I've been reading The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau this week and it reminds me that sometimes it can feel like we're going through a maze when we're going after what we're called to do. We come to an intersection and we take one path and then we come to a dead end. We turn back and take the next one until we come to another fork or intersection. Which path do we take? And it's not just any maze; it's one where we have to watch our footing for cracks and heaves in the ground. On top of all that, if we get off course, we can find difficulty in getting back on.
When pursuing our dreams, we can experience some challenges along the way. Some people fall off the path and never get back on. Maybe they think it's too difficult or maybe they think since it's so difficult, it's not for them. Or maybe they're unwilling to stick with it long enough to make it become second-nature. Whatever the reason, they leave their dreams behind.
But then there are others who stick through it no matter what. They keep showing up because they have a goal and, come hell or high water, they're going to see it to the end.
Challenges are a necessary part of any good path because they help us learn. With each new challenge, if we pass the test, we learn something. Sometimes that something relates to character. And other times it's something that will help us make a better decision. It can also help us figure out how badly we really want something.
Why does it take so much to follow our dreams?
Without challenges, we don't learn anything or grow to appreciate how far we've come. If everything happened so easily, most people wouldn't even stop to consider the journey. They'd be moving straight ahead to the next big thing. But when it takes a certain amount of effort on our part, and we have to work hard to achieve our goals, it gives us the opportunity to look back on things later and appreciate what it took to get there.
Following our dreams means we'll need to create some habits, too.
When we're trying to create a habit, it's most likely something we've never done before (or been successful with in the past). Creating a habit or routine means things change. We have to move our schedules around to make room for the new thing. We have to do things differently now. Maybe you're trying to add salads to every meal. Now you have to buy lettuce every week. And then you have to stick with it even when your spouse becomes sick and tired of eating salads. You have to really love salads and you have to fight the urge to forego the salad, too. If you give in, eventually you'll fall out of the routine and never buy lettuce again.
The same thing can happen with a new workout plan. If you don't really love to work out or you don't love the results you get from doing it, it's going to be easy to fall out of it.
But these examples are just minor ones compared to creating habits for our calling. We're going to have to get our feet wet by getting started first. How can you make time for it? How can you make it a priority and stick with it even when something comes up to try to distract you? How can you stick with it and work toward making progress every single day without getting caught up in how much progress you're actually making (or not making)?
We have to create a situation where we are motivated to work toward our goals each day, and when the challenges come up, we have to face them head on. That is how we reach the finish line. Consistent, steady progress.