How Do You Know its Time?


“If I’m going to do it, I should do it now, while life is quiet and I have the free time.”

Such words are only an invitation to unadulterated chaos.

My two years of white space on the calendar were soon filled with a surprise pregnancy (the toilet became my own oval office). A cross country move (because I get my thrills by sifting and packing six and a half people). And don’t forget living in a van down by the river (for the month I was homeless with four kids, one dog, a minivan, and suitcases bought from TJMaxx while on the road traveling. Evidently I “sifted” all our suitcases when packing).

If that wasn’t enough spice, we merged households with some of our best friends so that our family of 6.5 turned into 10.5 immediately after closing. Then there was a newborn (although I am now prepared for my kids’ talent show: single-handed-typing-while-solely-sustaining-a-human-being-and-plugging-a-leaky-boob. Standing room only, guaranteed.).

Free time. White space. Lots of white space to go with that straight jacket.

But I made it. That goal of becoming a college graduate is now realized. I can check it off the bucket list and add it to my resume. I look backwards and just shake my head. Six majors, four college institutions, five withdrawals, and that was the season of life in which I succeeded? It doesn’t make sense.

And now I look forward to the next season of life and it doesn’t make sense either. The truth is that none of us have the amount of time we really need to accomplish everything we truly desire. So how can we know when the cost is worth it? How can we tell if the season is now?

  1. The decision brings peace. It makes sense. Of course it’s the next step.

This is huge, whether you are single or in the bottom of the pile in a family of seven, you don’t just wake up one day and decide to pack up and move. Or go back to school. Or become an expat. Or change careers. {Somehow your entire life has been building you up to this moment.} Conversations over coffee with a co-worker. Daydreaming with God as you close your eyes at night.  The “I would rather be” statements plaguing your commute to and from work or accompanying you as you shift laundry from washer to dryer. This is your moment. These are your dreams. And peace floods, washing your world from black-and-white to color.

2. You have counted the cost and it won’t leave you in debt .

I’m not so much talking finances as I am relationships. I tend to subscribe to the idea that God provide the finances when the dreams are aligned with Him. But those relationships, they are priceless, and how can you be sure that you aren’t discounting their value and worth?

Communication. We’ve involved our entire family unit from the time I submitted my school application until this coming week’s final paper. They have been on countdown for family-sushi-celebration-night for the last six months. Honestly, I can’t tell if they are more excited about raw fish or my face.

For a couple months, I contemplated seminary with my husband. One day while driving in the car my middle son asked, “How long until congratulations?”

“What?” I asked.

“You know, congratulations. When you are done with school?”

“Oh! You mean graduation,” then I shared my idea about grad school with him. All three children were quiet (the fourth is just plain happy to be alive considering she wasn’t ‘planned’ and kept babbling).

My middle son took the lead again, “So how many more years will you have to be on your computer all the time?”

Oh. My. Heart.

The cost is high. Two more years might have left me forever in debt to their childhood disappearing before my eyes.

3. Once it’s a go, set up an emergency plan.

Thank God my husband and I had already talked about the home stretch of our big decision. He was the one who told me the end would be the hardest. He likened it to the second half of a marathon—everything in me would be screaming to quit, but he—he—would be on the sidelines demanding I keep my butt in gear and moving forward. He would NOT let me quit and if needed, he would carry me across the finish line in a body bag.

However, never did he mention that he might be the one to kill me. In the last six months, our marriage has been the last priority on our long list of responsibilities. But he has been faithful and loving and encouraging and often moves me to tears with the amount of faith he has in my potential. How can he do this? When his wife rises from bed in the morning and falls into bed at night without a single thought for intimacy? Because this is our emergency plan. We both knew it was coming and he was emotionally prepared to put it into effect. It has made all the difference. It took a potential barrage of guilt and created a wave of support instead.

So there you have it. Three pillars to have in place before pursuing your dreams: Pursue the right dream, for the right reasons, and with the right support.  Because we only have one life to make the most of and I refuse to watch it slip through my hands like sand. Instead, I choose to wake up every day, inhale deeply, and be overwhelmed by the aroma of victory.


4 thoughts on “How Do You Know its Time?

  1. Thanks Marian. I am amazed at hire God continues to use you to encourage me even though we are miles apart. Love you my friend.

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