I’ve been living in a city for nine years.
In 2005, I moved to Denver to chase my then-boyfriend (now-husband), who was finishing up college in the city. I’d only ever lived in towns with a population under five thousand, and I convinced myself that the move was a temporary thing. I’d grown sick of a long-distance relationship and wanted to be near my guy, so I moved.
Nine years ago.
The other day, I was assessing our house and what all needed to be done. I paused at the door to our master bedroom and took in the sad sight before me: the bed without a headboard, nightstands made out of Walmart plastic, the bare walls. I’d never allowed myself to buy furniture for the room because I convinced myself we’d be moving as soon as we bought the furniture to suit it.
In the nine years I’d lived here, I’d never really allowed myself to settle in.
My brain has always known I was staying, that there was no reason to leave. I have a great job and my husband does, too. The city we live in is only a couple of hours from my hometown, so it’s a simple trip to see my family. My brain has told me for the last nine years that we have had every logical reason to stay.
But in the nine years since I made the decision to “temporarily” move, my brain failed to send that message to my heart.
Despite the changing circumstances, the job offers, the house purchase, the kids – despite everything – my heart isn’t here. At least not all of it.
Part of it is at home, on a quiet dirt road adjacent to whispering summer wheat. It’s at a county fair where warm ‘hellos’ are exchanged, even though we see one another often. It knows everyone in the paper, whether it’s in the obituary, the sports page, or the courthouse notes. It’s amidst big time support for small town teams, with the whole town watching on Friday nights.
And I’m starting to wonder if it always will be.
I’ve gotten used to life here in the city. The anonymity is nice, especially if you’re fond of running to the store in stained sweatpants without combing your hair. (Not that I do that or anything.) I love grocery shopping after the kids go to bed and truly appreciate having more of a choice in everything, from where I shop to where I send my kids to school.
The city has its perks, but has yet to make my heart beat sporadically the way it does when riding horseback surrounded by hills.
I lament about this often, mostly because I’m spoiled and have little to complain about. I procrastinate finding a niche anywhere, thinking that I better not grow too close to friends or create my own handpicked family, because I’ll just end up having to leave them when my dream comes true and we move to a smaller town.
When my dream comes true.
And while waiting for my dream to come true, almost a decade has passed.
And, recalling my barren bedroom, nine years of not wanting to make my house a home.
This got me thinking about the purpose of dreams. They drive us and revive us. They are food for our soul, and at times, they’re all that keep us going when everything is going wrong.
We see our dreams as doorways to our final destination, one of treasure and joy.
But what happens when the dreams are deadlocks to doors that are holding us in? Holding us back?
How many times do we tell ourselves that someday, when circumstances are different, that’s when we can be who we were meant to be, or that’s when we can reach out to others?
Someday, when our dreams come true and we make more money, we will give more.
Someday, when our dreams come true and we have more time, we will volunteer and help others.
Someday, when our dreams come true, and the circumstances of life suit us better, we will be the person we want to be.
Someday I will be a blessing, but only when I get my blessing first.
In the meantime, we live day-by-day, as if the time we have on this earth is endless and the people we share it with can be put on hold.
I’ve spent almost a decade here. Almost all of my major, life-changing events have happened here. And yet here I am, unwilling to give back the blessings that I’ve received. Here I am, unwilling to be God’s servant – God’s blessing – now.
Someday can mean a lot of things, people. Tomorrow. A year from now.
A decade or so.
Or, for some people, never.
We’re given one shot at life, and while we should never lose sight of our dreams, we need to balance it with the now.
Because right now I have two neighbors on my street who just lost their husbands and can’t stand the thought of cooking supper for just themselves.
Right now I see the same hurried and worried mom every morning, rushing to get her baby to preschool on time, fearing condescending remarks from teachers and other parents.
Right now I come into contact with around thirty strangers a day, thirty strangers with their own celebrations and struggles.
And right now, I have celebrations and struggles of my own.
Imagine what could happen if I – and if all of you, too – decided to keep our desires where they belong: in our dreams. Imagine if the only time we made those dreams a priority was during prayer and reflection.
Imagine what would happen if we made a point to make the present a priority.
Imagine if we had no plans that put our good intentions on hold.
I, for one, am going to keep dreaming. I’ll pray that God can use those dreams to whisper to my heart.
But I’m going to stop making them the roadblocks to being the person God intended me to be.
Because I’m here now: for a reason, for a purpose. And I was not created to covet my own desires rather than God’s desire for me.
After all, His plans will fulfill my desires much more than my own dreams ever will.
Source: Amanda Deich