Jennifer Kostick– Jennifer has been married for twenty-three years to her high school sweetheart, Paul. She is the mother of three children, Paul IV (22), Samuel (6), and Grace (6). She also has six babies residing in heaven. It is those six tiny souls who have propelled her into women’s ministry. She is a conference speaker and author of the book Nothing to Hold but Hope (one woman's journey through miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility). Jennifer blogs at www.Jenniferkostick.com and is passionate about encouraging women through a godly message of mercy and hope.
Last night, I dreamt about a woman working overtime to turn her lifelong dream into reality. She suffered a disappointment causing her to mentally break apart and disconnect from her family. I tried communicating that her worth isn’t found in accomplishing her dream the way she sees it. It’s about accomplishing it the way God sees it. She didn’t like my advice; I woke up.
I have no idea what the woman in my dream is enduring throughout day-to-day life. (She’s a real person by the way.) I just know that when I have a dream about someone I pray for them. If there’s anything we all need it’s prayer, and though I may not know her current circumstances, Jesus does.
Maybe you’re feeling like the woman in my dream. Maybe you’re working day and night to achieve the vision in your heart and just when it feels like you might have a breakthrough, you end up breaking down. Maybe you’re feeling defeated and it’s carrying over to your personal life. Could it be possible that compartmentalization is no longer an option because the vibrant colors have run together making one big mess?
Often, we are so busy trying to move to the next big thing in life that we lose sight of all the gifts staring us in the face. Our marriages, children, and friendships suffer because we can’t seem to rein in the feelings of needing to be appreciated in a different light.
If we’re not careful, overly feeding our dreams can mean starving the ones we love most. (tweet that)
If this is you, can I ask you to reevaluate? I’m not suggesting you give up your dreams! That’s just crazy talk! I’m merely asking you take into consideration the path you’re on to accomplish them.
Listen, I’m all about pursuing dreams, and I know that compared to most in my industry I’m on the slow track. But here’s the thing: I’m intentional about it. Crazy, right? Maybe. But I don’t want to blink and miss my children’s accomplishments because I’m too worried about my own. I don’t want to slight my husband, as supportive as he is, because I’m busy trying to climb ahead.
This post is probably more for mothers who are writers, creatives, and dreamers like me, but I need to say that as much as I’m all about pursuing my purpose by using the gifts woven into my being, I’m also about slowing down to see if my dreams align with God’s will for my family.
If you’re wondering how to evaluate your course, I have five questions I ask myself that might help you.
I recommend asking each member of your family individually. It’s important to find out how they feel about sharing you with your dream because more than anything, or anyone, you need their support most. If the ones closest doubt you, then how can people who don’t know your heart believe in you? They need to be your influencers listed high above the professionals with whom you’re trying to connect.
2. How can I carve out enough time to accomplish goals without taking over the lives of my husband and children?
Time management is everything for me right now. I’m a wife, mom, full-time seminary student, speaker, Bible study teacher, children’s choir director, worship team member, blogger, and author who is working on a new book. If I don’t make a schedule to organize my time, I will surely drown. I also have to be willing to put down the books, shut the laptop and listen when someone needs me. Can I tell you that’s been a struggle? It has. I easily lose my train of thought and can become frustrated when distractions happen, but my family is more important than my order of thoughts or word count on a page. I’ve learned that God will restore my thought patterns. I just have to be willing to look up.
3. How open am I to change?
Generally speaking, I’m a rule follower and guidelines are important to me. Lately, I’m pushing myself to follow God-lines rather than guidelines. I have to be willing to change direction and follow where He might lead me. This same rule applies when a child becomes ill, a friend needs to talk, etc.. Interruptions happen, and looking at them from a God-line standpoint rather than trying to tackle my to-do list with perfection helps tremendously. And just so you know, I’m preaching to myself right now. I picked up one child sick from school this morning only to receive a call when I returned home that the other one is now vomiting.
4. Do I still feel the passion of purpose, even while navigating real life, in the midst of working toward my dream?
In my life, when I feel the drive to keep going it’s usually from God. On my own, I become tired, distracted, and easily defeated. The fact that I’ve been blogging since 2012 and survived self-publishing a book tells me this is a God-ordained plan for my life. I feel it in my bones.
5. Who needs me in my own community?
What if we all invested as much time into who is standing tangibly before our eyes as we do pursuing our dreams? It is never outside the realm of possibility to pursue a dream and raise a family at the same time. We can absolutely do both! It’s balance, reevaluation, and the ability to restructure that will keep one sane.
I’ve just made a very big decision regarding my blog and new book. My choice to step out of my comfort zone and take a different path is causing reevaluation in my own life. Who knows? Maybe that’s why I had the dream last night.
If you’re struggling with this, I hope my words helped you today. I would love for you to leave some encouragement, with your own story, in the comments below.