We all have dreams. Something we long to do, see, accomplish, or become. Maybe it’s more of an aspiration; maybe it’s a full-fledged longing. Yet often those dreams seem too far out of reach. We deem them impossible before we ever set out a plan to accomplish them. Or, tired of trying and failing, we become irritated and discouraged by the plateau we can never escape. So what do we do? We set our dreams on a shelf.
What dream have you placed on a shelf? Did you set it up there yesterday? Or has been collecting dust over years of neglect?
If you’re recalling that dream right now, no matter how distant it is, I would say it still very much matters to you. It’s nearly impossible to let go of our dreams, or maybe our dreams don’t let go of us. Whatever the case, it’s time to take it off the shelf, make a plan, and get to work.
And that’s the sucky part.
On Saturday I determined to refinish the coffee table I bought a year ago on a virtual garage sale with the intention of refinishing. A year ago. I’ve looked at that coffee table 1,000 times in the last 365+ days and came up with excuse after excuse about how I didn’t have the time, energy, patience, or materials to refinish that table. Until Saturday. I realized that everyone else on Instagram seems to refinish furniture on Saturday and it was about time I do too.
It’s a beautiful, breezy, Saturday, birds chirping, our new puppy lazily catching both rays of sunshine and taunting mosquito hawks. I put on my mask, get out the sander, and go to town! Only sanding is the worst. I realize after sanding the top of the table that there’s a lot more of the table to sand. 4 sides! And 4 legs with 4 sides apiece! I question whether or not it’s worth it. There are so many other things I could do that don’t cause my hand to go numb and saw dust threatening to choke out everyone in the neighborhood.
I think about how easily Chip and Joanna Gaines remodel an entire house in one hour and it’s going to take me at least three to finish sanding this stupid thing. How in the world does Clint Harper make GIANT tables for her and still be her friend? I resolve that I’m never refinishing another piece of furniture again.
Because accomplishing something is hard. It takes work. It takes time. Refinishing a table requires hard work and so does accomplishing that dream of yours. In a world where people get famous by accident and it seems their wildest dreams come true with one post, it’s easy to get discouraged. But if that discouragement leads us to put our dream away, we will never know what could happen with it! Our longing will never be satisfied if we don’t put in the work required. We have to commit to the discipline, the dedication, and the stuff that will never be applauded or recognized. We just have to.
So I keep sanding and sanding and sanding. Trying to console the puppy that hates loud noises and sits by the back door looking at me with those sad puppy-dog eyes, begging me to let him inside. But we don’t know each other that well yet, and what I do know of this sweet pup is that he can’t be trusted in the house unsupervised. So he and I must both endure the awful process of sanding.
And guess what? Eventually, it’s done. The sanding is over. The hard work has been put in; the finished product can be visualized. This is the fun part. No more lame sanding. Now I can relax a little and enjoy the simplicity of painting. I grab the primer and settle into a rhythm. I have grand plans of painting this table an antique white and distressing the edges. But you can’t do all of that right away. Once the primer goes on, you have to wait. Once that dries you can paint, but then you have to wait before you can sand it or add another coat. Waiting is almost worse than sanding.
When we get a glimpse of what could be, when we see our dreams begin to take shape, or we come up with a plan that helps us reach our goals, there’s still a process that must take place. We often have to wait. This time of waiting does not mean we throw in the towel. Waiting doesn’t mean that our dreams won’t become our reality. It just means not now.
I believe waiting can mean one of two things:
- It’s not time yet for this dream to come to fruition.
- Your dream for you & God’s dream for you are not the same.
If option 2 is the case, then you need more time for God to shift your heart so that your dream and His dream are the same.
If option 1 is the case, that’s okay! Keep pressing on.
Regardless, we respond in the same way. We keep working hard; we keep waiting, trusting that God will lead us, believing that the dreams He’s placed in our hearts have purpose. So your take your dream off the shelf. Let’s see what happens!
What dream have you ignored? What are you challenged to do with your dreams?