Your Dream Stinks

Do you ever feel like life is passing you by?

I have been having this feeling a lot lately. The imminence of my 40th birthday probably has a lot to do with this. And the mischievous toddler (or whirlwind, as we are wont to call her!) who fills my days might have something to do with it too.

I never expected to be changing diapers when I was pushing 40. I guess I expected that by this time in my life, I would have some clear direction on what I was supposed to be when I grew up. But here I am on this threshold and I still have no idea what I am supposed to do with my life.

Part of the problem might be my endless ambition and the expectations that I have for myself. There are a lot of dreams that I have and many of them I have started pursuing only to run into a brick wall that feels insurmountable. Ready to focus on writing and I find out I’m pregnant instead. Ready to get serious about photography only to find that my current computer and photo uploading system are incompatible with each other. Ready to work beside others on book projects only to discover that I don’t seem to have what it takes.

A couple of weeks ago all of these feelings came to a head for me. I was feeling like a failure. Inept kept coming to mind as a description for myself. At every turn, I was met with frustration. And then this past weekend, I had an epiphany. What if all of these seeming failures are simply meant to point me to what God is already doing, what He has already done in me?

More than any other time in my life, these frustrations have forced me to pursue God’s Word. My love for truth is growing deeper and stronger. My one word for the year, dignity, has me figuratively falling on my face on a regular basis. My little whirlwind fills me with the greatest joy and her life is the sweetest dream I didn’t know I wanted to have (along with the three storms that came before her!).

My dreams for my life have tricked me into thinking that I am unsuccessful until I reach them. I look at women decades younger than myself who have already achieved my dreams and I begin to feel like I have missed the boat. But how can I believe that life is a journey, that every story matters, that God has a beautiful plan and purpose for every life, and not accept the journey He has me on, the story He is writing in me, and then trust in His perfect timing?

I don’t want to be cliche, but what it comes down to is this~ I don’t get to make judgments on my own life, determining my success or failure based on circumstances. Of course, I am responsible for my own choices and for working hard, but if I am being honest with myself in my heart of hearts, my life is truly beautiful. I have the best husband for me. I could go on and on about how wonderful he is, but perhaps we will save that post for Valentine’s day. Or maybe HIS 40th birthday! Our quiver is full of children who fill our hearts and our lives in beautiful ways. Yes, it is trying. No, they are not perfect. But man, are they FUN. They are spunky, compassionate, and tenacious little people and the fact that I get to spend the rest of my life loving and leading them is an incredible blessing, one that I do not want to diminish in any way. Also, I kind of love being a pastor’s wife. It was never my dream, yet God has seen fit to place me in this role, one that I am growing up into. It is overwhelming at times as our church is growing in numbers, yet my heart longs to know each one, to lovingly care for them. Sometimes I feel like a failure even in this, because I struggle with disorganization, so when I forget something important or fail to return a phone call, I visualize a big “L” on my forehead. Why do I do this? No one else expects perfection from me, so why do I expect it from myself?

I have a dream and whether I achieve that dream by the time I’m 40 or by the time I’m 80 really isn’t up to me. It’s up to the Author and Perfecter of my faith. Life is not about failure, it is about faithfulness.

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,

according to his power that is at work within us,

to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations,

for ever and ever! Amen. ~ Ephesians 3:20,21