“One of these mornings you gonna rise up singing. Yes, you’ll spread your wings and you’ll take to the sky, but until that morning, there’s nothing can harm you, when sweet daddy is near you, standing by.” -Louis Armstrong singing “Summertime”
Sometimes it can be really easy to slip into discouragement. I have a large slab of brown paper tacked to my wall with pictures of goals and dreams on it that I look at everyday. The more I look at it, the more I wonder how any of it can possibly happen. My dreams look so huge. How in the world am I going to get from here…to there?
I feel like I’ve tried just about everything. I have done the ambitious bit, moving to New York in hot pursuit of getting what I want. I’ve begged, pleaded and tried to coerce God to provide for me in tangible form the images on my paper slab. I’ve gotten ecstatic about life and down and out about life. I’ve watched The Secret and even read books by Joel Osteen, Rhonda Byrne and Lisa Nichols, what’s next…Anthony Robbins? All in pursuit of the deep desires of my heart.
So what’s the problem? Why do I still feel stuck, confused and like my dreams are always just out of reach?
Here is a story that I came across recently in Lisa Nichols book No Matter What! It grabbed my attention so completely that it prompted me to cultivate a moment of brutal honesty with myself. In this moment I had a long talk with Stephanie and took inventory of where I am, why I am here and what I need to own about my current state of affairs. Once I did that, it started me moving forward again. Thank God!
One day, a man walked past a house and saw a little old lady rocking in her chair, a little old man reading the paper as he rocked next to her, and a dog lying on the porch between the two, moaning as if he were in pain. As he passed, the man wondered silently what the dog was moaning about. The next day, he walked past the house again. He saw the old couple rocking in their chairs and the dog lying between them, making the same pained sound. Puzzled, the man promised himself that if the dog was still moaning the next day, he’d ask the old couple about it. On the third day, to his distress he saw the same scene: the little old lady rocking, the little old man reading, and the dog in his spot moaning piteously. He couldn’t stand it anymore.
“Excuse me, ma’am,” he called out to the old woman, “what’s wrong with your dog?”
“Oh, him?” she said. “He’s lying on a nail.”
Confused by her reply, the man asked, “If he’s lying on a nail and it hurts, why doesn’t he just get up?”
The little old lady smiled and said in a sweet, grandmotherly tone, “Well, honey, it hurts just enough for him to moan about it, but not enough for him to move yet.”
Talk about a wake up call! Reading this was like someone dumping a bucket full of ice cold water over my head. It made me realize that I had been living my internal life, my thoughts and my feelings about my future, in a drunken stupor. I took a sip of that fantasy poison every time I hit a speed bump in life and recited my cheap anthem over and over “When I get my dream job, dream man and enough money to do what I need to do, then I’ll have enough motivation to…” The problem is, after years of silently thinking these thoughts, I found that every time I approached what I expected to be a dream forthcoming, I would come upon it only to find a mirage disappearing in my grasp, plunging me even deeper into the cup of my sherry fantasies.
So what now?
Well, this is the sobering part. This is the part where you ask yourself “What is my nail?And am I moaning about something in my life that I could truly choose to get up from and change?”. Be honest with yourself. If you lie to yourself, the person you are hurting the most is you, because you have to be you and you will always be you! Might as well be the best you. Please don’t confuse honesty with beating yourself up or throwing yourself under the bus. Honesty is true love for the person you are becoming and the man or woman you desire to be. If we’re not honest with ourselves about where we are, then we will never be able to get to where we want to go. Think of it like this, picture a map laid out in front of you, really picture it and put your finger on the place where you want to end up going. You can see your final destination on the map and all of the routes leading up to that destination point, but a map is useless unless you know where you are on the map. Once you locate where you are on the map you can take the route that is right in front of you.