Navigating The Long “Not Yet” Before The Breakthrough

Sometimes it’s not the challenges that mess with us most, it’s the tedium of life. {Image credit: pixelbliss / 123RF Stock Photo}

Yesterday, I sat on my favorite couch, thinking about my day:

  • Lunches made. Check.
  • Dishes done. Check, check.
  • Coffee gulped. Check.
  • Shopping done. Check, check.
  • Homework corrected. Check.
  • Kids kicked ushered outside to ride bikes and get fresh air. Check, check, check!
  • Two fat lips iced on preschooler who nose-dived off a scooter. Check.
  • More coffee gulped. Check, check.
  • Gum scraped off dining room chair cushion. Check…

All checked off and good to go! Except the hidden list items. Let’s see if I can find those here… Oh, that’s right:

  • Wash the daily load of feces-soiled laundry from my 10 year old.
  • Help her successfully transition back in to our family after 18 months in a psych facility.
  • Return the 5-a-day emails to her teachers, health staff and  care team.
  • Spend quality time with my other three daughters.
  • Be wife to the man to whom I committed my heart 14 years ago.
  • Finish writing my first book, due to publisher in a few months.

Um, how do I check those off, exactly? That mix of have-to, love-to, and can’t-believe-I-finally-get-to??

How do you do it, with your own list of impossible tasks and hope-filled dreams?

Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said, “In this world you will have trouble.” Trouble that presses hard, distracts us from the calling and longing woven into our hearts. Trouble in the form of the mundane that wearies us with tedium.

It takes a fighter to make it through the daily and pursue the amazing.

As Holley Gerth says in her e-book, The Do-What-You-Can Plan,

“Thinking about a dream is much more fun than actually doing it. Yes, there are moments that are glorious along the way. But often the everyday reality feels ordinary, plain, and even boring at times.”

Somehow, when it comes to God-sized dreams, 1+1=1000. One act of obedience + the One God = “immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

For me, it’s icing fat lips, folding laundry, writing when my family’s asleep, and doing what it takes to get my daughter moved home. It’s taking a break from some activities I love, and being disciplined about doing some I really, really don’t love. It takes letting go of perfectionism, trusting the process won’t crush me, and making some extra space in my heart and life to walk through the “not yet” places.

More than anything, getting through the winding, undefined “not yet” before the breakthrough hinges on believing one simple truth:

“In this world, you will have trouble. But take courage, for I have overcome the world” (Jesus speaking in John 16:33).

We can get through the “not yet” because He’s already been there, done that. We are not alone in the struggle, the tedium, the weariness, the sacrifice. And we won’t be alone in the glory and the realized dreams to come, either.

-Laurie

Linking up with Holley Gerth and the rest of the God-sized Dream Team today. Join us!

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  • Kelsey Gillespy

    Wow, sounds like you have a lot of admirable God-sized dreams, Laurie! (And a God-sized life that you’re already living!) And even with all of that on your plate, you somehow manage to successfully survive each day as it comes and goes, managing both the hidden and not-so-hidden to-do’s. What if someone had told you 15 years ago that this is what your daily life would look like? It may have sounded overwhelming and a bit unreal. Would you have thought that you could handle all of this? I’m sure you have spent each day learning new tricks to be the awesome mother, wife, and author that you are. And man, look at the strength you have gleaned over the past 14 years of family life! I bet there will be days (or already have been days) when you feel like you can’t possibly hold it all together any more (like we all do), but even then you are glorifying God with your life. Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Keep on keepin’ on, girlfriend. I have a feeling God’s got your back. =)

    • http://lauriewallin.com/ Laurie Wallin

      How did you know that Corinthians verse has been my study and mantra for the past 2 years?? I love how God uses His people to speak life-giving reminders like you just did! Thank you for stopping by. Wonderful to meet another God-Sized Dreamer. And yes, if you’d told me 14 years ago what I’d be doing today… I’d have laughed my head off.

  • Denise

    I have realized in the past week or so that I need to step down from some activities that I am involved in and refocus that attention to my family. I am the mother of a senior in high school (17 yo) and a kindergartener (5 yo). There have been some trying times lately and I felt the best thing is to cut back in other areas and focus on some of the problems. My husband and I were just talking this morning about where we would be if we didn’t have God in our lives and I said I would be on my knees crying out to God for help. And as I sit here and think about it, that is what I should be doing in every situation, getting on my knees and giving my troubles to Him. I love the verse listed above: John 16:33. I just have to keep my eyes on Him.
    Laurie, you and your family will be in my prayers as you take the sabbatical leave. Blessings to you!

    • http://lauriewallin.com/ Laurie Wallin

      Denise, that’s quite a spread in ages! A lot going on with both ends of school-age. So glad you and your husband are doing it together and that you’ve felt some leading about how to approach this season. Thank you so much for your prayers for us right now, too. We’re gonna need it!!

  • http://memosfromthemanagement.blogspot.ca/ Carlie V.

    “It’s taking a break from some activities I love, and being disciplined about doing some I really, really don’t love.” – I was thinking about this idea a lot this week. Sometimes it’s so hard to get through that long ‘not yet’ and still understand that it’s simply a ‘not yet’ and not a ‘not ever.’
    When you’re up to your elbows in the tough stuff of life, the real challenge becomes not losing sight of what God wants from your life, even when it can’t happen right this second.

    • http://lauriewallin.com/ Laurie Wallin

      Still savoring what you said, hours later… that we can keep moving toward the breakthrough and “understand that it’s simply a ‘not yet’ and not a ‘not ever.'” Praising God for that!!

  • Laura P

    “Somehow, when it comes to God-sized dreams, 1+1=1000. One act of
    obedience + the One God = “immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine”
    (Ephesians 3:20)”This statement spoke volumes to me this morning. Thank you!

    I am there with you with the to do lists. There is always the hidden list that we don’t want others to see. And to see that someone else has to wash the soiled underwear of an older child gives me comfort. I sometimes feel like I am the only one with an 8 year old who still does that. I pray for you and your family and for the not yets and for the joy that will come.

    • http://lauriewallin.com/ Laurie Wallin

      Thank you so much, Laura. It blesses me to know that peek through the curtain of my sometimes-crappy (for real) life allowed us to connect. So sorry to hear you are dealing with those kinds of issues, too. Lord! Set our kiddos free!!