Yet another rejection email entered my inbox. Sigh. It wasn’t particularly surprising, but it was still disappointing. Honestly, rejection emails aren’t uncommon for writers. Over the years, I’ve gotten countless rejection emails.
Even when I think my writing is ready—like really ready—for publication on a certain website or in a certain magazine, it still gets rejected. Even when I’ve spent hours writing, editing, and revising an article or story, it still gets rejected. Even when I’ve implemented advice from wise individuals about modifying my writing, it still gets rejected
Then all I can do is wait until I hear back from another publication. Stay in my current season of life and busy myself with other activities. Rest in the fact that God is still in control and that He sees my disappointment.
But society would tell me to do exactly the opposite.
Stuck in a Dream-Chasing Society
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” I’m sure Franklin meant this as a warning against procrastination, which is great. But our society has twisted it to mean something entirely different.
This statement seems to be plastered everywhere as a call to achieve one’s dreams and to achieve them now. No waiting. Just attaining.
Achieving your dreams could mean many things in society’s eyes: getting an athletic scholarship, getting a 4.0 GPA, getting a prestigious job offer, getting an adoring spouse, getting a huge house, etc. The possibilities are endless, but they all have something in common: getting, getting, and getting.
But what if we can only get so much on our own?
What if all we can do is wait?
Out of Our Control
Whether we like it or not, life is a process. Actually, life is full of processes. Not quick-fixes. Not instant happiness. Not one-size-fits-all.
What some in our society may not realize about Franklin’s statement is that sometimes our current season of life doesn’t permit us to reach our goals today.
My friend with chronic pain may not get a 4.0 GPA because she is too tired or weak to study endlessly. My friend with divorced parents may not get a huge house because she has to pay for all of her current financial needs. My friend with a single mother may not get a prestigious job because she has to stay home to take care of her mom.
These brave friends did not choose to get chronic pain, have divorced parents, or lose a father. Rather, the effects of the Fall entered their lives in heartbreaking ways. There was no way to stop these effects. My friends couldn’t say, “Stop! I have a dream to chase first.” They had to learn to accept life’s current circumstances.
Truthfully, sometimes we may have to put our dreams on the backburner. Our current season of life may not permit us to achieve our dreams next week, next month, or next year. We may just have to wait for now.
But what’s so wrong with that?
Your Future Does Not Depend on You
Despite what our overscheduled, overachieving society says, there is nothing wrong with waiting. In fact, periods of waiting can actually be beautiful.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14 NASB)
David’s words to wait are both an encouragement and an admonition. He recognized that one can only do so much as he or she waits. Only God causes our hearts, minds, and circumstances to change.
Friends, just because you can’t achieve one of your dreams now doesn’t mean you won’t ever have the chance. There’s always the possibility that, one day, you’ll be able to to _____ (go to your dream college, find your dream job, marry your dream spouse, get a dream vacation, join your dream ministry, etc.).
But what if—right now—you just need to rest in God and His perfect timing? I don’t mean you can’t ever chase your dreams. I think some dreams are God-given and should be pursued. However, instead of becoming heartbroken when you can’t achieve one of your dreams, what if you learned to wait? What if I learned to wait?
What if we all learned to recognize that now may be a period of waiting—not dream-chasing?
We’re actually not in control of achieving our dreams. God is. We can try to fight our circumstances, but the sooner we recognize God’s sovereignty, the sooner we can recognize the beauty of waiting.