Here we are at the beginning of a brand new year, filled with possibilities. This is a time of anticipation and hope for the future.
I recently read something that asked the thought-provoking question, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
If you are having difficulty coming up with an answer to this, it’s been too long!
What better time than now? I’m not talking about making New Year’s resolutions. Over the years I’ve made many of these; some have been successfully achieved and many others have not. All too often they are forgotten in a couple of months or even weeks.
It’s not another resolution I’m referring to here but the opportunity to follow your dreams, goals and passions. They may seem out of reach. Is it crazy to take steps towards something that you can’t be certain of?
I guess that depends if you can be content in your safe, predictable life or if you want more. I’ve discovered by forcing myself to stretch I can reach much more than I thought possible.
I needed to step out of my comfort zone and do something that required a leap of faith. This required suspending my limiting thoughts and believing in the possibilities.
A quote by Mark Batterson (author of The Circle Maker) helped me put this into perspective. “I learned that if you’re not willing to put yourself in ‘this is crazy’ situations, you’ll never experience ‘this is awesome’ moments.
So, call me crazy but I am determined to start this year not with resolutions, but with embracing first time experiences and the possibilities they hold. I hope you will do the same. It’s going to be awesome!
I have a friend whose son has recently achieved his longtime dream of becoming a commercial pilot. She told me a story of one of his first flights and gave me permission to share.
Her son came home and said, “Mom, I was always the child that wanted to sit in an aisle seat with the hope of being able to see into the cockpit. I would lean into the aisle and watch for the cockpit door to be opened so I could get a glimpse inside. At the time I wondered if I would ever be able to fly an airplane.”
On one of his first flights, he looked back when a flight attendant opened the door to ask a question. There he saw people down the aisle of the plane, straining to get a look into the cockpit, where he now sat. This moment took him back to the childhood memory and reinforced that he has achieved his dream.
I loved this story and thought of how sometimes we need to look back to where we once were in order to see how much we’ve accomplished. I’ve been told there are only two good reasons for looking into the past; one is to learn from it and the other is to see how far we’ve come.
This is a good reminder for me. I can easily get frustrated because I haven’t achieved all that I hoped to. The next time this happens, I need to stop and think of the progress I have made. I may not be where I wanted to be but I am not where I once was.
Sometimes the only way to realize how far I’ve come is to remember where I started from. This is a good lesson for all of us.
Have you ever tucked away mementos for safe-keeping and then forgotten about them? I have. Recently I opened a drawer to place something else inside and knew it was time to sort through the over-stuffed contents.
Everything was removed as I considered whether to keep or discard the items. A large stack of cards from a milestone birthday took up half the drawer. I enjoyed reading them before they went to recycling. Assorted family photos brought back many happy memories. Those went back in the drawer.
Photo ID cards for my husband and me from Expo 86 in Vancouver showed that time hasn’t been standing still. In my mind, I look the same, but the mirror tells a different story!
Most of the items were familiar but one caught me by surprise. I don’t remember it and have no idea who gave it to me. Since it was with items more than ten years old, I’m assuming this bookmark has been tucked away quite some time.
The words You Are a Lover of Words . . . One Day, You Will Write a Book” are printed at the top. A lovely sentiment is below. Today you know me as a writer, but what you may not know, is I only started writing five years ago. Three years ago, my first book was released.
Someone saw a gift in me many years before I had the confidence to believe in myself. Now, reading this bookmark brings tears to my eyes. I was meant to be a writer. Pretending it wasn’t possible didn’t stop the process, only delayed it. The voice in my head telling me I wasn’t good enough was lying.
I’m telling you this because I believe many of you have also let this critical voice stop you from going after your dreams. Don’t believe the lies. Tell it to STOP and then go and do what you were born to do.
It had been many years since we’d planted tulip bulbs and I was watching the progress with great anticipation. Several were almost ready to bloom. I took a picture of one of the buds and planned to take another when the flower was in full bloom.
Well, I did get another picture of this stalk, but it was not what I had hoped for. The nice, plump bud had been eaten by the wild rabbit that lives in our neighbourhood. Several more of these promising flowers had suffered the same fate.
There are still a few buds remaining so either our furry friend had his fill or moved on to sample the fare in another garden. Either way, I can’t count on this not being repeated with the other flowers.
Yes, I am disappointed. Being upset won’t do me any good, though, so I started looking for the life lesson that must be there for me. It didn’t take long to find!
There are times in life I have had great plans that haven’t quite made it to fruition. Like the blooms, they were so close I could almost smell their fragrance. At the last minute, something came along and nipped them in the bud.
Maybe the opportunity wasn’t the right one for me. Perhaps I had more to learn. No matter the reason, I need to keep planting my dreams and goals. It can be scary to risk again knowing things may not turn out the way I hope. The chance is worth it though because that’s what helps me learn and grow.
“If you are never scared, embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take chances.” Julia Soul
The small fishing boat anchored near shore seemed to be an attraction for several pelicans. They hovered nearby, a few in the air and others approaching on the water.
When we got closer, it was easy to see what was luring them to the boat. The fisherman was cleaning his catch. As he sliced into the fish, the unwanted pieces were tossed overboard. Instead of going to the work of catching their own fish, these birds were happy to feast on the unwanted scraps.
I wondered how often in life I’ve been happy to settle for scraps when, with a little effort, I could have had so much more.
Do I work hard towards my goals and dreams or give up thinking they require more talent or ambition than I possess? Is it much easier to associate with those who have achieved what I desire, hoping some of their talent will spill over on me? Maybe they will have an abundance of what I’m looking for and I can hover nearby for the scraps.
This is not a pretty picture, but one I’m sure I’ve been guilty of at one time or another. Watching these birds settling for scraps was a visible reminder of who I don’t want to be.
What I’m reaching for won’t happen overnight, but given time and dedication, is achievable. If I truly believe in myself there will be no need to settle for scraps.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt
“All great achievements require time.” Maya Angelou
“Never underestimate your own strength. You were born for a purpose and are blessed with the power to achieve it.” Leon Brown
Our seven-year old grandson was spending a couple of days with us. Two adults to spoil him and no siblings to share the attention with made for one very happy boy.
As I played Snakes and Ladders with him he said things like, “What if I gone one more and got to go up the ladder?” or “What if you got three instead of five and had to go down the snake?”
This line of thinking continued after the game. I’d hear, “What if …” and he would talk about a fantastic make-believe experience. I soon realized that our time together was filled with “What ifs?” In his imagination there were no boundaries. He was free to dream, limited by nothing more than the power of his mind.
I marveled at this and wondered how different my life would be if I adopted this attitude. Instead of limiting myself, based on fears of failure, I would say, “What if” and follow my dreams.
Someone once told me that it was far better to say, “What if” and then work to make it happen, than to look back and say, “If only.” I may not always succeed, but will not suffer the regrets of having never tried.
What I need to remember is that none of my “What ifs” are too big for God to bring to fruition. In fact, many of these may be dreams that he has planted deep in my heart. When I was struggling with self-doubts, a good friend changed the course of my life by saying, “What if God wants to bless you with this?”
If it is truly a dream that God has given me, he is more than able to make it happen. I just need to trust and go along for the adventure.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in good time. 1 Peter 5:6 NIV
Our strawberry plants have flourished this year. We have already harvested more berries than ever before and there are many more still growing. After some very sparse years, it’s exciting to be reaping this bounty.
We haven’t done anything different with the plants this year. They have been cared for in exactly the same way as previous years. Perhaps it just took them this long to mature to their full potential.
This is a fairly accurate description of my life. There have been times that I have worked hard but not obtained the results I had hoped for. Sometimes the disappointment has been enough to make me quit. I may have even been in reach of my goal but just not realized it. Dreams and goals will never be achieved if I give up.
Fortunately, God has never given up on me. No matter how long it takes to mature into the person he wants me to be, he is always there nurturing me. In his loving care my life can reap a harvest like never before.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
We sat on a bench in the sunshine enjoying the sights and sounds of children in the playground. When we first arrived there with our grandchildren I heard shouts of, “Take my picture;” “Look at me;” or “Push me on the swing.” The longer we were there, the less the adults were noticed.
What impressed me was the imagination of children at play. They were unselfconsciously creating the worlds that existed in their minds. New children arriving were welcomed into the fantasy. During this time anything was possible. We watched as one became a superhero. Another waved an invisible magic want to make it rain cookies for those around her!
At one point in life I must have had the same creative imagination. I wonder when and why it disappeared. Perhaps it was when I became too concerned with what others thought. In striving to be like everyone else, I gave up the freedom to dream about who I could become.
The good news is that Jesus has bigger dreams for my life than I could ever dream for myself. He is not limited by my lack of imagination. He also has the power and ability to bring those dreams to reality. My part in this is to pray for his leading and then trust and let him direct me. Instead of limiting his power in my life by asking, “Who am I to …?” I need to give him full reign by saying, “In his power, who am I not to?”
For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, put gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV