There comes a time in your life when you stop populating your wishlist, and start to actually work through it! All through my life, I’ve set certain goals for myself, things I wanted to do, courses I wanted to study, places I wanted to go, experiences and adventures I wanted to have. For the most part, these seemed unattainable, and so I relegated them from a to-do list to a wishlist…
The problem with a wishlist though is that for the most parts, wishes don’t come true by themselves. There’s no star to wish upon, or magic potion to drink or fairy dust to sprinkle. It takes effort, and more than that determination! A few months ago, Little Man was speaking of the things he’d like to accomplish when he grows up, become a doctor, maybe work for Doctors Without borders, complete his Hifdh, go scuba diving in Jamaica, fly a plane… I remember saying with absolute conviction ‘If you work hard enough, and set your priorities right, all of the things you want to do CAN be done!’
And then as often happens when I speak to my children, I start wondering about my own life, and remember the old adage that children do what you DO, not what you SAY!
How can I persuade my children to follow their dreams, when mine remain just ideas? How can I motivate them to pursue their goals when I project a defeatist attitude? The truth is…I can’t…Parenthood is a constant journey, and as much as we strive to impart knowledge to our children, this journey is truly multi-dimensional. The word parent itself is a noun, a doing word, and in so doing, as our children grow and change and evolve and progress, so do we as parents!
A ship in the harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are meant for. A life lived in an absolute set routine is good, but life is meant to be constant striving. Nabi (saw) said : ‘Tala-bul ilmi faree-datun ala kulli muslim‘
To seek knowledge is compulsory on every believer.
To seek knowledge, one needs to make the niyyah, a firm intention, to actively seek more, do more, be more.
So I set myself a target of achieving at least 3 things that have always been on my wishlist, to find a way to make it a reality! One of them was to interact with and to touch a lion…That I did!
And that spurned me on to my next goal: To apply for a new job. Again the doubts came flooding back and twice I almost withdrew my application. But then I remembered the little eyes watching me, waiting to see what I would do. Would I let my self-doubt overpower me or would I silence it? Would I pursue another level in my own development or would I quietly sit back and accept things as they are. And so, I sat on my musallah and with hands raised my fears poured out as dua. When I rose from that musallah, I had no certainty that the position would be mine, but I was content. Content that I had tried, that this was in Allah’s control, that I needed to have yakeen that the end result would be as HE commands…but I took that all important step! I tried!
Another few weeks passed, and again, I did something on my wishlish: Sterkfontein caves. I’ve always wanted to go on a tour to the bottom of the caves, but have always made excuses…too hot, too late, too tired, too far. But this time, I was determined. Having my children with, having them experience my thrill at accomplishing another goal, having this adventure together, was something I’ll never forget. And something I hope they never forget either.
You see the first place we lose the battle, in our minds, in our thinking; can also be the first place we taste victory. If you think you reached your limits, then you have. If you think you won’t do it, then you won’t. Once you change your thinking, you see the things that were holding back start to dissolve. The obstacles, the limitations, the doubt, the fear, they subside. When you believe in yourself, believe in your ability, believe in Allah, you find strength from places unknown.
When I think of the hurdles I have surpassed. Think of my uncertainty in the moment. And think now of how far I’ve come! This was Allah’s plan all along. Its me who was lacking in faith. Me who was lacking in belief. That uneasiness was my soul stirring, whispering, urging me to throw down my insecurities and beg from my Lord. That restlessness led me to ask from Allah, to give me the confidence to apply for a new job, to give me the ability to do things, to be more, to be better! Alhamdulillah I got the position, Alhamdulillah I overcame my insecurities (some of them; the rest is still a work in progress, but I am working on it, and I am progressing. Slowly but surely… I am thankful for my struggle, because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength.
Alhamdulillah the rest of the list too, will one day become a reality, not by magic, or wishes, or even dua alone. But a combination of faith and effort!
Do the things you want to! Be the person you want! Enroll for that course! Finish that painting! Write that book! Learn to swim! Climb the mountain! Go on that trip!
Little eyes are watching…and learning from you about confidence, about goal setting, about achievement, about conquering, about succeeding, about accepting defeat humbly, about trying again, trying harder, about life! I honestly think we all have that something that can spur us on, that shows us we have the potential to be stronger. Being positive doesn’t mean that life is perfect, or that it becomes easy. Its making a concious choice to focus on the potential. Do it for those little eyes watching you…but do it for you too!