Are you stuck? Do you have a dream? These questions came from some conservations that I had this week with a few friends. During our conversations, I found they all had one thing in common; they felt stuck.
If this sounds like your situation, I am here to encourage you to get your dream out; it is time to dust it off and move forward. If you have no dream, dig a little deeper to find it. I believe that everyone has been given dreams. Those dreams, no matter how small you may think they are, are HUGE. They are your dreams, and you should treasure those dreams. Most importantly, never let go of those dreams; move forward with your dreams.
I have been reading a story in the Bible about a dream. The story is of King David and his dream to build a grand temple for God. Ever since God brought his people out of bondage from Egypt, the ark of God's covenant was housed in a tent that moved from place to place. David tells his dream to his trusted friend, Nathan, and he encourages David to move forward with his plans. I can see David putting his dream to paper and beginning to plan the details.
The next day, David learns from Nathan that his dream would not happen the way he thought it would. See, God comes to Nathan and has him tell David some, I am sure, disappointing news. God tells David that he would not be allowed to build the temple because he was a man of war and had shed so much blood. God promises David that instead, his legacy would carry out the dream of building the temple. His son Solomon would have the honor of seeing David's dream come to a realization. What a bummer! You would think at that moment David would feel stuck, give up, and have a pity party?
Instead, David praised God for all his promises and continued to plan. He knew his son Solomon was young and would need help in completing such a grandeur project. David took his dream, set goals, and put action steps to get things ready to help Solomon be successful in the building. David bought the property where the temple and altar would be built. He secured money, building materials, and artisans for the project.
David did not let a change in the dream stop him from dreaming and working toward the ultimate goal.
This story reminded me of a time in my life, a very long time ago. In my 8th grade year, I met the most precious woman that would have a lasting impact on my life, Lona Pearl Barnett. Mrs. Lona Pearl came to our school to tell us of a work program available to us in our Junior and Senior years of high school. This program would allow us to go to school for half a day, attend a one-hour class at our vocational school, and then work the rest of the day. The best part is we got paid for working and gained credits that we could count towards graduation. What?!?
Talk about a dream sparking; I was on cloud nine. See, I wouldn't say I liked school. Oh, I made good grades and worked hard, but I had no intention of going to college. I wanted to get to 12th grade, graduate, and do anything besides go to college. That visit was a sign that my dream could come true. Now, I had to figure out how to achieve my goal.
I put my dream to paper and began to plan. I worked up my schedule for 9th – 12th grade; even made a plan B. I polished the speech that I would give to mom and dad to convenience them that I needed a car by my junior year. I prayed and worked diligently through my plan, and finally, the day came; when I finished telling mom and dad of my big dream and plans, they threw a few things at me that I had not thought about. There seemed to be one bump in the road after another. But, I have the best family. They never discouraged me; they wanted to be sure I was fully prepared to move forward with my dream. They agreed that if I held my end of the deal, they would see that I had a car. Yep, you got it right; I started dreaming about that new car. Let me tell you, I dreamed of some beauties.
My sophomore year ended with much excitement. My car arrived, and it was time to meet with Mrs. Lona Pearl. First, the car, but it was not the car of my dreams. Mom and dad kept their end of the deal; they provided me the vehicle that would get me back and forth on my new adventure. I was handed down mom's baby blue, 4-door, 1976/77 Ford Granada. The old family car was to be my new ride. This car drank a quart of oil every time you cranked it, but she was mine, and I had a mechanic dad that would keep her running for me. Now to meet and lay my goals out for Mrs. Lona Pearl so she could begin to search for my dream job. She asked me some questions to find out what job would best fit me. Here is how my list went – I want a Monday – Friday job, off at 5:00 pm; I did not want to work on the weekends, especially on Sunday, no fast food or waitress jobs, no retail jobs. I was determined to be a career woman, and I need to be in an office. She never blinked an eye, took down all my goals, and went to work to find the perfect job for me. My junior year arrived, and I began my Monday – Friday, off at 5:00 pm, clerical job in the Superintendent of Education's office. I could not have been any happier; my dream had come true.
Like David, things changed a little bit, things got moved around, and things happened that caused me not to finish my dream precisely the way I wanted to finish. But, the dream got finished. I moved forward. There were several times I felt stuck and could have given up. I kept dreaming and moving forward.
What's your dream? Do you have a goal? Have you let your dreams go to the wayside to die? Start planning, start dreaming with those goals. Start doing those things that you have to do to achieve your dream. At least for me, the first thing is to take that dream to God in prayer. I had to ask if this was the dream and goal that I needed to move forward on. See, David took his dream to a friend first. Yes, an encouraging friend, but not the first place that he should have gone. . Second, write those goals down, put action steps to the plan. Here is the problem, many of us have dreams, but we never put them to paper. Start writing them down, plan, and begin checking off the steps as you take them.
I want to encourage you to move forward. If you have dreamed of going back to school, a new job, a promotion, building a home, starting a family, owning your own business, whatever it may be, move forward. Surround yourself with people that will advise, challenge, and lift you up. People who are like-minded and will be there to give you the encouragement you will need on your journey to reaching your dream. There are so many times, especially as women, that we put ourselves on the back burner. Especially when it comes to our family. We want to see our family members, particularly our children, succeed. For me, it was my husband's dreams that I wanted to see come to fruition. Whether it was him having a successful and meaningful career, getting that prized boat, or his ultimate retirement goal. Just as I have been his biggest fan, I have been incredibly blessed to have a soulmate who wants the same. He has always stood behind my dreams of going back to school, advancing in my career, building our home, having a child, and starting my own business. Never would he let me give up. He has always been there for the bumps in the road or mountains that got in my way.
Hey, moving forward is hard; it is work. There will be times when you will be detoured, derailed, and fail. If you are not failing, you are not growing. Don't worry if you fall; it is okay. Just like I teach my daughter, get back up, pull up your britches, dust off your knees, and move forward. You just grew from that fall. If you are in your comfort zone, you are not growing. Nothing ever grows in the comfort zone. God has a purpose for you. Even the Apostle Paul says to be like a runner. A runner has the purpose of reaching the goal of finishing the race. Dreams don't come true, and goals are not achieved because of luck. It happens because you put one foot in front of the other, and you keep going.