Leaning into the "Not Yet"



If there's anything a quarter of a century can teach a rather slow-to-learn girl, it's that life has seasons.

Within that is the reality that there are seasons to say "yes!" and seasons to put the breaks on and say "not yet."

Knowing when to do these two things makes all the difference in the world.

Before we left the states I had to allow a lot of dreams die. At the very least, they had to be postponed. Now, while that may seem a bit ridiculous, WE WERE MOVING TO FINLAND (many of you readers dream of living abroad.) I struggled with the reality that some of my dreams of owning a home, living close to and growing roots with friends and family, and growing my photography business (I had just reached the landmark of shooting photos for people I had never met before!) etc. had to be put on the back burner or even off the proverbial stove top entirely.

While I mourned, I began to realize how silly many of my dreams were in the context of  my timeline. For example, while many friends of mine are able to own homes in their twenties, (and I love to celebrate that!) that isn't our best reality. We value a lot of things. Not being tethered to a roof, especially in this season, is one of them. So, buying a home now or even in the near future isn't a reality for us. Yet, my parents and so many others didn't own a home till much later in life. For me to mourn not owning a home NOW, is much like a 12 year old mourning not getting her license yet. Soon, enough. Soon enough.

The interesting thing is, the longer I spend being okay with the "not yet" the more the not yet seems to be okay with leaving me be. So many of my dreams have changed shape as our experiences shape us. Had we rushed into RIGHT NOW making dreams a reality, especially when it was technically possible even if not the best possibility, we would be struggling with those decisions (and a mortgage.)

So we learn. We get surprised to discover we actually can do just fine with one car (even back stateside we managed quite well,) renting a small apartment,  living with less-both in form of possessions and schedules and spotlight, and letting dreams rest for a season so other dreams can grow.

I find myself, especially in this deep-end of motherhood, needing to hold on to this idea firmly. My kids, if I entertain the idea of what I could be doing too long, become burdensome and obstacles. It's certainly fine to pursue things outside of mothering even while in the thick of it. I'm not speaking to that. I'm speaking to the way my heart, when cleaning dishes and doing laundry, and playing on the ground with my kids, starts to wander and think of the more significant ways I could spent my time.

It's easy to think that if I spend my time here doing this now, that will mean I won't ever get to spend my time over there doing that.

But it's not true.

What God has called me to now is worth my time, right now. Those dreams and ideas that God allows to live? He'll bring those out in their time too.

Just not yet.

So I'm learning to lean. I'm learning to allow myself to dream. Yet, I put a leash on those dreams. I'm learning that, Lord willing, there will be a lot of life to live and there's a lot of things this heart needs to learn. I'm learning to wake myself up and open my eyes to how many "not yet's"  are a YES right now. I'm learning to be satiated by answered prayers rather than perpetually on to the next wish list.

Perhaps God is allowing my heart to not achieve future goals it sets its sights on because I'm unable to handle the things that come with it. Perhaps this season really isn't the best for me to be the next great american writer or awesome photographer, or insert the handful of dreams I've hoped for. Perhaps His goodness is in the delay.

His "not yet" is in place so that when the "yes" comes, I can cherish it.  I won't have to mourn missing out on my kids lives, or living abroad or those things that are deep down values to us. Giving room for 'not yet' allows for what we really want to boil up to the surface. This allows for us to not waste our time managing our impulsive "yes! NOWS!" and have time to delight in what we waited long and hard for.

I imagine the next 25 years will hold a lot of dreams realized. I imagine it'll hold a lot of failure too. No good story has one without the other. I imagine there will be many "not yet's" and probably a good share of flat-out "no's".

But that's not for for me to set my sights on. I'm called to this place. This time. These two kids (one of which thinks she's so sneaky playing quietly with the light switches in her room instead of napping. :P)

So, I'll continue to train my heart to celebrate the place I'm in now. While we are working toward the dreams we have for the future, I'll allow those to remain in the future and not try to take the shortcut.

I'll keep leaning.

How about you? Are there things that you've been waiting for and God is making a reality? Are you able to fully celebrate them and allow those other "not yets" to stay in their place-and not steal your joy? What are some of your "Yes, now"s? What are some of your "not yets?" How do you work to be fully present in your current situation, yet continue to build toward your future hopes?

I'd love to hear your thoughts and any other things you have to say.

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