Lately, maybe for the past couple of months, I’ve been receiving text messages in the morning from my older sister. Very encouraging and inspiring text messages that just jumpstart my day. Only more recently, I’ve been receiving similiar text messages from three of my closest lady friends. They each send out a particular Bible verse that they either read that morning, or that they like best. Yesterday, I woke to this text from my friend, Mallory: “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” (Col. 3:23-24)
The text got me thinking. And thinking hard. We all dream right? Especially as younger children and then as teenagers. And we encourage dreaming. “Dream BIG”, we say. But I’ve found that the dreams get less frequent and more specific as I get older. Dream. Dreaming. Dreams. And then, do they REALLY even come true?
This text brought my dreams and my efforts together for me. Keeping in mind that in everything I do, I need to be giving my all for Christ. But also remembering that I’m not the only one who wants the best from me; Christ’ wants (and deserves) my best.
I found what dreams are made of and they all start with “D” for determination. I thought, this is a pretty good way to get my dreams off the ground. They start with the realization that they won’t go ANYWHERE if I’m not willing to roll up my sleeves and get to it. In an effort to keep a positive outlook on life, trial and error, and defeat, (especially for those days when I feel MOST defeated) I went online in search for some handy quotes and verses that I could put on Post-It’s and put around my room. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” That’s a good start. Then the text came back into my mind, “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord“. (So now, I have to take what I have, give it my ALL, but do it for God). Romans 15:4 “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Keep trying. Learn from the Scriptures. They were written for me, for those days when I feel I just can’t make it. And my best just isn’t good enough.) “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And that which I can do, by the grace of God, I will do.” -Dwight Moody. That’s the kind of persistence that will can take my dreams very far. This tells me to keep my dreams in line with God’s will because only by His grace will I GO anywhere. My favorite personal quote comes from my Chemistry professor “NEVER give up, though you may think you should, but PERSISTENCE pays off.”– Dr. A. Bryan
R stands for READINESS. I’ve got to be ready. Ready for what it takes to make it to the top. Ready to take on those who will try to knock me back down to ground level, but know that they can only TRY. It’s my choice whether I let them succeed or not. Ready to give an answer for why I am the way I am. Ready in all things. Being ready also means I’ve got to have a plan. A path.
A plan is like an investment. It’s the map for a certain period of time. We all know it wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark. He built it because God told him to and in doing what God told him to, he was prepared for the rain when it DID come. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15 So I’ll stay in the Word. I’ll dress daily in the Armor. I’ll keep that connection open with God at all times.
E was the hardest to swallow because it stands for EXCELLENCE. We all want to excel, but sometimes, when it all boils down to it, the difference between mediocre and excellence is fifteen minutes. If I just woke up when the alarm went off instead of hitting the dismiss button instead of snooze, and oversleeping, I might get to work on time. If I put in fifteen more minutes of study time and missed fifteen minutes at dinner with friends, that could be the difference between my getting an 82 and a 94. Excellence means I have to fight off the “It’s good enough” syndrome that has violently spread to many peers and colleagues we associate ourselves with these days. Again, I was reminded through the text message, “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord…” How is “good enough” good enough for God when I don’t even want to accept if for myself??
“A”. ATTITUDE. That’s a big one.
See the thing about attitude is, it can be good, or it can be bad. It’s not like our favorite movie that we may watch. No matter how many times we watch it, it’s gonna tell the SAME story, in the SAME sequence, in the SAME amount of time each time. Attitudes change everyday. But we have choice regarding which attitude we will express for the day. We can’t change the past or what other people do. One quote I found really struck home for me. It helped me keep my attitude in the front view of my mind. (Definitely a Post-It moment). “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” -Chuck Swindol. The Bible is overflowing with verses about the type of attitudes we as Christians OUGHT to have. “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.” 1 Peter 2:1 A verse about how we should treat others. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” A memorable verse about our thoughts. “Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” Psalm 25:5 and Hebrews 13:15 “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” These verses speak about worship and waiting on God. Patience.
Finally, “M” stands for MEANING. What is life if there is no meaning? And what is a Christian without Christ? What is the Christian who lives life without Christ? What if I calculated all the time I’ve had. Talking. I talk alot. So that must take up alot of my time, right? But that’s just talking. What about the time I’ve spent in classes from Kindergarten all the way through til now? What of all the hours I used while I was at work? What of the time I spend in church? And how about all the COUNTLESS hours I’ve used for my friends, like a trip to the mall, or more commonly, through text messages and Facebook? But then, there are the hours throughout my life that I’ve used to do simple things like, eat, sleep, and think. So then it’s not the hours that make the meaning OF my life. It’s what I do in those hours that I must find the meaning IN my life. Because when you finish adding and subtracting, there’s not much time left. That means, it’s up to me to make the time I do have MEAN something. Because once again, “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” (Col. 3:23-24)
So as I try to reach my goal, and as I continue to DREAM, I know that those dreams come by DETERMINATION (persistence) a READINESS (having a plan), EXCELLENCE (for the LORD!) having the right ATTITUDE and MEANING (doing EVERYTHING HEARTILY [giving it my very ALL] for the LORD!)
TO THE KING!!