Is it possible to Dream Big and still be Thankful for everything we have? Can we have both Goals and Gratefulness?
While on the way home from church yesterday, my husband and I were talking about the places we’d visit if we had the chance, and discussing other dreams, like mine to go to the ACFW conference. To which my wise (sometimes a little too smart) seven year-old, piped up from the backseat, “Mom, you should just be grateful for what you have, and not worry about all the stuff you don’t have.” That really got me thinking. Of course, my first inward reaction was to feel a little affronted by my little mini-adult. But then I realized, maybe she was right.
What if I was spending so much time worrying about my dreams and goals, that I had forgotten to be thankful for what I DO have?
I thought about that a lot yesterday. And I think the conclusion I came to was this– Yes, there is room for both, but within a healthy balance of each other. In the New Testament, the gospel writers refer to ‘running a race’ when it comes to living our lives and fulfilling God’s plan for our lives. When you run a race, you have a goal, right? That finish line is your prize. It is your destination. It is the point of running and why you worked so hard. It’s what you’ve trained for, and you run it with passion. Do you walk it, strolling along, half-heartedly? (Well, if you run like me, maybe. But back to the metaphor…)
No! You run with all of your strength and with all of your might to the finish line, toward that goal, that dream that’s a part of you and who God created you to be. My point is, I do believe God created us not to be satisfied with the status quo. He created us to want something more. Some of that, of course, is to feel the absence of Him in our hearts so that we will seek Him out, and find Him through Jesus Christ. But also, I believe, He planted dreams within us and gifts to use for His Kingdom. That is our race. And we race to win.
… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. -Hebrews 12: (part) 1-2 NIV (Bold is mine.)
His Word tells us it is good to work toward the dreams and goals He has set before us. Of course, it is between you and Him as to what those are. When it comes to the end of this ‘race’ called life, this is how I pray I will feel:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
– 2 Timothy 4: 7 NIV (Bold is mine.)
Now, here’s the tricky part. We also need to be thankful for what we have, correct? So how can we live in this moment, right now, with grateful hearts for what He has blessed us with, but also run that race toward those dreams? Sigh. That is no easy task. If you’re anything like me, with a big Big BIG dream like becoming a published author, then that is a tall order. For dreams don’t fulfill themselves. We do our part to make those dreams a reality; with lots of work, time, tears, research, connecting with others, learning, trial and error, etc., etc.
However, the balance comes in when we rest. We must rest. God rested on the Sabbath, and so must we. When we take time with our Lord to pray, to read His Word, and reflect on His blessings in our lives and His answered prayer; we can’t help but be grateful for all He has done for us. When we spend time laughing with our families, enjoying a meal together, snuggling with little ones; we can’t help but be thankful for these lovely people– big and small– that He has placed in our lives. A verse that inspired me when I was a young Christian, comes to mind:
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” -Psalm 46:10 NIV (Bold is mine.)
Doesn’t that make you want to take a breath, to take that much needed moment to smell the proverbial roses? It does me. I want to rest in the knowledge that He is God, and I am not. The race will be run, but taking time to be thankful and live in the moment are good for the soul. We all need that.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. -1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV (Bold is mine.)
Is it easy to have a balance between Goals and Gratefulness? No. Will you always have the ideal balanced between them? If you’re human, (And I assume we haven’t successfully accomplished that kind of A. I., yet, so you are.) then no, you won’t.
But it is possible to have both, and I do believe God intended it that way. We are complicated creatures, with eternity built into the fabric of who we are. So, go, dream Big. Run that race, my friends, and don’t stop. Don’t give up. But don’t forget to smell the roses, live in the moment, love others, and be grateful for the life you have along the way.
So, how are you doing with the balancing act of life? What goals and dreams do you have? I’d love to hear from fellow dreamers!
Image thanks to khunaspix on http://www.freedigitalphotos.net
Bible verses New International Version, Biblegateway.com