What are your dreams, your life goals? Maybe it's to be a wife/husband, a parent, to raise a family. Maybe it's to simply have a stable lifestyle or run your own business. It could possibly be to own a house, or write a book, or travel the world. Or maybe, just maybe....it's to be a photographer for National Geographic and a missionary in a foreign country at the same time. (Ok, that last one was my dream as a teenager, and then I married a guy who loves photography and has a heart for missions so maybe God? One day?) I don't know what your dream may be, but what I do know is that almost anyone could could say that they want to have purpose in their life. Everyone wants to just be honestly and wholly content in what they're doing everyday. I realize that what that looks like is different for each person. But (from personal experience) the truth I'm coming to realize is that, no matter what your dream is, sometimes it's what you hoped it would be, and sometimes? It's just....not.
There are two sides to dreams and working them into reality: sometimes working towards them is thrilling, soul-bursting, joyful and fulfilling. You're doing what you love and you know it's where you're supposed to be. You're at home in this element and motivation comes easy. You know that this, this is what you want to do with your life.
And then sometimes working for your dream is tiresome, mundane, and grinding. You have nights of staying-up-late-until-your-eyeballs-ache-from-exhaustion kind of nights. You fight with your spouse because you both have conflicting ideas about where you want your dream to go. Nothing is clear and everything feels out of your control. You cry and feel a bit addled because you're not sure what the next step is? Sometimes realizing your dream is just.plain.hard.
But more and more I'm learning what 'realizing your dream' really means is simple this: surrender. My Heavenly Father knows my heart. He created me with these desires and abilities and He wants me to be fulfilled, to find meaning and purpose in my life. I'm finally seeing that the only way to do that is by surrendering my hopes and dreams to His plan and sovereign will.
Let me be clear, surrendering our dreams to God's will doesn't necessarily mean that everything will magically get easier. In fact, giving yourself over to Jesus Christ and His plans might be the hardest thing you've ever done. It's an ongoing process that's scary and most definitely not safe. No, living a life surrendered doesn't mean it's all smooth sailing. But what it does mean is that we'll have the grace to keep going on the hard days. It means we'll have the Holy Spirit's wisdom renewing and guiding us all along the way. And above everything else, what we do for the glory of God is never, ever in vain.
Where are you at in your life as you read this? Are you in the adrenaline rushed phase of seeing your dream come to fruition? Or perhaps you're in the sweat and struggle of working hard to make it actually happen. Or maybe you're in a whole different place, the place of reevaluating everything about what you thought you wanted and surrendering it all to Jesus.
Honestly, for Jonathan and I, it's a combination of struggle and surrender right now. We're longing to really get our photography business off the ground and it's not exactly easy right now. But God is pouring grace and encouragement from unexpected places and we're praying for the self-discipline need to complete the tasks set before us.
I know that some of you reading this can relate. I know that you feel the beautiful ache of working dreams into reality. If that happens to be you, than I hope I can encourage you today. Keep your head up! Rejoice! I'll even risk sounding terribly cliche and say, don't give up! Our Father God has placed these dreams in your heart and if we're truly surrendering them to Him, He will give us the grace to finish the task set before us.
To sum up, I'll simply say what I believe Jesus whispers to all of us in the midst of doing His good work:
Persevere and be brave, loved ones.
p.s. we have in no way forgot about our giveaway. Just know that it's still in the works and all the details are coming your way very soon!