For many years I had dreams but excused them away because of... life. My rationale was that the next season would allow for it. Then the next season would come and, while it was different, it had it's own sets of challenges that kept me in the same cycle of waiting until it's a better time.
As a Christian I could really justify this:
If it's God's will He will bring it about. (Which is true.)
If it's God's will He will bring a publisher to me. (Which could happen.)
If it's God's will then I don't need a platform or proof of concept or ability (or fill in whatever is your thing here), it will just happen.
That's when I realized that it won't just happen.
Yes for some it really does just happen. For me and for you, it probably won't. It could, but it's not likely. And just in case it doesn't, shouldn't we do something now if we feel like it's time. (If you need help determining that, I wrote a blog post "It's time" where I share my journey of realizing it was my time to start.)
From my junior year in college until I was 23 I didn't go on a single date. Not one. There were a few inquiries during that time, but none worth pursuing. During this time I also chronically struggled with crushes. You know how us girls (well, most of us) can be. We'd meet a guy, think he was cute and charming and loved Jesus and made us laugh, and without realizing we had already planned our first date, engagement, and wedding. We would smile as we dreamed about taking their last name and how our kids would have our eyes and his smile. Then, shockingly, the phone would never ring. We stayed in the friend zone but rationalize the lack of date requests because we just knew he was the one and so did all our girlfriends. So we would wait and the crush would grow, little hints of hope would come. Then one day he would walk in holding hands with another girl he had just met. Ugh.
I broke out of this cycle instantly with the help of one book. You might assume it was the Bible and that Jesus became my boyfriend, that's not it. (Also, FYI, Jesus is not anyone's boyfriend. This was trend when I was a single that us girls would say so we didn't feel alone. He is present, loving, gracious, Redeemer, but He is not your boyfriend.) I read the book: He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrent. There was a movie done that showcased the general premise pretty well too, but the book is what was my game changer and instant cure to my crushing. Basically the book says: if the guy is into you, he will tell you (and it will be obvious) and ask you on a real, undeniable date.
Woah. You mean, when he said, "Hey" with a big smile that didn't mean that he really loves me but that he was just really busy at work and that's why he hadn't been able to ask me out yet? You mean, even though we hang out all the time and no one gets him like me, but really, you are saying, he doesn't like me like me because he hasn't asked me on a real date where he paid, adored me, and asked me out again?!
This blew my mind and immediately the dream bubbles that floated between me and whatever crush I was seriously crushing on at the time just popped. Breaking out of my crush dreams was so good for me. Healthy. Helpful. I was able to have such healthy relationships with guys again. No longer wondering if little things meant something. When girlfriends would play the game of trying to help me see more into something, I could easily tell them that he wasn't into me. It was so good. So very freeing.
A similar wake up call happened for me with ministry last year: It Won't Just Happen.
Yes, for some it does just happen, but for most it doesn't. If I felt God calls me to write or teach or lead or dream or whatever other thing He has put within me, I needed to wake up and do something about it. Because it didn't just happen once I wasn't working full time or once the first (or second or third) baby was sleeping through the night. So I've learned now that the next season doesn't allow for more time or opportunity like I had once thought.
So, I had to make it happen and start taking some steps. As a Christian this felt really unnatural at first, like maybe I was depending too much on myself and not trusting in God. I can tell you now, a little over a year into this stepping out that I have never trusted God more.
I can honestly say I've never been closer to Him or followed His lead more.
I've had to. I've never been so scared.
It's easy to feel like you are trusting God when you don't really have to trust Him for anything. Things aren't very scary when you are standing watching other's ride a rollercoaster. But that all changes when you finally sit in your seat on that wild wide.
Today what is that next step you can take? How about you take it?
As I take each step I am constantly talking with God, "If it's not You leading this, stop it... stop me... show me Your ways... lead me away from my own..."
We have to trust our God enough that He won't let us go down paths that aren't for our greater good or His greatest glory.
And for those that don't know how my dating story ended, a year later a cute guy with sparkly green eyes, a dry sense of humor, a drive to live life so authentically, determined to work hard, valued community, and had a really cute rear end, walked into my Sunday school class. I'm so thankful that I had broken out of this crush cycle when I first met Chris. It allowed us to become really good friends (because I wasn't weird after having imagined being his wife after I said hello) and turns out if the guy does like you he will actually ask you out.
(Note: If you are single and the He's Just Not That Into You book sounds good, let me warn you that it is NOT a Christian dating book. There are many chapters that are really inappropriate and I would in NO way endorse. Skip those. Don't even let your mind be filled with those thoughts. You will know the ones when you see the title. Also, it has been a decade since I've read that book, so my recommendation of it is simply off of the takeaway I had, not based off of a clear recollection of the actual material. How's that for a politically correct disclaimer? Ha!)