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I was probably 13 when I got a gift card for a local frozen yogurt shop. My family doesn't really frequent frozen yogurt shops that often. One time, we went and a certain child decided to test the limits of the paper container and fill it with practically every topping available. (I'm looking at you, Ainsley.) Nevertheless, I kept that gift card in my wallet at all times, waiting for the right moment to use it. A few years went by and the gift card remained in my wallet. I don't know when it happened, but one day I realized that the frozen yogurt shop didn't even exist anymore. The gift card was probably only worth $5, but it taught me an important lesson about waiting too long.
Planning is important and I'm not advocating rash decisions, but sometimes I think we have a tendency to put things off. We plan for so long and sometimes we wait too long. One of 2 things happen: we let fear and uncertainty hold us back or we fail to properly plan.
Move forward with faith.
I just graduated from college so I've answered the "what are going to do now?" question about a million and one times. And here's what I've learned: I don't have to have it all figured out or have my whole career mapped out. I simply need to choose something that interests me, allows me to be constructive, and provides opportunities to serve others. As I move forward and gain experience, more doors will open—doors I don't even know exist right now. As we make choices and move forward with those choices, we will be blessed and new opportunities will be opened to us. We can't wait to "feel ready" because that moment will probably never come. We might feel some trepidation, but we have to exercise faith when fear would be easier. As we move forward and make good decisions, we will be guided to good opportunities. But if we sit and worry, we will end up missing opportunities that are along our way.
A goal without a plan is just a wish.
A few months ago, I was walking home and I what did I see in front of me? A huge cardboard box, at least 7 feet tall. Immediately I started dreaming up all the things I could do with this cardboard box and I awkwardly carried/dragged it home. I had big dreams for what I could do and I just needed to decide on the best idea. I wanted to make a giant Christmas tree for our living room, but then Christmas came and went. I thought about making a castle, a photo backdrop, a fort, or giant 3D letters. The box remained between my bed and the wall for months and I would often stare at it and try to figure out what wonderful thing I would create. And then things got crazy busy and the next thing I new, the semester ended. It was time to move out, and since there was no way the box would fit in a car, I had no choice but to put the box back in the recycle area where I had found it 6 months before. I had big dreams for this box, but I failed to turn those dreams into a plan and time ran out.
Don't let the "gift card" expire. What's something you've been putting off, either because you're afraid or because you haven't made the time? If it's really important to you, make a plan (with a deadline!) and let your faith be stronger than your fear. Decide what makes you the happiest and then go all in!