Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wanting It Now

by Donna L. Watkins

So many people have told me how lucky I am to be able to travel so much. I am definitely a blessed woman, but not at all lucky. I've made sacrifices to get to do what's important to me. We all do that, don't we? Some sacrifice for a big screen television or a new car.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Crested Guans - La Selva, Costa Rica
Some of us don't have enough patience in some areas of life. I certainly have little in many areas, but it's human nature to want it now, whether it's stuff or some form of healing for health or relationships. Deferred gratification is not a popular topic, and long-range goals don't get any easier than they've been for the generations before us.

Often, we don't believe in ourselves or love ourselves enough to live within the framework of our dreams. I've certainly had a challenge doing that ... even with my recent three weeks in Costa Rica. If it weren't for health issues, I probably would not have gone this year or last year. I can always come up with more practical things to do ... and life escapes your grasp pretty fast, so don't stay in that rut too long.

For far too many, dreams are forgotten. People give up their dreams because we've been ingrained with instant gratification, not only from the media, but with the speed of advancement in technology, the cultural climate demands instant access and continual upgrades/newer versions of what we already have.

There are dreams that you can't make happen today, you've got to plan for them and work towards them, and yes, you'll have to sacrifice for them. If your mentality is not trained towards delayed gratification, you simply think it's not possible. Patience is not a virtue I possess, but I've learned to wait out the necessary time frames to do things I truly desire to make happen.

For some, if you can't have it now, then it's not worth having. That's okay, as long as your heart doesn't pine away wanting something more than the now you have. Many trade in their future dreams for what they can have now. Better cars, bigger houses, the newest gadgets and toys, a bigger and best resolution television screen, eating out, and the list goes on and on. And if you're charging any of this on credit cards, your dreams are being fed to the banking system of interest payments.

So, how do we get into another way of living? One that thinks and plans for the future and not just simply today. One that will light your passion and desires within to be able to stay focused long enough to make your dreams come true. Those dreams will keep swirling in your head, and as you age, they'll become more like nightmares because you begin to realize you're probably not going to make them happen.

However, regardless of your age, you can still move towards your dreams. They're still not going to come about NOW, but in five or ten years from now, every day will have a date on the calendar just like today ... and at that point in time, it will be today, and it will be now. So, with a little bit of patience not every today has to be lived without your dreams coming true.

If your dreams require somebody else to change or be something they are not, then that's not a dream, that's simply control and codependency. You can only live your own life. God didn't give us any deeds of ownership of somebody else's life, not even our own children's. Just because we birthed them, doesn't mean we own them. They were created to be who God wants them to be, not who we want them to be. We all have enough managing our own life - get off the control command center of everybody else's.

If your life revolves around needing people to change, you might want to consider a workbook called, Conquering Co-Dependency: A Christ-Centered 12-Step Process. My husband has used this workbook in many of the groups he's facilitated. There are a lot of churches using it, so call around and get plugged in if you'd prefer a group setting.

If your dreams are packed away due to financial issues, they're very much possible. If you have income, you may be able to live well on less than what you're making, so you can put away for your dreams and future. Join The Frugal Life community which has over 16,000 members in the forum. The website can help you find ways to save money, to reuse things you already have, give you tips on making things or fix-it-yourself projects.

You can learn a lot about living frugally so you can save for your dreams. Search the website, search the forum, visit the blog. When you believe in your dreams, you'll dig deep to find ways to make them happen.

We did it, so I am speaking from experience. Our dream was not only to be able to travel more, we wanted to be able to support more Christian organizations involved in projects and programs that we were passionate about. We decided to get out of debt and not have even a mortgage payment since the amount of interest we paid to the bank was more than enough to cover travel and contributions.

We had just built a new home and had made $11,000 the year before. It didn't look possible on paper, but it was nothing less than a miracle that in seven years we had the home and all credit paid off. Focus will make things happen when you take God's hand. Read the related articles below for details on our journey.

We learned a lot and have become more of who we enjoy being by being out of debt. And God did amazing things when we just took the step towards Him by setting up a strict budget and living within it. Our dreams were more important than our day-to-day desires and wants.

Because one of my dreams many years before that was to stay at home with my child, I began an at-home business with Nature's Sunshine because I believed in natural health principles since they had changed my life around when the doctors could not. I also liked the possibility of earning award trips and in 27 years with them, we've traveled around the world.

Dreams do come true, but like anything else you have to work at it. Sitting a few recipe cards on the kitchen counter in the morning will not turn into a gourmet 5-course dinner ready to serve when you walk in the house in the evening. I'm still thinking that method will work for some of my dreams, and regardless of how many you make come true, God doesn't stop giving them to you, so it's always a choice to keep stepping up to the challenge.

The Bible tells us the poor will always be with us. My thoughts on that are that God knows that some people will never believe in themselves to pull themselves up to where they desire to be. Probably because nobody believed in them while they were growing up. Our roots have the ability to keep us planted without hope, but you do have the choice to Uproot Yourself and Move On.

Maybe you need a dream. You've surely had some, but you abandoned them so long ago, you don't even remember what they were about. Get alone with God one day at a park or on a nature trail or if you live on the coast sit by the sea. Take a notebook and be prepared for God to pour out your very heart and soul into that journal, if you will simply ask Him what His dreams are for you.

Most people know what their dream is, but they don't consider it a "sensible" thing. Surely something we would enjoy so much could not be what we're here for. It seems it would be so selfish. Isn't life supposed to be challenging and a bit rough and tough? Dreams make life look too easy and make-believe, like a fairy tale story that is only meant to entertain the mind when things are low and heavy and we accept the invitation to our own pity party.

Not so! God puts those dreams within us to stir us up to move towards them so He can create something more out of and through them then we could ever imagine. Doesn't it make simple sense that if we're living in our dreams, we'll be more alive and on fire to share the hope of Christ within us? No wonder the devil tells us to give up and stuff them away.

Dreams tend to be filed in the elusive someday mentality file ... but some days never come unless they're planned for. Develop a bit of time each week to think about and plan a pathway towards your dreams. It's not going to happen now, especially if finances are involved, and especially if you've allowed yourself to get into a lot of debt. We can all blame the economy, but if you look around your home, you'll see what you exchanged for your dreams lying scattered about or crammed into drawers and closets or boxes in the attic.

How often have you purchased something that you already had ... just to have one a little bit different or better? Much of what is purchased are simply "upgrades" on what's already owned, and what's already owned is already in excess (clothes, shoes, books, music and movies, gadgets, even food). Use the library. We get books, videos, DVDs and music free. We don't have a need to own it all. Matter of fact selling a lot of what we did own was one way of paying off some debt.

Gather up some ideas from the related articles. Catch a glimpse of what you want your life to be like. One of the books I've enjoyed along the way to keep me motivated was The Practical Dreamer's Handbook: Finding the Time, Money, and Energy to Live Your Dreams.

Inspiration is needed to make dreams come true. Everybody around you will discourage you and the media will tell you how bleak and hopeless the world is ... but when you live within your dream, there is only peace and joy in all things. Go ahead ... picture a place where you can go and discuss this with God. Schedule it now.

Related Articles:
Having It All
Security - Is It In the Stuff?
There Is A Way Out
Lighten The Load

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