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Holding Patterns

"A holding pattern is God's protection."

Makeda Pennycooke


Do you ever find yourself stuck in uncertainty and in-between? Are you transitioning from one phase of your life to another? One chapter ending, but a new one has not yet begun? Are you looking forward to something but unsure if it will come to fruition? And, of course, there is the uncertainty that lingers for all of us, Covid. Whatever the scenario, it is similar to being in a holding pattern, as my life coach* described it.

A holding pattern. You know the one where you are circling the runway, but it's not quite time to land. So you sit on the plane, anxiety starting to rise. The pilot comes over the loudspeaker and announces it will be some time before landing because the runway is not ready, and well, it's not safe to land right now.

That's how it goes with holding patterns in our life. We are circling the runway until it is ready for us to land. And who exactly is preparing the runway? God. Oh, and by the way, he is also flying the plane. So in our waiting and uncertainty, God is protecting us until it is safe to land. God is sorting out all the details of current and future situations to make the landing smooth and the timing right.

I don't know about you, but flying hasn't always been easy for me. The thought of being in a holding pattern is kind of my worst nightmare. The same can be said about the in-between and uncertain times in my life. So what to do while waiting? Well, I've learned a thing or two about how to deal with my anxiety while flying, and I wondered what if I applied these practices to feelings of uncertainty? It goes something like this:

  • Become aware of what feels scary (or uncertain).

  • Accept these feelings and lean into them instead of resisting.

  • Do a body scan and ask, "where do I feel this in my body?"

  • Breath! My favorite is breathing in for 4, hold for 6, exhale for 8.

  • Release the tension by breathing into it.

  • Trust God.

  • Let go.

  • Practice Joy and Delight (as my life coach calls it). Ask, "What is one thing that brought me joy and delight today?"

  • Repeat.

It's never easy to wait. It's not my strong suit. However, I am grateful for the analogy and image of a plane's holding pattern and its correlation to uncertainty. I know that God is in control of the plane, the landing, and my life. His presence brings me comfort, and His landings are always perfect!

Blessings for peace and calm in times of a holding pattern!

Walking the Journey with You,


*Thanks and credit to Makeda Pennycooke for sharing with me the analogy of holding patterns as they relate to uncertainty so I could share her wise words with you!

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