It's because dreaming can be so incredibly hard.
I graduated from high school in 2014. Being homeschooled, I had the opportunity to plan my own grad ceremony. My family and I rented a spot in a local church. Friends and relatives showed up to wish me well. And there were speeches made my parents, my three grandmothers, and my brother. Bet you can guess a common theme, right?
They offered golden nuggets of advice for living well and following Jesus, of course. But time and again, it came back to the topic of dreams. Aspirations for the future. Choosing where to stake your tent. Never giving up. Always looking ahead. Dreaming big dreams, holding on to hope for great things.
We hear it everywhere. Disney creates sugary tales of underdogs who, with just the right amount of goodness and a little help from magic, achieve their dreams with a "Bippity, boppity, boo!" Songwriters encourage us to reach for the stars. People tell us we can be anything we want, do anything we set our minds to.
All well and good. But there's more to dreaming. And I think maybe we forget that there's more, because the next part is harder to swallow.
There's this thing called perseverance. There's another thing called stick-to-itiveness. There are ingredients we must add called patience, humility, and a willingness to learn (so that we can actually handle our dreams coming true).
Because some days, dreaming is downright hard. When everything in your world looks exactly the same as it did a year ago, or five years ago, it's hard to believe things will ever change. When you fall down again and again--when the mountain you were climbing ends up being far, far higher than you imagined at the start--it's oh so tempting to give up. It's tempting to let the dream die, because it hurts to hold onto it.
My dad recently described me as being "a bulldog with lipstick." When I fix my mind on something, I don't let go. I clamp my jaws around it and refuse to let anyone tug it from my grasp--not Time, not Challenges, not Discouragement. I would be lying if I said that wasn't hard sometimes. It is. Some days I couldn't even tell you why I do it. But I know it will be worth it one day. I've come too far to give up now. So on I go.
Something I've had to learn--no, a truth that splashed me in the face like a bucket of cold water (which was the only way I'd find the humility to accept it), was that small beginnings are okay. I grew up fashioning grandiose dreams, under the delusion that they would just happen, and that they would happen in large proportions.
Now I'm realizing that great things start small.
I'm realizing that though I long for the battlefield, I have been despising the training ground, and how unwise is that? If I ran into battle without an idea of how to swing a sword, I'd be dead in moments.
I'm realizing that to be faithful in the little things will one day result in bigger things coming my way.
I'm realizing that I'm most certainly not above doing the menial and the mundane.
It's these sandpaper days that smooth my rough edges. It's these long hours of doing things that aren't what I've set in my heart to do, that are preparing me for those very dreams.
There are waiting rooms in life. There are training arenas. Embrace them. Five loaves and two fish will become a feast. A tiny seed will turn into a massive tree. Small beginnings, dear one--don't despise them. Somewhere down the road, you'll look back on those little days and smile, for the wisdom and beauty woven into them will finally be visible.
"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble." -Helen Keller
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin . . . (Zechariah 4:10a)