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I love fairy tales. True, I also write inspirational romance novels, but I LOVE a happily ever after ending where truth and justice prevail. Prince Charming meets a lovely young woman facing difficulty. An enemy strives to keep them apart and a battle ensues. Victory leads to a kiss and a new home at the castle. The end.
Often fairy tales contain a *poof* of magical something to give the story a push in the right direction. Cinderella’s fairy godmother creates a gown and carriage in time for the ball. Sleeping Beauty had good fairies to soften the curse of the spindle to put her to sleep instead of death and then the Prince’s kiss breaks the spell. Belle’s love for the Beast before the last petal of the rose fell saved his life and broke the spell. The Princess kisses the frog and therefore transforms him back into a Prince. And so on.
If we’re not careful, we can start to believe we need something magical to make our own dreams come true. We must toss a penny in the wishing well or spot the first star of the evening. But wishes aren’t enough.
I recently caught Disney’s version of “The Princess And The Frog” on television and one scene reminded me of this truth. The heroine as a young girl dreams of opening a restaurant with her father and wishes on the evening star. Her mother gently points out that magic wishes can only take you so far, but that she would also need to work hard. Later, we see her working several jobs and saving every dime in order to achieve her dream. (Of course, pursuing her dream blinded her to the important things around her but that’s another lesson for another day.)
The point is that wishing and working go hand in hand. I’m not denying the supernatural power of God to intervene in answer to prayer or simply because of His unfathomable grace. I’m merely pointing out that if we spend our days wishing things were different instead of doing something to change it, then we’ll end up collecting dust in one spot while life passes by.
Case in point- my writing career. I had a dream to someday be a published author. Wishing didn’t make it happen. Nor did a whole lot of praying by itself. I had to sit down at a computer for hours at a time to compose the words and then spend countless more hours revising and editing. I worked at my day job to earn the money to travel to writer’s conferences and learn how to write better. I left my ugly first story behind and moved on to a new one. I put my words out there for contest judges and editors to see, learned from mistakes, and continued to work hard. Forget about my dozen articles or five non-fiction books for a moment. It was my fourth fiction manuscript that finally got a publishing contract. And now I’m hard at work building a marketing platform and a plan for my launch later this year. I’m praying and hoping for it all to pay off in book sales and a nice royalty check, but most of it depends on my putting in the hard work both now and for the past ten years.
Real life is not a fairy tale and wishing is not enough. Let’s pick up our tools and get to work.
What about you? What dream are you working toward? Do you wish it was easier? Does the investment of time and energy make you appreciate achieving the dream later on?