Dreams on Hold – For Now

dreamsMy days in high school seem so long ago. Back when I was young and full of dreams. Dreams of a successful career, of making a difference, of changing the world. I was going to do something big with my life and I couldn’t wait to get away from the people and places I’d always known. I worked hard to graduate at the top of my class – even after skipping 11th grade. I made an almost-perfect score on the ACT and applied to my dream college. I was on my way to the life I’d always dreamed of. Funny how God has a way of changing our plans.

After my first year of college, I needed a summer job. My dad offered me one in his company. By the time fall semester rolled around, my dreams of college and career were gone. A number of circumstances had come up that forced me to put my life on hold. No, I shouldn’t say forced – I could have chosen to leave anyway. I could have put my needs and desires first. Most will say I should have. But here I am, almost 8 years later, still in the same place with the same people and doing the same things I wanted so desperately to get away from. Do I wonder what might’ve been? Of course. Do I regret walking away from what I’d always wanted? Not for a minute.

I’m not saying it’s been easy. Far from it. Doing the right thing always comes at a high price. Just because I turned my back on my dreams doesn’t mean that those dreams were dead. I’ve struggled numerous times with that decision. Did I make the right choice? Am I crazy? When will it be my turn? I always come back to the same answer – I am where I’m most needed. For now, that is enough. I wonder if life will always pass me by, if my day will ever come. Maybe so, maybe not. Either way, I will continue to live my life by the only creed I know: to do as much good as I can wherever He places me. Whether the rest of the world applauds or condemns me, even if I walk alone, I know in my heart that I have done the best that I could. In the end, that’s all that matters and I believe He will honor it.

10 Questions for a Great New Year

happy new yearAnother year has slipped into the past. As each of us says goodbye to 2015 and greets a brand-new year, what thoughts are in our hearts? Is it regret for all the things we didn’t do last year? Maybe for a few things we did do? Relief at a chance to begin again? Anticipation of what the future brings?

It’s quite common and perfectly normal to step back and take a good hard look at ourselves and our lives at the beginning of a new year. A good chance for self-evaluation. It’s easy to lose focus in the everyday hum-drum of life; now is the time to refocus and redefine. Who we are, where we’re going, what we want. To get back on course in this tempestuous sea of life.

I always ask myself a list of questions around this time. The answers, though some may be difficult to admit even to myself, invariably point me in the direction I need to go. Perhaps they will help you as well.

  1. What did I do right last year?
  2. What did I do wrong last year?
  3. Am I the person I want to be? Why not?
  4. What is my biggest weakness? How am I going to beat it this year?
  5. How can I treat the ones I love better than I did last year?
  6. What specific things do I want to accomplish this year?
  7. What do I want to accomplish in the next 5 years? 10 years?
  8. How can I be moving toward those goals right now?
  9. What am I doing that is not bringing me closer to where I want to be?
  10. How can I make a difference in the world around me?

 

The only way to answer these questions is with complete, even brutal, honesty. Only when we are honest with ourselves can we see progress. Getting specific with what is wrong and how you are going to fix it will put you on track for a great year. With determination, clarity, and more than a little help from above, there’s nothing we can’t do.

Happy New Year to you and yours from Dirt Road Princess! May your days be filled with peace, joy, contentment, and above all, love.