When I was a kid, I wanted to marry a cowboy. I loved their manners, work ethic, patriotism, and how they looked in their Wrangler jeans. Separate from the Mr. Cowboy Boots desire, I imagined living in a lighthouse nestled in a nook to read book after book while watching the waves pound the shore. Another fun vision revolved around purchasing an old school building and renovating it for my home. I’d need the space for the six kids I thought would burst forth from my womb (thanks to The Brady Bunch).
Those were the dreams of a young woman on the cusp of adulthood with stars in her eyes as she charged into the world. Then life happened and reality became the norm. Not a bad life. Not tons of disappointments or regrets. But just the everyday pursuit of making ends meet and living day to day.
The one desire God buried deep in my heart centered around being a teacher. I adored children and I loved every minute of the twenty-four years I spent in the classroom. Goofy grins and mischievous antics filled my days with joy. That was God’s plan and purpose for me. I embraced it. Even now, I hope my efforts in ministry impact the lives of children.
From time to time, however, those childhood desires would float across my vision. I’d tuck them away because I realized there was a plan for my life that had a different purpose than reading in my lighthouse, living on a farm, or changing a million diapers.
Instead of focusing on what we’re lacking or didn’t receive, we must appreciate what we have. So many blessings rest within our grasp if we would only quit peeking over them to a dream that will never be a reality. I discovered that joy resides in the small moments. It bursts forth when we’re pursuing God’s purpose. There’s a peace and contentment that defies all common sense. When we relinquish what “could have been” for “what is,” positive emotions rule over the negative. We come to understand that “what is” becomes the way our life is supposed to unfold.
About that cowboy. It wasn’t reality. I couldn’t have married one because I’m deathly allergic to hay and I’m not an animal lover. It was just silly dreams of a teenager that had to be packed away for a better plan that God laid before me.
It’s okay to dream. Dreams can be healthy. Just don’t let them cloud your judgment or the road before you. There are all kinds of joy and goodness lining your path as you journey forward. Train your eyes to notice and appreciate them. It will make all the difference. It certainly has for me.