What I want to say is floating around my head; never settling down, never stopping long enough for me to grasp it. I know what I want to say, but honestly, I’m not quite sure how. It’s like when a word or a thought is on the tip of your tongue and you can’t quite formulate it.
So, here I am, sitting in a beam of sun-light that is gleaming hotly through the cafe window. The sun hits the wall in front of me and joyously lights up a multitude of cute quotes and fun drawings that catch my eye.
I’ve spent the past 15 (or more) minutes sitting in this cafe sipping my latte and staring at this wall. My eyes keep wandering back to two of the quotes illuminated in the afternoon sun. These quotes are resonating with what it is I want to say, and they start to help me grasp the words lingering on the tip of my tongue. The first quote says, “The greatest mistake in life is to be continually fearing you’ll make one”. The second says, “The very things that held you down are gonna carry you up, and up, and up”.
I will let these quotes say to you whatever it is that you need to hear right now.
To me, what these quotes say, is that mistakes and failures are going to happen, there is no way of avoiding them. Fear not though, because these failures are what will eventually lead you to your greatest success. Rather than living in fear of failure go out and make mistakes. I recently heard someone say that if you try something and it doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean you are a failure, it means you are a risk-taker. There is nothing wrong being a risk-taker, taking risks is what will lead you to your successes.
These quotes resonated with me because they are exactly what I have been wrestling with the past while; especially this week. I had someone, a complete stranger actually, come up and strike a conversation with me this past week. Part way through our conversation she asked me what my dreams were, what goals I was setting to achieve those dreams, and what I wanted my life to look like in five, ten, and even fifty years?
I could feel blood rushing into my face with a familiar burn, my eyes went wide, and my mouth fell open. I laughed nervously so I could buy some time to try quickly think of an answer.
The pre-rehearsed answers I usually give to relatives and old people at church floated across my mind. I almost said them, but something stopped me. In that moment I wasn’t sure why I didn’t just tell this random lady what I tell everyone else, but something in me wouldn’t let the words out of my mouth. Perhaps it was the fact that I didn’t know this lady, and thought I would never see her again, that stopped me from spewing the generic b.s. I usually do.
My heart slammed against my chest and my hands began to shake and sweat as I stuttered out some half-formed ideas of what I thought I wanted. When I was finally done tripping over words trying to get my answer out, I looked down embarrassed and said, “that’s probably stupid, I feel like everyone thinks something like that”.
Her answer surprised me, she laughed good-heartedly and told me, “your dreams aren’t stupid, and honestly, I don’t think many people think like that”.
That conversation really got me thinking: when was the last time I actually pondered my dreams, when was the last time I set goals to achieve those dreams, and how was I going to attain the future I desire?
Often, I think that we are scared to dream, and even more terrified to actualize those dreams; especially when our dreams are big. I know that I am petrified of even verbalizing my dreams, big or small. I began to realize why I struggled with providing that lady answers to her questions: it was because I hadn’t sat down and seriously thought about my dreams in a long time.
The last time I remember dreaming big I was around nine or ten-years-old. I remember my mom walking into my room and I had set up my own make-shift desk. On that desk I had set up my notebook, I had my fedora on (don’t ask-I thought it was what serious writers wore), and I had one pencil in my hand and one tucked behind my ear. I was writing the latest hot story or something. I was out there conquering the world. I always had another story to write, another fictional place to dream up, another important topic that was close to my heart. When I was young I thought I was going to be a writer and I truly did not give a rats-ass about what anyone had to say about it. I’m not sure when I forgot that dream, but I realized that deep-down, I still do dream of that.
I began to question why it is that I never think about, or entertain, my dreams. I also began to question why it is that I am so scared to dream big and go for it?
What is stopping me from dreaming big!?
What I began to realize, is that I rarely slow down enough to actually meditate on what I truly desire for my life. I never have given my dreams a chance to take root in my heart; and even if I do, I usually allow fear to uproot them because how could I possibly ever achieve them?
The conversation I had with that random lady sparked a hunger and a belief in myself that hasn’t been awake in quite awhile. I felt like a younger me who hadn’t yet heard how unrealistic her dreams were. I felt like a me that believed that I could chase and conquer my dreams, whatever they were.
At what age did I allow my dreams to die?
When did I forget that I was created by the infinite God who placed those dreams in my heart?
When did I begin to believe that my dreams were too big for the God who placed them in me?
God knit me together in my mothers womb. He saw me before I was born and he placed my dreams inside of me a long time ago (Psalm 139:13-16), and what he has declared is for me will NOT be denied from me if I seek it whole-heartedly. As is promised in Jeremiah 29:10-14,
“But then I will come and do all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, ‘they are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me whole heartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you’ says the Lord.”
God has plans for us. He will fulfill those plans.
You know what else I began to realize? Perhaps I got separated from my dreams because the conversations and interactions I typically have with people are shallow.
My conversations are often filled with meaningless chit-chat (don’t get me wrong, meaningless chit chat has a time and place, but not all the time!), I rarely ask my friends, family, or acquaintances important in-depth questions, and they rarely ask me them. It wasn’t until a random person asked me about my dreams and goals that I began to seriously think about them.
These are conversations that we should be having with the people in our lives! But for some reason we shy away from hard, important, and vulnerable conversations. We yearn to be understood, we long for meaningful connection, but we rarely want to put in the work for it.
How many of us are settling for average because no one is challenging us? How many of us are not even aware of our inner dreams because no one has asked us, and therefore we may not have ever truly pondered them?
We need to be able to think about, verbalize, and discuss our dreams with others so that we can have support and encouragement. These people can remind us of what we set out to do, and uplift us when we feel like giving up.
Don’t be embarrassed of your dreams. Don’t worry about if they do or don’t happen exactly how you imagined they would (they will probably turn out better). With that in mind, don’t scoff at other people’s dreams either. Let’s be people that dream big and encourage others to do the same.
So let me ask you: what are your dreams, what are your goals, how are you going to achieve those dreams and goals, and what do you want your life to look like in five, ten, even fifty years from now?
The time is now to act on your dreams. If you fail, who cares? Learn from that and keep on going. You are a risk-taker.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8