Since I wrote my last post, I’ve been thinking a lot about the dreams we have and the dreams God gives us. As I said before, my dream of singing started when I was a little girl and then over the years it became something that was just a part of who a was. Even during the years of my life when I wasn’t involved in anything that allowed me to perform, I still considered myself a singer. People who met me during that time probably wondered if I really could sing, because as much as I said I was a singer, they never heard me actually do it.
It was in the years that I wasn’t singing that I started writing. Now, looking back, I think that the writing started as a sort of secondary, more attainable dream. I had convinced myself that being successful as singer was impossible, but maybe I could write a book and make something of myself that way.
So, I started writing a novel. It started really well, but after a while, when my ideas slowed down, and I began experiencing some writer’s block, discouragement set in. I started doubting my ability. I started doubting my ideas. I started doubting my worth. The thought process went like this...
“Why do you think you have anything to say that anyone would want to listen to?”
“Who do you think you are to suppose you could be an author? Really? You must be out of your mind?”
(Anyone see a theme here?)
“Look at all those books on the shelves of the bookstores. For every one of those authors, there are hundreds of people who have written books and can’t get them published. What makes you think you’re good enough when so many others aren’t?”
“Other people are content to have their stable office jobs. Why can’t you be happy to be a receptionist?”
For the record, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a receptionist. A good receptionist is a wonderful asset to a company. I, however, was a terrible receptionist. I just don’t have the personality for it. I was too introverted, too serious, and to be honest, I didn’t handle being interrupted very well. Not a good trait for someone who spends their whole day being interrupted by silly things like important phone calls and people coming in the front door needing directions to appointments, interviews or training sessions.
Anyway, there I was, talking myself out of dream number two. My mom was encouraging me to keep writing, because, stupidly, during a time when I was feeling good about the way my story was coming out, I had printed it out and given it to her to read, and she thought it was pretty good. (Well, she said it was “Great”, but she’s my mom, so she has to think it’s great. I think it’s in the contract or something.) Soon my grandmother was bugging me about it too, because my mom had passed it on to her. (Yes, I said “bugging me”, because that’s how I felt about it at the time. I love you, Grandma!) I think Grandma then sent it to every other member of my family because then I had random aunts or uncles asking me when the next chapter was going to be done.
So, the cat was out of the bag, and now I felt pressure to keep going, but I was stuck. I had a serious case of writer’s block and an inferiority complex at the same time. I didn’t know what to do to fix it, so, I gave up, which only added fuel to the inferiority fire.
Not long after that, I got pregnant and, as any new mom knows, becoming a mommy is all consuming, so I had a convenient excuse for several years. I didn’t have time to write, I had the baby to take care of. And then I had a toddler and another baby to take care of. And then I had a toddler and a baby and a job. So it became easier and easier to rationalize why I wasn’t even trying to write anymore. Really, I was just afraid to try.
God only let me do that for a certain amount of time, though. I’ve noticed that when a person isn’t doing what God designed them to do, there’s a deep discontentment in their soul. For a long time, I didn’t know what was wrong, I just knew I wasn’t happy.
One day, while browsing the Christian section at the bookstore, I came across a little book called “The Dream Giver”, by Bruce Wilkinson. It’s a parable about a man named Ordinary who lives in the land of Familiar with all the other Nobodies, when the Dream Giver gives him a big dream and he then tries to leave Familiar to become a Somebody. Wilkinson then explains the parable and relates it to how it could play out in our lives.
I highly recommend it. God used this book to remind me of my dreams and to tell me that even though I had written myself off, so to speak, he hadn’t.
About a month after I read that book, our pastor did a sermon series titled “Dream Big”. After 3 sermons on why we need to have big, “God-sized” dreams that we are following, I was beginning to get the message. Time to start doing what God wanted me to do, even though I was scared and didn’t think I was good enough.
I wonder how many people have written themselves off and decided that their dreams are unattainable, so they should just be content to get and keep “a good job”.
I wonder how many people are quietly dying inside because they have lowered their expectations of life to where they are because the thought of where they really want to be doing is too painful.
I wonder how many people have forgotten that they ever had dreams in the first place.
Thinking about it makes me sad. But the thing that gives me hope, is that as long as you are still on the earth, God still has dreams for you. He still wants you to follow him to fulfill them. Maybe the dream from your youth really isn’t possible any more, but God has new dreams. He can give you new purpose. He wants his children to live abundant lives, not just a mediocre existence. Can you dare to believe that maybe that thing you have always wanted to do might just be what God has wanted for you all along?
So, now I have announced to the world that, not only do I want to sing, but I also want to be a writer. It’s crazy, I know. Neither one of those is a particularly easy field to break into, but God has put these things in my heart, and not doing them only makes for a miserable me. Therefore, I will write and I will sing, and I will watch to see how God uses them to take me into the future he has planned for me.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How amazing are your thoughts concerning me, God!
How vast is the sum of them! Psalm 139:15-17
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Ephesians 3:20 (The Message)
Do you have dreams that are lying dormant in your mind and in your heart? I pray that you can begin to let the God shine some sunlight on those seeds so that they can begin to grow into the abundance and purpose that he has you for.