Do you really want that?

DONE

I’m in a position in life right now in which I’m facing one obstacle after another. Just as soon as I climb one mountain, I get caught in a mud slide, I find myself on the other side, rock bottom, STUCK in a mess.

We are many things in this life–children, parents, siblings, lovers, enemies, friends, dreamers, realists, workers, writers, musicians, novelists, painters, inventors, etc. The list goes on forever.

But we can only live one moment at a time. Usually, we can only wear one hat at a time if we are to wear it well.

Life is never without conflict. Life is not pretty. Life has it’s magical moments, but most of the time, life is just one page in a book that turns to the next. We have to read the whole story to get the message.

Sometimes it’s easy to give up.

For example, I want to be a writer. But it’s difficult for me to FIND my writer hat when I’m trying to wear all of the others at the same time. Something constantly gets in my way.

I am a teacher, but I can’t do my job well after 3:15 when the last bell of the day rings to release teachers. (Yes, teachers have dismissal bells too. And yes, a teacher’s job does NOT stop at 3:15.) Right now I’ve been carrying around the same bag of essays to grade, but something, always SOMETHING, prevents me from finishing them. I’ve carried these essays and other papers like them to ball games, music practices, family events, Walmart, field trips. I have graded while eating supper. I have graded while riding shotgun on road trips. I’ve graded in places where NO ONE else needs to know where I’ve graded.

The task must be accomplished. I can’t give up.

It’s easier, sometimes, to do the things we HAVE to do, especially if those things are for OTHERS. It’s harder, I think, to do those things that are for US.

I have sat down to write at my house only to be interrupted by phone calls, visitors at the front door, children fighting and screaming, spouses fighting and screaming, and most of all, by my own feeling of despair.

I’m not a quitter by nature. I am, however, a runner. When things get too intense, I tend to run. A few years ago, I faced some rough times at my job. What’s the first thing I wanted to do? RUN.

There’s a grand difference between running away and walking away. Sometimes, in order to triumph over an obstacle, a person has to calmly change direction to find peace. If a job, for example, is creating health issues, I say pack up and move on. However, don’t run scared. Think it out. Use your brain. Make a plan. Never run blindly. You never know what you might run into, something perhaps worse than the previous situation.

Sometimes I’ve wanted to run away from writing.

I can hear myself now. “I give up. I quit. I can’t do this. Forget it. I’ll never be a writer. I’m destined to do for others the rest of my life. I’ll never have my heart’s desire.”

Have those words or thoughts ever crossed your mind?

Why do those words resonate? Because they echo what WE want.. Because we feel selfish for wanting anything for ourselves.

Life is very, very short. My father never wanted to do the job he did. He was a printer. It was a messy job with few perks and tremendous stress. His blood pressure skyrocketed because of the demands. He had to meet deadlines that depended on how other people performed their duties. (Hmmm. Sounds a lot like teaching.) My dad always wanted to own his own business, maybe a sporting goods store. He never truly entertained the idea. He thought it was impossible.

My dad raised somebody very much different than himself. He raised a dreamer, a people pleaser, but a dreamer nonetheless. I know, I know, I know what I want, what I need. But it won’t come easily to me, if it comes at all. Is taking a chance on a dream worth the risk?

Face it. Not getting what you want is equivalent to rejection. Is taking a chance worth the rejection?

By the time most writers have really bought into their dreams of publication, they have developed a sardonic sense of humor about their rejection letters. They file them. They categorize them. They write about them. They frame them and hang them on the wall. Most of them get excited just to GET a rejection–a rejection is better than nothing at all (which is what MOST of us get).

The dream doesn’t have to be about writing. You know what your dream is.

The point here is that WHEN we know, we know, we know, what we want, we usually find ourselves at a crossroads. Rarely, do we get what we want without a challenge. It is so very easy to give up. It’s easy to run. It’s easy to make excuses. It’s easier to substitute something else for what we really want. And we lie to ourselves and tell ourselves we’re happy.

Rarely do we achieve our treasures without going on a quest. But first we have to decide, “Do I really want that? Really?”

It’s easy to talk a good talk. Action is a different story.

If we REALLY want something, we have to make clear, very clear, that we want it. The first person we have to convince is ourselves. Then we have to do what it takes to make the dream come true. We have to wrestle the key to the door between us and our treasure from whoever or whatever holds it (an editor, an employer, an agent, etc.)

Above all, we have to decide if getting what we want is worth the effort. Are we willing to shed a few tears, stay up late, struggle, risk rejection, fight fears, stand face to face with opposition?

The NaNo writing project is happening right now. I’m already behind. I’ll catch up. Sometimes we get sidetracked, but we can find our way back to our path.

Do you know what you want? Then do something about it! Maybe the only thing that has kept you from it is yourself.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE
What words of advice to you have for others who really, really want something but must overcome obstacles to achieve it? Were you ever a runner or a quitter? How did you overcome the problem? Have you ever had to walk away or to find a new direction to achieve your dream?

WORDS OF WISDOM
Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it.  I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.  ~ Charles F. Kettering

MUSIC NOTES
So often in time it happens, we all live our life in chains, and we never even know we have the key. – The Eagles

LOOK AND SEE CYBER SERENDIPITEE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-5GnZYxI4M

FINAL THOUGHT

Perfect-Moment

Can I get there from here?

This past week one of my sweet little newspaper babies came to me for advice. With graduation just a few months away, she was overwhelmed with the thought of stepping into the world on her own. Bless her heart. I understand what she’s feeling. I just can’t fix it.

When I graduated, I had no idea of what it was like to be on my own. I tried to do what everyone else wanted me to do. I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t know where to find it or how to get it. I guess you could say I was like a pinball in a machine, propelled into life, bumping from here to there until I found myself where I am now, slightly bruised but a whole lot bolder.

My little newspaper kiddo asked me, “What if I make the wrong decision? What if I do the wrong thing?”

I wanted to say, “Brace yourself. It’s going to happen.” But I didn’t want to make her cry.

The truth is life is full of uncertainty, but for those who believe, life is all about hope. Is it possible that every road we take leads us where we’re supposed to be, even if we get off on the wrong exit on the interstate of life?

Old timers say, “You can’t get there from here.”  I say, “Why not?”

Last summer when I wrote my first manuscript, I jumped in blindly, never considering how many mistakes I would make. It’s taken a while to fix them, but step by step I’ve made progress.

For months I’ve stayed up late, polishing my work, submitting it to my critique group, and revising. It’s amazing how I’ve managed to go to work each day on so little sleep. But the journey’s been worth the effort. I’ve learned so much. I’m a better writer, a more confident writer.

A couple of days ago I submitted my entry to the 2011 ACFW Genesis Contest. There was a moment before I hit “send” when I wondered, “What if I pour everything into my story and the judges hate it?”  

It’s scary, being vulnerable, putting your heart on the line.

I wish I could tell my newspaper student that every step she takes will take her exactly where she wants to go—or that she’ll know without a doubt what she should do. But I’d be lying if I did.

Our troubles may be difficult and even painful, but every bump in the road can be to our benefit—if we put our trust in God. He said so (Romans 8:28). So even if we mess up, God can make it work for our own good. No matter what.

In other words, living life is like writing our own book. God’s critiques show us the revisions we need to make.

Just as young grads are afraid to take their first steps into the world, we older folks sometimes fear that we’ve traveled so far away from our dreams we’ll never get find them again. In other words, we wonder “can we get there from here?”

Sometimes what we want seems impossible because we can’t figure out a way to make it happen. But just because we can’t figure out a way for it to happen doesn’t mean that it won’t.

So, my frightened student (and anyone else who may sharing these fears), as you set forth into the great unknown, know that no matter what decisions you make (or have made), God can take all situations and make them turn out for your good. We have to work for an attitude that accepts that everything we go through makes us stronger, better.

The alternative attitude leads to a life dominated by fear and regret.

Choose wisely to avoid as many heartaches as possible, but ultimately, if you believe, you’ll get where you’re supposed to be—no matter what.