How do you know?

Ok. I know.  I´m a loser.  I haven´t updated this in forever.  What can I say, life has been busy.

Recently I have been camping (twice, actually – once was my dad´s father´s day gift with him, myself, and my bro; the second was with Ryan and Grahame / Moe and Holly for a group retreat.)  Both were much fun and relaxing.

I have also been swamped with businesses taking off and prepping for businesses to take off.  Which is part of this rather lengthy entry.  Gotta make up for lost time, right?

So to start with, life philosophy.

I had a conversation recently with a friend about life in general.  It started with my mentioning all the business stuff and the insanity that is inherent with that, and trying to organize life and see what it will take to reach the life that Janene and I dream of living. 

[Briefly, that life consists of much land in the country, working from home on various businesses, with Janene making soap and art full time, etc.  This is just the tip of the iceburg but will suffice for now.]

My friend said that that´s not how life works.  That once in a blue moon someone can make that happen, can push and work and essentially get lucky and have everything required fall into place.  But that life usually gets in the way of such dreams.  While I believe that this is more or less true, I also in some ways disagree.  More on that in a moment.

My friend had several valid points.  Some of his goals include working and making enough that his wife doesn´t have to work, and enough to support his family.  If to do this he must work a job that he hates then he´ll do it.  He may grumble and complain, but when it really comes down to it he´ll be on time and will do the best job that he can do.

I think that´s amazing, and amazingly admirable. 

I couldn´t do that.  I NEED to believe in my work; I also WANT to believe in what I´m doing.  That doesn´t mean that I´ll necessarily always love my job, but at the core it needs to be something I can hold onto and believe in.  We spend far too much of our lives working to be stuck somewhere that drains and depletes us for me to settle for something I hate.  Obviously there´s a balance inherent in this, as I also wouldn´t let my family starve. 

As I was thinking through this more over the next couple of days I decided that while my friend had valid points, I do disagree with him.

For one, I live in America, Land of Opportunity.  Land of “where there´s a will, there´s a way.”  I personally know or know of several people that live lives similar to what I dream of.  And I believe that I can reach that spot too.  I believe that it takes some ambition to get up off your ass and work hard.  Really hard.  110 hour a week hard.  And you work that hard, and you set the ball in motion, and you work because you have a dream and a vision and a goal, and because you know that if you can just get that ball rolling you can work hard to direct it until you ARE able to move into that kind of a lifestyle.

It won´t be easy.  It won´t be painless.  It will require sacrifices that hurt.  It might require working instead of doing something fun.  It might require working instead of sleeping.  It might require more than you know until you get started. 

But the reward at the end – that´s the dream.  That´s the goal.

And I believe that anybody who is willing to work hard enough and make the necessary sacrifices and learn in the process and get help where they can and support where they can is able to make their dreams come true.  Again obviously, but for some it will be more difficult than others – and some will need more help then others.  But I believe that if you show the determination and the courage and the strength that people will support and help you because they will see that in you and know that you´re committed to reaching the goal.

From another angle, however, some restraint is needed; caution, counsel, patience, and even silence.  For if you´re following a dream that isn´t GOD´S dream for you, then it´s all worthless.  So I do believe that you need to take the time to talk to God, and then take the time to listen.  Definitely easier to say than to do, as I struggle with that on a daily basis.

Speaking of which, it´s interesting to me how everything is taking off at once.  I have three businesses – my web design firm, Seasonal Essentials, and A Higher Standard.  All three are starting to move, faster than I can keep up.  Which is both interesting, exciting, and frustrating. 

Are these all of God?  Is God using them each in turn to move me closer to dreams, to bring in a paycheck, to accomplish whatever it is He wants to accomplish?  Or is Satan using one of them to fill my time, to distract me and cause me to focus my energies in the wrong place?  How do you know that?  Prayer, I suppose.  Thoughts, anybody?