Summary: Embrace Your Almost By Jordan Lee Dooley
Summary: Embrace Your Almost By Jordan Lee Dooley

Summary: Embrace Your Almost By Jordan Lee Dooley

Redefine Success

What do I truly want? In other words, what does success truly look like for you? What do you value in a world that says you should want it all? Why do I want it? In other words, why are you pursuing it? This is the single most important question because it will ground you and help you stay focused on what matters most so that you can pursue the right goals for you. This is so much better than striving to do something just because you saw someone else do it or because you feel like you have something to prove.

How am I going to steward it? In other words, how will you cultivate the life right in front of you—even if a certain milestone, goal, or outcome seems out of reach? These three questions are essential in the face of disappointment because those almost-but-not-quite moments are often the only time we slow down and reevaluate. Of course, you can put your head down, power through, and try to pretend the letdown isn’t happening to you. Or you can bravely choose to step into the invitation to gain perspective and find that you are indeed capable of creating a life you like, even in the tension of the in-between. Know why?

Because life is more like a garden to tend than a game to win. And you can grow only where you are planted, not where you think you should be.


Letting Go of a Good Thing

When you consider letting go of a dream or another good thing, the empty space it leaves can feel intimidating and overwhelming. Although you may not have a new boyfriend, the ultimate perfect job, a new dream home, or the next opportunity lined up and waiting for you the moment you decide to release whatever it is you’re planning to let go, try to think ahead about how you might steward the space that will open in your life.

Are there things you’ve always wanted to do but never had time for, like writing a book, training for a marathon, refurbishing furniture, or learning to play an instrument? Perhaps freeing up some space in your life will allow you margin to do those things. As you face the decision to let go of a dream or another good thing, also make a plan to do one of those things you’ve always wanted to do: take up piano lessons, join a running club, or go back to school. This way, you’ll have something to look forward to when you step away from the draining job, the unhealthy relationship, the would-be dream house that has turned into a money pit, or whatever it is that you know you need to release.

It may not take away all the uneasy feelings you have about the unknown, but some peace of mind can come from knowing you have something to look forward to after you let go.


Dream Again

Most of us have had to wrestle through anger, grief, comparison, and confusion to finally get to a place of acceptance as well as a position of overcoming when something goes so sideways it breaks our hearts and makes us question everything we believed.

One experience along the way—whether it goes absolutely sideways, breaks our hearts, or ends in the outcome we wanted—is not the defining factor. The true measure of our success is how well we love as we build. And that dares me to believe that a successful life is less about achieving our greatest dreams and more about how we love and keep loving—and keep fighting and keep dreaming—even when those dreams fall apart.

regardless of how big our dreams are or how much drive or discipline we have, we aren’t immune to hardships and challenges as we build a family, a home, a business, a healthier body, a stronger marriage, a résumé, or whatever. Although the circumstances vary, our plans, hopes, and aspirations are inevitably going to get screwed up in some way at some point or another because we live in a broken world. And that’s going to hurt. Sometimes it’s going to hurt much worse than other times, such as in the case of an unexpected loss.

The good news? Our greatest, wildest dreams, while things to steward with excellence, are not merely tests. When things don’t go according to plan, we are extended the invitation to draw closer to what matters most, rediscover the depth of who we are, get back up, and continue to unapologetically pursue what we are called to do, even when we can take only one tiny step forward at a time.


Always Almost There

It’s important to regularly ask ourselves critical questions like, Why that number, goal, or level? and Is that what I actually need to get to where I want to or need to go? Or does it just sound sexy? If we asked those types of questions more often, we might find that we need less or that we’re aiming too low or—we’re actually exactly where we need to be.

In order to define enough and pursue the right goals for ourselves, especially when life tosses us a curveball or knocks us down, we have to ask the following questions: What do I hope to achieve? Why do I want to achieve that? Why am I doing what I’m doing? How will I get there? What will I need to reach that goal?

If you’ve been pursuing something for a while now or you’ve recently faced a disappointment or setback, this is your invitation to reevaluate all that’s on your plate. Do you like what’s there? Does anything need to change? Look at each goal and commitment and then look back to why you started in the first place to determine whether the goals you’re aiming for are still in alignment with that purpose.

For the ones that are, define what enough looks like for you and make a plan to steward those things with excellence and focus. For any that are not, stop looking around at everyone else. Instead, narrow your focus, refine your goals based on your needs, and then consider how you will pursue them from a place of purpose rather than out of the pressure to prove something to people who have their own lives to worry about.

And remember, defining enough is in no way settling or playing small. It’s fighting for contentment in a world that constantly tells us never to be content and that if we’re content, it must mean we’re complacent. Nothing could be further from the truth. Complacency and contentment are two different mindsets entirely. The former lacks direction and intention. The latter is full of both.


Make the Most of the Almosts

A life of more possibility, more whimsy, and more contentment doesn’t always require a full-blown makeover. Neither does it require that you check off every goal within the time frame you set when you were twelve and thought the world was a mystical land where every dream comes true simply because you wished upon a star. Oftentimes it requires only making a few adjustments right where you are so that you can find ways to enjoy the life you already have on the journey to where you’re going.

Focusing on the small things, creating rhythms and routines, learning something new, serving others, simplifying life, and making more space for fun and spontaneity are just a few things. They provide you with some helpful ideas of where you might be able to start. Allow this to be a time when you discover what you want to grow and what you want to let go. Lean into the Lord. Connect with others. Admit what you don’t know. Learn new things. And dang it—make room for margin and have a little more fun too.

Remember, this is your temporary home. Even when you get something you long for on this side of heaven, that milestone was never designed to be your final destination. And it will satisfy only for so long. There will almost always be something new to wait on or work toward. Dare to push back against the temptation to allow a waiting season to become a wasted season, or you’ll miss out on your whole life. Because all of life is pretty much one big waiting room anyway. So, maybe here, in the middle, the challenge is to make the most of it.

Fill your life with the fun, the whimsy, the faith, and the love it needs so that you can get up again and put yourself back in the ring, just like the good steward and warrior you were created to be.