Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Growing into New Circles

Littles, while painting: I think when I grow up, I want to be an artist like Aki.
Tiny: When I grow up, I want to be a dolphin.
Littles: Maybe you could be a whale!

There is something in us as human beings that thrills to the thought of who we could be. As a child, all that hope is wrapped up in one question: what do you want to be when you grow up? It's fun to answer that question as a kid, and it's fun to ask it of our kids as parents.

But I think for many of us, we don't grow out of that fixation on who we want to be. I know at least for myself, I spend a lot of time thinking about it. I want to be back to running regularly. I want to spend more time writing and pursuing art. I want to be able to find time to volunteer. I want to be more patient with the kids and better with doing crafts. I want to be version of together, that is.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that I've said about at least a couple of my awesome friends who seem to have things a little more together than I do, "I want to be you when I grow up."

It's not bad to recognize areas where we could use a little work, and it's not bad to hope and dream about the future. The problem is when we get stuck there, fixating, instead of acknowledging who we already are in Christ. It's easy to get tripped up psychoanalyzing ourselves, questioning ourselves repeatedly (Is this really who I want to be? Is this really what I want from life?) and miss the greater picture. I'm learning to be more purposeful about celebrating the areas where Christ is already shining instead of guilting myself about the things I just can't pull together, at least not right now.

I talk about seasons a lot these days, and it comes up a lot in company as well. I'm often told how quickly these days will go by. It's true. All my kids are walking now. When did that happen? Self-entertainment is becoming a real thing in our house, and we actually cut back on our diaper bill this month. It's amazing. The babies are not really babies any more, and the big boys are getting for real big. Things are changing.

With change comes new opportunities, new openings in time and availability to pursue different things and make other choices. This is good. This is as it should be. But that doesn't mean that all those areas where I feel lacking need to be tackled immediately. It's a gradual process that takes time.

I got two emails this month talking about hopes and dreams that weren't for right now. In one of them, my friend said she knew that the timing for her dream wasn't right, but she hoped that in another season it would come to fruition. For right now, she was acknowledging its existence and letting it rest at that.

The other email was from my sister who used the training circle analogy from The Mask of Zorro. You can watch the clip here, but the important part is this bit of dialogue:

Don Diego de la Vega: This is called a training circle, a master's wheel. This circle will be your world, your whole life. Until I tell you otherwise, there is nothing outside of it. 
Alejandro Murrieta: Capitan Love is... 
Don Diego de la Vega: There is NOTHING outside of it. Captain Love does not exist until I say he exists. As your skill with the sword improves, you will progress to a smaller circle. With each new circle, your world contracts, bringing you that much closer to your adversary, that much closer to retribution. 
Alejandro Murrieta: I like that part.

My sister said that she hoped at some point that a new language she was fascinated with would "move into her circle" although she had no clue when that would be. But until it came into her circle, she had to focus on where she already was.

I was so grateful for that visual aid. Sometimes I get so frustrated when my dreams seem to be impossible to attain in the foreseeable future, but the truth is that my foreseeable future is full of wonderful things that may just not be for right now. And my present is pretty wonderful to, once I let it be what it is.

I have to remember who I already am, who Christ has already made me, and rejoice in that. And let the rest come when it will.

There is often a disconnect between who we are and who we want to be. Maybe that's just Jesus reminding us that He has something greater in store for us later on. But how I hope to learn to rest in the now while I wait for a chance to bring these other dreams to reality, how I hope I don't crush my own dreams by grabbing for them too soon.


  1. Another way that ppl said it when I was your age- bloom where you're planted!

  2. Tim is hilarious--if he's a dolphin, then I am going to be a sea turtle. We can hang out together always. And I'm glad my sage Zorro advice changed your life perspective. Zorro has that kind of power. And of course, you are awesome and all your dreams will come true if you just believe (Disney). And if the only thing you ever accomplished in life is that photo of Owen smiling at the end--you have succeeded.