I’m not a patient person. I have dreams. I want them fulfilled now.
I want my book to sell—a lot of copies.
I want an expanding speaking ministry.
I want to be at my goal weight today.
I want my friends to have a relationship with Jesus now already.
I want my church to grow.
But life just doesn’t work that way. Mostly we plod along, a half a pound lost here, a book sold there.
Even when we are confident we are living out the purpose God has given us, that our dream comes from him, the fulfillment can seem a long time coming.
On Saturday I served on faculty for the Lancaster Christian Writers Conference. Mike Dellosso, a thriller writer, was the keynote speaker. Now anyone who knows me, knows I’m a major chicken. I can’t watch commercials for scary movies or TV shows. I close my eyes, cover my ears and sing nonsense songs loudly so I don’t have to hear the creepy music or frightening dialogue. So knowing a thriller writer was doing the keynote didn’t thrill me.
But the topic did. Mike spoke on being content with where God has you now. Is that difficult for anyone other than me? We wish the present away looking for an idealized future, a future we may be sure God has promised us.
Mike talked of Joseph, the son of Jacob, from the book of Genesis. Joseph has a dream, a dream of his brothers bowing down to him, a dream he is foolish enough to share with said brothers. Most of us know what happens next: thrown in a well, threatened with death, sold as a slave, falsely accused of rape, thrown into prison. And then one day, second in command of Egypt. And still later, his dream fulfilled, his brothers bowing down.
That’s how long it took for Joseph’s dream—which came directly from God—to be fulfilled.
So why the wait? For Joseph? For us?
There are things we need to learn along the way.
Joseph would have been unable to manage the storehouses of Egypt in the days immediately following the dream. He had things to learn. Some of them he learned as the manager of Potiphar’s house. Some he learned from ending up in charge at the prison. He had skills to learn and God placed him where he would learn them.
Most writers aren’t great writers from the get-go. We may not even be good! We grow by receiving instruction, by practice. As Mike spoke, the question floated to my brain: “Am I learning it?” Am I learning what I need to know to continue to grow as a writer? Am I continuing to learn as a speaker, as follower of Christ, as a wife, as a mother, as a grandmother? I don’t want to get to the place where I think I know as much as I need to about writing or speaking or life. That’s when we start to atrophy, and we never see the fulfillment of the dream.
God needs to get me to the place where I feel the right way so I make the right decisions.
God knows me better than I know myself. He knows I will make certain decisions only when I “feel” a certain way. And so he works with me, allowing me to go through particular trials in order to get me to the place where I will feel the right way and therefore make the best decision.
Joseph was brash and arrogant as that dreaming youth. God needed to mold his character, sand off the rough edges so he could be the statesman he became. He had to work on Joseph’s attitudes toward his brothers so he could eventually welcome them to Egypt. God took care of Joseph’s pride through the bottom of wells and the depths of prison.
There are—still!—rough edges of my life that need the sandpaper of God. Am I allowing him to work on those as he sees best to make me the woman who will choose God’s best in every decision?
But as Mike put it, “Do your best at what you’re doing now, and be happy there.” Here, right here, is where God has me.
- Am I doing my best?
- Am I seeking to learn?
- Am I cooperating with God as he works to mold me into his image?
Where does God have you today?
Are you content to be there and to do your best right there?
Are you looking to grow in both your skills and your character as you await his timing to fulfilling your dreams?