I am thankful I did not get all of the wistful fantasies that I dreamed when I was a young girl or even the ones that I dreamed when I was a young lady. It never hurts to dream, and one should always have hope, but the dreams of youth are not always God’s best for one’s life. At the time though, it felt more like God was holding out on me and I was living out the first part of Proverbs 13:12hope deferred makes the heart sick.

Even though high school was actually full of sweet and fun memories, sometimes I only remember the ones that stung. Wanting desperately to get the attention of a cute crush, I sent notes and planned schemes hoping he would look my way. There were dances where I hoped that he would stroll over and ask me to dance. Instead, I just waited. It seemed that the more beautiful and popular girls had it the easiest. God’s reality in these types of situations is that: 1.) if I have to scheme, it’s probably not His plan, and 2.) life, even high school life, isn’t easy for anybody. Even the ones that did marry their high school sweethearts had to go through a bit of growing before they really reached the happy point.

There are also the fun deferred hopes where I was trying to figure out what to do in this great big world. Where did I fit? What occupation should I choose? My ideas ran the gamut—actress, singer, orthopedic surgeon, policewoman, interior designer, even a computer programmer. I shake my head a bit now at the last one because becoming a computer programmer in the eighties just might have led to a windfall but alas, I didn’t stick with that one. Every inkling of a career idea put me a little bit closer to how God created me to be. It was during my college years that I tried office administrative type work and that fit my organizational gifting. It was also during the college years that I thought that I wanted to write, and that dream is finally beginning to emerge nicely.

When I was around twenty or so, my ideal guy would have been tall, long hair, leather jacket, and jeans, with the ability to play the guitar. It was the heyday of MTV back when they actually played videos. I actually met one that fit this ideal very nicely and we actually dated. It was a living, breathing dream-come-true. I was ecstatic but he eventually followed his dream to California (where else?) and I wasn’t a part of that dream. One day, maybe I will find out why God didn’t let that dream come true but for now, I will trust that it just wasn’t right.

Then there was the company that I thought that I really wanted to work for and even interviewed multiple times. It was a corporate office of a large, and even fun, company. I never got any of those jobs. Less than five years later, I realized what God’s reason might have been. The whole company closed down completely and disappeared. I guess, I could have just worked there temporarily but that must not have been God’s best for me.

Finally, when I was in my thirties, I met a man that seemed to fit my current ideal mate, which was different from my twenties. I met him at church. Now that seems like the perfect combination, right? However, that one was not meant to be either. We were/are friends but that was all that panned out.

My ideals and wants changed often over time and God recognizes the fickle nature of them very well. He always knew my wants and waited patiently while I would plead with Him. What God had planned all along was to give me my needs and to shape my wants to recognize those needs when they came along. He can use every want that I can conceive to shape me into the person that He created me to be. None of them is wasted. They are stepping-stones along my path. When the dreams that God dreamed for me happen, I am blessed even more than if He would have catered to my every whim. Now, I feel like I have lived some of the second half of Proverbs 13:12a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.

Jennifer Heeren has always loved to write. For more than a decade, she has enjoyed writing encouraging blog messages. She loves to write things that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full. She regularly contributes to Crosswalk.com and has also been published on ChristianDevotions.us. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her at www.jenniferheeren.com.

Publication date: November 21, 2013