Have you ever been so set on a goal but you feel like the world is standing in your way or it doesn't pan out? Did you ever feel so frustrated because you wanted something so badly but you know it's not the right time? Have you ever prayed so hard for a dream to come true but you feel like God isn't hearing you? My quiet time this morning explored the essence of these questions in depth and it resonated so deeply with me as I feel like this is such an integral part of "my story" that God is so graciously writing.
There is some obscure home video of me out there, circa age 10ish, that has me responding to the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I believe I rattled off something about being a singer and possibly something else, but I ended with wanting to be a dentist. In high school, I spent a lot time shadowing in dental offices and found myself so in love with the idea of becoming a dentist through a lot of mentors I met along the way. When I began college, I wanted it but I found myself in this constant battle of setbacks and no where near becoming a dentist. My junior year, I found myself in dental hygiene school, I was so elated and actually a bit surprised that I made it in on my first try. The first time I sat in class, I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be. The first time I saw a patient, I was hooked and I knew I had been called to something so special, but I never lost that dream to be a dentist. That want stayed with me even as I practiced private practice hygiene but I had surrendered to the thought that that dream would never come to fruition for me. I had become okay with that thought. But as you have read before in my blog, my second dental mission in 2013 to Romania, reignited that fire it me and I felt as though God cleaned the glass of my soul so that I may see that dream clearly again. Even with those moments where I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am called to chase my dream of becoming a dentist, obstacles befell me and I would go back to that place of saying this dream must not be for me. I did a lot of crying and pleading with God in the first months of our move as I waited (impatiently) for a Colorado License and wondering what is it God wanted me to do if this whole dental school thing really wasn't working. I felt lost. I felt confused. I felt... unheard. But then... God showed me in huge ways that He was indeed listening and He said "now is the time." I enrolled in UCCS a year ago and felt excited and terrified. I am a "non-traditional" student, a busy military wife and very much obligated to my licensure as a hygienist to keep up my craft. I thought to myself, how will I be able to do it all? But as I started back to school, my fears were calmed by my Father and I have learned to trust him on a deeper level. For that, I am thankful. After I started back, I finally got my long awaited Colorado dental hygiene license. I immediately knew if I received that license just a month earlier, before I enrolled in school, I wouldn't have gone back and I would probably be in private practice again with the "what if" lingering on my heart. God hears. He listens. He knows when the "right now" is the most perfect.
There are many biblical examples of dreams not being fulfilled immediately, a couple of them: Noah had a dream of building an ark... it took him 120 years; The Israelites were brought out of Egypt but wandered for 40 years before they went into the Promise land (when in reality, it was only about a two-week walk between Israel and Egypt). God uses delays to prepare us for the challenges ahead and to test us. What if the Israelites would have entered into war unprepared? God knew they needed time or they couldn't have handled it? Delays are used by God for His perfect design!
So when your dream seems like it is on this perpetual delay, how do you respond? Focus on God's presence and know that He is hearing you, and He is listening. Sometimes His answer is "not right now," even if you want it right now. Trust His design.
Live. Laugh. And trust in His design.