A few weeks ago I wrote a post about dreams and how most of us could probably stand to dream a little bigger. I still fully believe that … most of us don’t give ourselves enough credit for what we’re actually capable of accomplishing.
Since that post, it seems as though this whole “follow your dreams” conversation has been coming up a lot lately among my friends. Maybe it’s just because it’s January and everyone is in goal-setting mode for the new year. Maybe it’s because we’re all at that stage where we’re supposed to have ‘arrived’ and most of us don’t know where to go beyond here. Either way, the conversation is starting to overwhelm me. A few things are making this whole dream-new-dreams-life-stage a little awkward:
1. I’m currently living the dream I’ve been carrying around since I was a pre-teen. When teachers would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d say, “I’m going to live in a big city and run my own company.” Imagine a frizzy-haired, scrawny little white girl from Derby, Kansas snapping back with that answer. Since I need to get a new answer for the first time in 20 years, I’m having a difficult time figuring out where to start.
2. I feel like I should be allowed to “live the dream” for a while before someone asks me “what’s next?” So I use the “I’m living in the present” as an excuse not to tackle the answer to that question.
3. I feel pressured to come up with a dream so impossible it not only terrifies me, but the people around me. My old dream held a sort of shock value … what if I can’t think of something as compelling? On the same note, things become less scary after you keep taking bigger risks. You find out it doesn’t kill or completely ruin your life and you start to feel like, no matter what, things will be OK.
And in the middle of #3, I realized something … I don’t actually think anything is impossible.
WOAH. Hold the trolly you crazy bat!
I made that realization out loud (as most extroverts do) when I was talking to my BFF Alice the other day. My brain couldn’t believe my mouth (again, a total extrovert problem) and instantly fired back with the following accusations:
- What A-hole says they don’t think anything is impossible?
- Wow, talk about first world problems.
- Who do you think you are? God?
- Speaking of God, what room is left for Him if you think you can do it all yourself?
Let me explain something. When I say I don’t really think something is impossible, I’m not saying things aren’t extremely difficult nor am I saying accomplishing big dreams don’t require a massive time commitment. And by time commitment, I’m talking … years … perhaps the dedication of an entire lifetime. I’m also not saying I have any interest in tackling a dream on my own. That would be completely dumb and uber boring. As for God, I read once that “With God, all things are possible.” And I believe God is with me (not because I’m cool, but because hanging out with me is surely His form of comic relief). So. Where does that leave me?
Exhausted from sitting on a perfectly decent dream.
I’ve been listening to pastors, leaders, friends, and visionaries my whole life. Most recently, I’ve been using their thoughts on dreaming bigger as my reason to stay inactive. Example: Since I haven’t found a dream I’m terrified of or feel is next to impossible, I’ll ignore the ones I have and sit around hoping for a bigger one.
There are a lot of things wrong with this world. Things that are way bigger than I am (in theory) but that could be solved over time with little bites at a time. In fact, the only dreams that seem near impossible, to me, revolve around issues/industries I am either unfamiliar with or totally uninterested in.
Look, I don’t think I’m God’s gift to humanity here. But I do think the dreams I have in my head for how to leave a mark and bring hope are important. I think they’ve been occupying space in my heart and my brain for a really long time for a reason. And instead of waiting for a bigger, shinier, more heroic dream to come along, I think I’m going to start making the one I have a priority. Who knows, at the end of my life, maybe I’ll look back and think, “Holy crap. Had I known that little dream would turn out so colossal … I would have shat myself in fear before EVER committing to taking that first step.”
I believe everyone is capable of greatness. Truth be told, I finally believe that applies to me too. So when someone tells me their dream for humanity or their career or their life, it doesn’t shock me anymore. What DOES shock me is seeing someone actually lace up their shoes and start marching towards that goal … one step at a time.