song: xo by john mayer
read time: 7 minutes
i have a serious obsession with toddlers. it started at some point in 2010, when i started nannying. i used to say i was a part-time mom without the perks of a husband. i worked for a family who had three kids, ranging in ages 3 to 7. i loved them like none other. on occasion, their parents would leave for a week at a time for a business trip or to go to europe — so it was just me and the three kids. i was told often, that i was the “cool mom” at the park because i would come up with the pirate games that involved clues leading to more clues leading to adventures around town. while i did not love being woken up at 6 am on a saturday morning in order to get the cereal off the top shelf, i did love what these little ones taught me. yes, they taught me.
as much as we wish that we are these effortlessly cool, know-it-all adults in this world — we are a lot more like kids than we think. yeah, we don’t need help getting the cereal off the top shelf or sounding out words in the newest olivia book — but we do have freak out moments just like them. i learned that early on.
this past weekend, i was in boston with one of my best and dearest friends from college. she is now the mother of two and a modern day hero in my book. she has the most adorable kids: havey + davey. [their names alone are worthy of their own tv show. i keep trying to convince havey of this idea. all weekend long, i tried to prepare for her the life of a reality tv star with constantly snapchatting her. sometimes she was all about it, sometimes she wasn’t. i think there is still some more convincing to do.] monday morning, havey wanted to be in the kitchen. she found a mixing spoon and a bowl and kept beating them as if they were drums. erica thought it would be fun for havey to make pumpkin bread — because why not? it’s fall, pumpkin bread is tasty, and it’d fill the whole house with a delicious fall scent. erica and havey worked together — from cracking eggs to pouring the mix to adding oil. havey was a part of the entire process. as erica and i chatted back and forth, havey began mixing the ingredients together. when it was difficult for havey to stir and pour the batter into the pan, erica stepped in and help her.
erica set the timer for 30 minutes. next, she allowed haven to get off the chair and watch her pop the baking pan into the oven. she explained to havey that she had to wait until the timer went off for the pumpkin bread to be ready. erica turned on the oven light so that havey could watch the pumpkin bread bake. like any three year old would, havey sat on the floor… waiting and staring at the pan baking in the oven. two minutes went by and she asked if it was done yet. erica explained the timer again and said that the number had to reach zero before it would be ready. she explained that if you took the pan out now, it wouldn’t be ready.
in a flash of a moment — it hit me.
we all do this. okay, maybe not with baking. but we do this with dreams, visions, and goals we have for our lives.
we come up with a beautiful dream, co-authored with God, then want the dream to be ready and our reality right now. we get antsy and think that if waiting is involved, then it isn’t going to come to pass. however, that’s just not true. is it?
in the same way that the pumpkin bread needed time in the oven to bake, our dreams need time too. they need time to shift, to develop, to grow. not only that, but we need time. we need time in-between from when we conceive an idea and when the idea comes to life. because the time in-between gives us the opportunity to develop our character, to prioritize our lives, and make room for the dream. think of it like this: if havey was going to have her friends come over for a tea party — she would need the time that the pumpkin bread was baking to clean up the mess she made in the kitchen. the time waiting isn’t wasteful — it’s useful if you allow it to be. the same goes for our lives.
when i was a junior in college — i realized i wanted to devote my life to helping women, specifically women in sex trafficking. my dream was to own a business, a nonprofit, or some type of movement that would gather a community together in order to bring change to our world. my plan was to graduate college, then move to boston to start a nonprofit with erica.
i was 21, had a dream, and was ready to go change the world.
but, that didn’t happen. i never moved to boston. the doors shut, and instead i stayed in tulsa. i was so upset with God and had very dramatic talks with Him at that point in life. i probably still do. i remember asking God, “why would you give me this dream if you aren’t going to let me live it out?” i don’t think He ever really answered my question. if He did, i obviously wasn’t listening. i just knew that the dream was still there.
since my plans weren’t happening —i decided to make the most of my time. i interned at a non-profit, go international, where i learned more than i had anticipated. i learned marketing, i learned how to rally people behind an idea, i learned how to throw events with little to no money, i learned the power of social media, i learned how to write, i learned how to serve a vision, i learned how to work with excellence. the list goes on. i learned a lot. while, this wasn’t my “grand idea” for my life — i was making good use of my time.
at the time, i didn’t realize what was going on — but 7 years later, i can tell you. i was in what i call, “the waiting time”. a very important part of the dream process. it’s the season of life, where you learn and develop character. you see, as much as i would have liked to convince myself at 21 that i was ready to launch this big grand dream — i wasn’t. my character wasn’t strong enough and my faith in myself wasn’t strong enough. i didn’t understand the meaning of perseverance and excellence. i didn’t understand what it meant to be good leader. i didn’t understand the need to be faithful to a dream. oh, there were so many things i didn’t know. this waiting time — while i felt the agony of it many times — was essential. it prepared me. without it, my character would have never been strong enough to sustain my dream.
i worked for three years serving go international’s vision — allowing someone to correct me, build my character, and broaden my skill sets. when i was 25, i felt like it was time to move home to california. i didn’t know why… i just felt it. i can remember sitting on my bed, the exact same spot that i’m writing right now, and jotting down questions — “do i want to be a business or a nonprofit? or both?” “do i want to only raise money or be a part of the rehabilitation process as well?” “do i want to start a home?” that was on august 12, 2012. ten days later, to be exact, i hashtagged #coasttocoastchallenge for the first time. three months later, the hashtag became a blog. going into 2013, the blog became a vibrant online community. that winter, my co-founder and i were approached and asked to collaborate on the “justice tour” a humanitarian trip in ecuador. as we planned the trip, we focused it to work with women in sex trafficking. in june 2014, we led our first team to ecuador to work with women in sex trafficking. in 2015, we led a team again and this time — we had the attention of 25% of ecuador’s sex trade.
somewhere along all these events, the timer for my dreams had gone off. had i not been patient in the “waiting time” i would have missed ALL OF THIS. i wouldn’t have met my best friend who i started coast to coast central with. i wouldn’t have the relationships that gave us the opportunity to collaborate on the justice tour. i wouldn’t have the skills and knowledge to grow coast to coast central. i wouldn’t have the perseverance or the relationship with God to keep me solid through the valleys of the unknown.
the waiting time is crucial.
while there were times, i admit, that i felt like i was wasting time. i wasn’t. time was preparing me for my dream and time was preparing my dream for me.
i don’t know where you are in the dreaming process — perhaps you’re in the waiting time and you are growing weary in the waiting. if you are, don’t give up on waiting. time is on your side. more importantly, God is on your side.
in the same way, the pumpkin bread would not be anywhere near ready if havey took it out of the oven when she wanted to — you and your dreams will not be anywhere near ready if you force them into existence before the time is right.
so yeah, sometimes we act like toddlers when it comes to our dreams. we have major freak out moments if our dreams and ideas don’t pop into existence the moment we dream them up. but they can’t. for our sake, for the dream’s sake, and for the sake of everyone who will be impacted by the dream. the waiting time has to happen.
here is the God honest truth — i wouldn’t lie to you: your dream is going to come to pass. God doesn’t give us dreams to tease us. the dream was His idea to begin with. He gave it to us. so surely, if God is the one who designed the dream, then He wants to see the dream become a reality even more than you do.
but with God, it’s all about timing. so hold tight. be patient.
romans 8:18-21 says, “the created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. meanwhile, joyful anticipation deepens.”
there is so much hope packed into that verse. it’s the evidence that the waiting time is essential. you see, God isn’t sitting up in heaven freaking about a last minute plan to bring your dream into a reality. He has it all planned out. everything on His part is ready. He is merely waiting for earth, for humanity, for us to catch up. that’s part of the “waiting time”.
while you may be frustrated as heck that your dreams and ideas aren’t coming to pass — don’t give up on waiting. something important is happening within you and around you that is vital for your dream to succeed. you have nothing to lose, but everything to gain by waiting. the timer will go off, the dream will be ready. and when it does — you’ll know. when it does, it will be better than your wildest expectations.
i can tell you this because i’ve walked through it. my dreams are starting to take shape, and it’s better than i could have ever imagined. i thank God none of my dreams started seeping into existence when i was 21 — they would have fallen apart. i wasn’t ready. i’m still waiting on many of my dreams, but i know that the timer isn’t ready to go off yet. i know, i’m learning. i’m being shaped. i’m being molded so my character can sustain the dream.
stay faithful to your dream, dear friend. don’t give up just because the waiting time seems to be taking forever. the good things, the wild things, the things worth remembering always take time. God hasn’t forgotten the promises He’s made to you. right now, He’s working on your behalf — preparing you for the day the timer goes off and you get to live out your wildest dreams.