What are your dreams?
In A Bride in Store, my characters have big dreams. Do you have big dreams? Are they just in the realm of “one day” or are you pursuing them?
Years ago, I was reading a book, that I’ll admit was a lot of sales gimmick, but one of the best things to come out of it was that the author encouraged me to really think of what I wanted to do with my life. At my funeral, what do I want people to know that I accomplished?
Are there things I’m doing, like watching gobs of television, that if I could look down at myself at my funeral, I’d be upset that I’d wasted my life doing that instead of trying to obtain my dream?
So I had to think through what was REALLY worth pursuing to me.
So why don’t you do this with me, what do you really want out of life?
What concrete goals would be worth your time to accomplish before you die? To be the best bass fisherman? To get a publishing contract from a big publisher? To design a specialized computer program? To become the senior manager of your company? To run your own decorating business? To obtain a doctorate? To win Fear Factor? (Is that still on? I haven’t had a tv in so long, but insert whatever the new reality show is!)
What about less concrete goals? To serve the poor? To have a good relationship with God? To be a great mother? To win so many people to Christ? To inform yourself through extensive reading? To repair your broken marriage?
So once you narrow down the most essential to you—all of the above are good, but what are the dreams you’d be sad that you didn’t accomplish?—write them down. I had three.
So next, we need to get ourselves from “dream” to “plan.” So we’ll be writing the following for each goal: what are the stakes (what will happen if you don’t accomplish the goal), what will you have to give up to obtain it, what would have to be true for it to come to fruition, what’s the very next step you have to take from where you are to get a step closer, give yourself a deadline for that next step.
So if my hypothetical goal is to repair my broken marriage, my written down goal could look like this:
Goal: Fix marriage problems
Stakes: If we split, it will be hard on the children, we’ll be out of God’s desire for us to be together until death, I’ll have to work outside the home and turn over childcare to others, etc.
Give up: To fix my marriage, I’ll have to give up my superior attitude, I’ll have to give up my bad spending habits that causes him grief, I’ll have to decrease my activities outside of the home to be home more, etc.
What would have to be true to obtain goal: I’ll have to be humble enough to not blame everything on him, I’ll have to love him unconditionally even though he’s likely not going to be on board right away with changing the attitude ruts we’ve both been in, etc.
What’s the next concrete thing for me to do: The next time we get in an argument, if it’s not life or death, I will not fight him for my choice, and I will call around for counselors.
Deadline: The very next fight we have I will force myself to concede if it’s not something that will truly hurt me, and by Monday, I will have scheduled us an appointment.
I’d encourage you to go through the exercise; it was very eye opening for me at least. I still refer back to my paper and when I succeed with my next step, I make another. I might not obtain the goal, but I can see myself getting closer—and that’s satisfying.
And if you’d like to see if my character Eliza got her store or Will got his doctoring degree, share a dream that you want to pursue or one you’ve already attained in the comments to enter the giveaway!
Axel's business partner, William Stanton, has no head for business and would much rather be a doctor. When his friend's mail-order bride arrives in town with no money and no groom in sight, he feels responsible and lets her help around the store--where she quickly proves she's much more adept at business than he ever will be.
The sparks that fly between Will and Eliza as they work together in close quarters are hard to ignore, but Eliza is meant for Axel and a future with the store, while Will is biding his time until he can afford medical school. However, their troubles are far from over when Axel finally returns, and soon both Will and Eliza must decide what they're willing to sacrifice to chase their dreams--or if God has a new dream in store for them both.