It’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Rest time is over, snacks have been doled out, and the allotted daily TV time has reached its end. But it’s that ominous time of day aptly named the witching hour, and the next hour and a half until dinner and reinforcements looms large. The kids desperately need me and I desperately need to be alone, so out come the puzzles and board games. They distract from whatever it is that makes us all go crazy this time of day, give us something to work on side-by-side, allowing us to connect in a way that isn’t completely exhausting.
As I set up a game board with all its moving parts and the puzzles with mixed up and sometimes missing pieces, I feel like they are a metaphor for my heart and life in this season. Bits and pieces. Push and pull. Working towards an end goal one tiny move and matching piece at a time, not knowing when you will see the full picture or reach the finish line.
Dreams Versus Reality
Do you struggle with the bits and pieces of life? With having big dreams and grand ideas but a reality and practicalities that hold you back? Lack of motivation and passion aren’t the issue. But the problem with being a go-getter is when seasons of life prevent you from going and getting what it is you’re after.
Emily Ley said it best in her book, Grace Not Perfection:
“I have strong convictions about the type of life I want to live, but I must face the fact that during this season of life, with three kiddos under five, it’s possible only in bits and pieces. God is changing my heart and challenging my resourcefulness. I know very well that He wants me to walk intentionally through this life and not skip along the path blindly. There are lessons and memories and stories to be found here, and I’ll take what I can get.”
I need to learn to be content with those bits and pieces, knowing that God has me on a greater path with a greater purpose. I may not be able to make all my ideas and dreams fit together right now, but there is more beauty in this season than I know what to do with, if I only stop long enough to recognize it.
Here are a few ways to stay intentional and focused, holding on to your dreams while facing limited time, resources, and energy:
1. Start Where You Are
Before launching this blog, I was sharing some thoughts with my husband about a big dream I have for the future, a dream that can in no way become a reality in this season. He wisely asked me, “Since you can’t pursue this specific path at the moment, what is something you can do right now that will get you one step closer to that dream?” That one question was the impetus to start this endeavor.
When you have your hands full, juggling more than you think is possible, but still have a fire within you to do something more, don’t wait until you reach the perfect season. If you do, you’ll be waiting forever. Look at the big picture of your goals and move forward with purpose and intention, laying the groundwork in the seasons with minimal time, energy, and capacity so that when there is an expansion, you’re ready to walk forward into it.
If you want to be a fitness instructor, start studying for your certifications, make connections with instructors at your local gym, and participate in group classes to get inspiration. If you dream of writing a book, start carving out fifteen minutes a day to clarify your thoughts and hone your writing. The Bible says that he who is faithful with little will be entrusted with much. In the limitations of your current season, do what you can.
2. Recognize Your Limits
When I take the time to get to the root of my frustrations, most of the time it comes down to the fact that I’m not God. I can’t control time, I can’t be everywhere at once, I can’t sustain life on my own, and my strength and creativity and resources are nothing to brag about.
This is the way it should be.
Yes, God created us to be his image-bearers, but limited human image-bears. We are to image God, not be God. Jen Wilkin said it best in None Like Him: “We are capable of bearing his image as we were intended only when we embrace our limits. Image-bearing means becoming fully human, not becoming divine. It means reflecting as a limited being the perfections of a limitless God.”
Instead of seeing your limits as holding you back, embrace them, thank God for them, and use them to point back to God. Stop fighting these things that seemingly hold you back and ask God to use you despite your limited humanity.
3. Grow Where You Are Planted
There’s nothing wrong with looking forward to the future, but it’s worthwhile to figure out why you want more. Does it stem from discontentment and comparison? Or are you just excited about carrying out the calling God has placed on you? If being frustrated with the bits and pieces available to you now is leading you to live in the future, that’s hindering you from growing and blooming right where you are.
God does not start a good work in us and then leave us to our own devices. The realization of your vision and dreams is not going to happen overnight or in one magical season. The giftings, calling, message, mission, and work he has started in you will be worked out in you day after day, season after season.
Instead of fighting the limitations around you, dig into the word and ask God what he wants to teach you in the here and now, the bits and pieces. What’s he growing in you right now?
4. Let Go Of Your Agenda
In this culture of striving and hustle, it’s no surprise that we get caught up in our own plans and ideas. Even if something starts from a God-given creative spark, it’s all too easy to get off course by taking things into our own hands and focusing on the details rather than the big picture.
Make it a practice to continually submit your vision and dreams to God and let him lead you to the next step. Focus on how God is growing you, what he’s doing in your life, and how your calling, skills, and gifts fit within his plan.
God wants to use you. He wants to grow you. And the beauty is that he can do it no matter what season you are in and no matter what your life looks like. What are your dreams in these bits and pieces of life? What frustrations are you currently facing in your everyday life?
I’ve created a vision action plan for you that will walk you through the process of clarifying your vision, addressing your obstacles, assessing your time, and setting small, but intentional goals toward your vision. Sign up here: