I’m very much the type to look forward to the future. It’s not a bad thing to look forward to the next seasons of life or the next step in a business plan… until it is. I often have to check myself and whether I’m living right now or stuck in the future I’ve idealized.
I know I want a man in my life that pursues– if he wants to, he will, after all (something I learned the hard way and still fight myself often not to take on that role myself).
I know I want a family of three or four kids. I’d love to have at least two be my own, Lord willing, and to adopt at least one.
I know I want to be a published author of a full-length memoir or collection one day, and to maybe even have my own business somehow that somehow combines two of my favorite things– growing flowers and making art of all mediums.
I know I want…
The list goes on, but the list is not the point.
The point is that all these things start right now.
This morning (as I’m writing this, at least) I was talking with a couple of friends, and somehow the conversation shifted to how many kids they wanted. One gets to occasionally take care of her nephew, and the other joked about his nervousness about holding and handling such a delicate, small human being. I didn’t think too much of it in the moment, but tonight on my drive home I was thinking about it for some reason. I posed the question to the Lord in my mind, and immediately He reminded me of my biggest fear.
My biggest fear is ironically my biggest dream on this side of eternity: to be a mother. My response? Though I’m certainly not perfect in doing so, I often hold that lower part of my stomach during worship where my womb is. It wasn’t a conscious decision I made, or something I realized I did much of until recently. I think someone asked me why a few weeks ago and I just… didn’t have an answer. I wanted to know that answer. Why do I do this?
It starts now, that’s why.
Abraham and Sarah did not have Issac until they were so old there was no other reason but God that they were able to conceive. Noah did not build the ark in a day. King David did not become a man after God’s own heart in one day. Jesus did not die on the cross the same day He was born.
The same is true of the seasons we long for. Living in the idealized versions of these seasons right now does not get you to the actual season ahead. Listing out the kind of decor I want for my wedding will not get me out there to meet my future husband. It will not exercise the wisdom and discernment of the dating process for me.
What will get me there is the very command from God that has stuck with me in my recent study of Zechariah:
Just as you, Judah and Israel, have been a curse among the nations, so I will save you, and you will be a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.”Zechariah 8:13 (NIV)
There’s also so much wisdom in Proverbs 31, and nowhere in it does it say or suggest that the “Proverbs 31 woman” is merely a daydreamer. In fact, one of the few things this proverb tells us this woman does not do is “eat the bread of idleness” (31:27). The proverb does not say when this active lifestyle starts, but simply states she is active by the repeated simple sentence structures of “She [insert present tense verb] …”
And I think some part of me has know this since the moment I recalled in this short personal essay. I knew that regardless of whether or not there was a little human growing in me (though I doubt there was, the possibility still haunts me), God’s promise was and is as good as done. Who He says I am is who I am, even if I’m not presently being that. Just like Jesus is coming back to claim His bride– that is Truth, and there is no changing the fact that He will come back no matter what else happens.
And by no means am I saying that any desire placed in you is of God. Of course the heart is deceitful above all things, but we should also remember that God does plant desires in our hearts (or allow them) for a reason. So with every desire or goal or aspiration I have now, I’m learning to ask first and foremost, “How will this bring glory to Him?“
Rather, what I’m getting at is that desire my be fulfilled in ways you wouldn’t have previously imagined. There are men out there who long to be fathers, but are not biologically fathers. Those that have regardless decided to prepare themselves for the possibility of one day being so often become some of the greatest father figures in youth groups and children’s ministries. There are women out there who are barren, and yet have devoted themselves to maintaining motherly disciplines and have thus prepared themselves for an arguably greater love of taking other children in as her own through adoption or fostering.
So if what you want is to be a parent one day, start now.
If what you want is to get married one day, be that person’s suppose now, even if you don’t know who your spouse might be yet.
If you want to start that business, do the research– start now– even if that means finding a full-time night shift at Walmart to save up the money to start it.
I don’t say this as someone who’s applied all of this perfectly to my life. Quite the contrary, actually. I write this as someone who is wholly convicted, who is probably just as scared to handle a small child on my own as my friend I mentioned. I write this as someone who is praying for some accountability on these things as I navigate how to apply this to my life– navigate how do I be that wife, that mother, that writer, that business owner now without tangibly being those things just yet. I write this as someone praying this reaches the right eyes in need of such a message as I needed tonight, because Lord knows I am far from the only one.
So again I ask myself, and I invite you to ask yourself too:
How can you start glorifying God in your dreams, goals, passions, and desires today?