My daughter and I were talking this afternoon about watching the sunrise. We both like the IDEA of watching the sunrise but when it comes to getting up when we would need to to actually WATCH it rise, we both agreed, we rarely do it. It got me thinking about other IDEAS that are lovely but will remain ideas unless acted upon.
I like the idea of a beautifully decorated home for the holidays. I like the idea of sending out a warm, cutesy Christmas letter. I like the idea of a candlelit holiday dinner and cheerful conversation with my family. I could tell all my friends about my ideas and thoughts for my holidays but none of these things will become reality without some planning and some work. I will continue to live in the idea and wish and hope for these things – maybe even convince myself that it’s a reality I live in – but without some action on my part, it’s merely a fantasy world.
I feel very strongly about keeping your body fit and healthy and looking your best. But unless my actions match my beliefs, I can have strong feelings and even preach that message all I want but, number one, nothing in my life will change and number two, I will be a hypocrite, giving the illusion that this is a reality in my life while, in reality, it is merely a fantasy.
I like the idea of having a close family. I want my kids to let me into their hearts. When they are grown, I want them to call me, to come visit, to let me be a part of their lives. But with this closeness comes a messy that I have to be willing to embrace. And a close knit family will remain a lofty idea unless I do some groundwork now. And groundwork is hard.
I remember when my 3 older girls were much younger, in the physically exhausting ages. Our pastor’s family had kids in the same age ranges and the girls were always wanting to get together – and my dear friend was always very willing to have them all at their house. And I was very willing to let them all go. It’s easier to send kids to others’ homes to play. It’s harder to have young kids over, it’s messier, it’s more tiring. But it was in that season that the Lord spoke to me, “If you are always sending them away now, why would they want to be here when they are older.” You see, I had an IDEA that when my kids were teens, we’d be the hangout house. I’d be the cool mom, with a comfortable home, and a never-ending snack supply – all the girls’ friends would want to be at our house. But, I wasn’t laying a foundation for the future I wanted. Things changed that day. Not that my kids stopped going to their friends’ homes but I took on the ‘messy’ every once in a while too. And more importantly, my heart changed. I realized the importance of the NOW in relation to the future.
Honestly, it can be difficult to stay engaged as my daughter shares with me EVERY detail of what happened at youth group. But I realize that if I don’t engage now, SHE won’t engage later. It can be hard to watch my daughter’s heart break over, what I would consider trivial, things. But if I don’t relate to her with understanding now, she won’t be coming to me with the tough heartbreaks in the future. All the ideas of a close mother/daughter relationship will not continue to be a reality.
I can be a dreamer and an idealist, which I don’t see as a weakness, but unless I am also a doer, I will exist in a fantasyland and lead a counterfeit life. Help me Jesus, to do what it takes to make my dreams and ideas a reality in my life.