I often joke that we live in a “fast food” society. I don’t mind fast food and I’m not judging it, but the phrase seems to apply to how we live. It seems like many have become dependent on instant gratification. We’ve grown impatient, and therefore anxious. We want what we want here, now, immediately. While that is natural when we’re excited about a dream, it is not natural to feel as if we’ve failed, God has failed, or life has failed if our dreams don’t happen instantly. Nature has seasons. Fruit has to ripen. Rains have to fill the streams. Not everything was designed to happen instantly. It is beautiful and fun when it does, but some things are better when created over time.
Sometimes we must grow into the person who can handle the dream we are dreaming.
When I was working 90 hours a week in engineering I wanted to quit and have a new career instantly! I wanted out of there! I wanted the pain and suffering of working so much to end. What I didn’t realize is that I wasn’t ready for my new career yet. I had to learn to bring love to the moment, to embrace the gifts of my present situation, to be a leader, to deal with diverse and often negative personalities, etc. Had I known how to do all that back then I would have had an instant change! But I didn’t. I had to grow into the kind of person who could handle being self employed, working amidst the world’s pain and grief on a daily basis, etc. It took time for me to ripen into the person who could handle the dream I was dreaming of a new and loving career. I had to grow spiritually, emotionally, professionally… Had I just dreamed of a different job I’m convinced that would have happened more quickly.
Likewise my dream of getting my work out to the world took time – a lot of time! Again I had to grow into the person who could handle being in public. I had to learn to love myself so when people wrote in with nasty attacks it would not cause me to shrivel into my shell and quit my work. I had to learn to love others enough to act with grace and dignity and to send love, in such cases. I had to learn that I was not a body so even when I didn’t feel I looked so great I could get in front of a camera and share good material.
I have seen so many clients, who were terribly impatient, look back and realize they too had to “ripen” before ready for their dreams. Some had to learn to manage money before they made more. They would have given it all away and wasted it, had more come earlier. So many have to learn to love themselves before being in a relationship or even the best of relationships would have fallen apart in the face of the pain and neediness they carried inside. At times I’ve seen people who thought they wanted one thing, grow and figure out there was something deeper, richer, and more satisfying that they wanted – a woman who wanted a man to help her survive for example grew into a self-sufficient person who wanted true love. A man who wanted a woman just to keep him company found satisfaction in the company of friends and realized he wanted a real partner. Someone who wanted to create a job that they thought they “should” want realized they just wanted to work for someone else and rest outside of the 9-5 workday.
So when your dreams don’t come right away, live now! Love the moment and work happily towards them or re-evaluate them to see if they’re really what you want. When you really want something, its worth the growth, the work, the effort. But when struggle and misery are present, backup, go in and see what’s in your heart, right here and right now. We all need little tune ups. We all need time for some dreams to ripen. Fast food is great, and so is instant gratification when its really gratifying. But sometimes, some dreams take time… As the angels like to say, “A slow simmer makes a savory stew.”
So if you feel you are working hard at anything, take a step back and remind yourself.. I love what I’m working towards. And if you don’t ask what you might love more.
… And I am laughing right now. I just looked at how long this article turned out to be. I guess it was worth the time and effort to read it if you are still with me! The angels are giggling too!