Written by Andrea Stephens

She was sitting in the front passenger side of their SUV when she and her husband graciously volunteered to play Uber and give me a ride to the airport. Seeing her from the side only, it was her hands that I noticed first. They looked different. Didn’t they? How weird that the backs of her hands caught my attention, but they did. They were thinner. I could tell because the veins were more prominent.  

She had definitely been sticking to Weight Watchers (Wellness Wins) and it was working. Oh, I wish that were true for me! In spite of the 200 0-point foods and the very cool app that tracks your progress and gives you the point score for nearly every single food in the grocery store and item on a menu, I fell backwards off the Weight Watchers wagon at the first sight of the Daylight Donuts in the office break room. I can’t fully blame the doughy sweetness for the weight I had gained since starting this new job, but they were my Monday morning delight. Ugh!

Paris! She just got back from Paris—as in France, not Texas. The land of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the fragrant springtime cherry blossoms, and the love that is in the air (though I’m guessing that is an overrated belief). How I’d love to see Leonardo de Vinci’s Mona Lisa or Claude Monet’s Water Lilies or Pablo Picasso’s Girl Before a Mirror. As a former art student, who still likes to dabble in oils, it’s always been a dream to see the master’s original works. Oh, I wish I could go there! Yet the cost of a trip like that is hefty. Ugh!

I listened intently while she told about the latest book she was reading in preparation for writing her dissertation (that mega paper required to obtain a doctorate degree). She explained the verse she had selected, described how she studied it in the Greek language to dig out more meaning, and how it fit into the theme of her paper. I was intrigued. Oh, I wish I could do that! I love to study God’s Word and learn. I finished my Master of Divinity degree two years ago. The idea of continuing on toward a doctorate degree excited me. I felt it calling my name. But how?  Where would I find the time to make it happen? Ugh!

As you’ve read my wish list, did you think about what’s on your wish-list? Any place to visit, class to take, healthy eating goal to set? Maybe your wish list has a Christ-like characteristic like patience or unconditional love that you want to be more intentional about developing.  Does it include a relationship that needs mended? Maybe it’s a homeless shelter where you’ve been meaning to volunteer or that mission trip that tugs on your heart year after year? Maybe you’ve thought about adopting or fostering a child?

While the things we wish for might be good, there is one major problem: wishing! We can wish all we want but as we know, wishing will get us where? Nowhere! Wishing doesn’t move us toward turning a wish into a reality. If desires stay at the wish-level they have the potential to create disappointment. Focusing on what we don’t have, don’t do, or won’t become could keep us from seeing all of the wonderful things we are blessed with. Wish-level thinking can also threaten to cause us to slip into a poor me state of mind, which leads to moping around instead of getting motivated to take action.

Whatever your wish or desire, here are a few things to ask yourself before moving ahead.

  1. Is this a pure desire or is it fueled by one of the three tactics the enemy uses to pull me away from the things of God: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life. Check your motivation.
  2. Is this all about me or can it be repurposed into something that will advance the Kingdom? Check your purpose.
  3. Will this develop me into a better version of myself—leading me closer to becoming the person God created me to be? Check your goal.
  4. Does it glorify God? Check your focus.
  5. How is your peace? While praying about your desire/wish do you sense the Holy Spirit’s peace? Colossians 3:15 tells us to let the peace of Christ be the ruler in our hearts—like an umpire—He calls the shots. I like how the Good News Bible puts it: Let the peace of Christ guide you in the decisions you make. And the Amplified: Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. This Holy Spirit peace thing is a really big deal. Check it.

Based on the answers to these questions, adjust your wish accordingly.

Now, stop wishing and do something about it. This will get you started:

  1. Pray.
  2. Share your desire with a trusted person.  Choose someone who might help you think through the pros and cons or who will give you honest feedback.
  3. Create a plan.
  4. Pray. How’s your peace? Feeling anxious or excited?
  5. Set specific goals. Prioritize them.
  6. Break each goal into doable parts.
  7. Pray. Listen for the Holy Spirit’s yes, no, or wait.
  8. Set a target date.
  9. Pray.
  10. Get started.

Forget wishing.

Something things you have to make happen—as long as you are in God’s plan for your life. Remember, the main way you know is to follow after His peace and review the 10-point checklist.

As for me, I said goodbye to the Monday morning donuts at the office and went back on Weight Watchers. Taking care of myself and honoring this temple of the Holy Spirit outweighs a donut splurge. We so easily forget the biblical teaching about our bodies being the actual temple or home of the Holy Spirit, whom God sent to actually live inside of us, is actually TRUE! (Check out 1 Corinthians 6:19).

I have started a Let’s go to Paris fund—but only after I checked into adding a Kingdom purpose to the trip. I contacted CRU—one of my favorite international ministries—and learned that I could be involved with campus ministry while in Paris. Perfect! I can enrich my soul by experiencing the beauty of the God-given talents of the master artists and enrich the souls of those who are new in their walk with Christ.

And about that doctorate degree? I applied to several seminaries with plans to start classes in the fall. I will have a total of 5 years to take the classes, then write my dissertation. I love a writing challenge, so I’m in!

Wishing didn’t make any of these things happen. Prayer and action did. I know that if I can do it, you can do it! Happy wishing and happy creating new realities in your life.