s a question of money but, most believe that Colombia has it all, so why go anywhere else? It’s true that there’s so much to see in Colombia and it is a beautiful country, however, we are keeping ourselves stuck in a box, limiting ourselves by our beliefs. You see, for 30 years we grew and lived in a confined way, exposed to an environment and culture that taught us beliefs and behaviors that remained deeply rooted in our hearts and mind. No, I’m not saying we all learned to become drug lords (laughing). It’s more the belief of getting what you want without having to put the effort. The belief that making money and having possessions can be earned quickly without much effort. The belief of competition to achieve success. The belief of protecting yourself and your family regardless of who suffers for it. The belief that possessions, money, status and appearance are the most important things in life.
Because personal change and growth are more important, we are made to wait to become aware and awaken from our thoughts and behaviors to break free from our beliefs which are holding us back and to strengthen our faith.
We are faced with many daily struggles and obstacles as opportunities to learn from our mistakes and develop new attitudes to take charge of our actions by taking responsibility. Waiting is not an injustice or unfairness, although it might seem that way very often. Many times, I have wanted to stomp my feet and cry “It’s not fair!” I felt I had a right to be angry and bitter because I was a good person and didn’t deserve the bad things happening in my life. One day, my grandmother sat me down and reminded me, “Jaime, God’s thinking is different from our way of thinking. He is more interested in the person you’ll become through waiting than what you’ll get at the end of waiting. Seek the meaning of your wait. Accept and pay attention to every moment you’re given. Let go of what needs to be lost and you will feel His miracle inside you, around you and changing you.” So, I learned that the wait is what will fulfill the purpose in my life not destroy it.
- When someone treats me unfairly, I realize that they are on their own life’s journey as well. I don’t have to accept being treated unfairly. But, the way I respond may help them on their path in fulfilling their purpose. I have been chosen to cross their paths as an opportunity to help them in their wait and further help me to grow as a person.
- When I feel a strong need to fight for justice (especially in my country), I will bring myself in a calm, peaceful state in order to carefully plan and take action.
- With all the corruption and other problems in Colombia, I realize that I can’t physically and personally make others change their decisions and behaviors if they aren’t willing to, but I can chose to respond in a way that can help educate and influence them.
I’m so grateful for the growth of tourism in Colombia. Every day, Colombians are given the opportunity to learn about different cultures and open themselves to different beliefs. We have a long way to go; the journey may not always be the one we imagined. We must embrace the wait and accept challenges as an opportunity to transform ourselves. Sometimes we will make mistakes and will face the consequences of our mistakes. We must take responsibility for them and not blame the lack of options or the decisions of others. We all have the power to turn any circumstance into positive actions.
Our response to these obstacles and circumstances will determine how long we will wait. They are precious moments being given to us to prepare for the greatest gifts we will receive.
Yes, it does require patience (Next post: Building Patience transforms our lives!)
The full series are:
To Prepare and Develop
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Have you experienced waiting for something worth having? If so, how did the wait prepare and develop you? Or, maybe you are waiting now. Is there something you’re meant to prepare or develop?