My life lesson speed has been set to overdrive for the last seven months. I have had more self-revelations than an infant who just discovered that they have hands. Have you seen a baby figure out that they have hands, and that hands grab things and that a whole new level of shenanigans has been unlocked? That crap is adorable. I strive to be that excited about everything in my life.
So one of my many many lessons (which I am still learning) is about my obsession and undying commitment to dreaming. And of course I am listening to The Greatest Showman soundtrack right now, which is doing nothing more than enabling my addiction. But I am an “all-in” kinda guy. Ask my wife and family. I have always lived in extremes. I’m either ALL about something or disinterested all together. Even the way I talk about myself is extreme. I know a lot of people read what I wrote and probably clicked exit because they were infuriated with my existence. Those who are still reading, thanks for sticking around. I have a point to make, if you would stick with me for this rollercoaster of a post.
Dreaming can be terrifying to some. It terrifies me sometimes. You have no idea how many of my well thought out and schemed dreams have gone from imaginative delight to a chaotic nightmare. It sucks.
Like that one time I started a non-profit, was accepting speaking and writing gigs left and right, and was hearing the song from Peter Pan in my head “You can fly!” on repeat. Man was my head in the clouds with hope and potential. Especially because I felt like I was on the brink of what I believed to be my calling in life. Guess what happened. My greatest dream was slapped in the face with my greatest fear. That my disability would stop me from being who God meant me to be. A month after doing all these amazing things, I fell and broke my ankle for the first time in my life. I crashed emotionally and physically. I had to be “rescued” by my family and pulled out of Nashville for almost 4 months and battle my way back to learning to walk again. Reality popped my balloon and I came down like a thousand bricks.
Or how about that time that I took a job fresh out of college that fueled me with promise and more dreams than I could handle. Sometimes that old phrase “If it is too good to be true” is terribly accurate.
What about that first time I got declined by a publisher?
What about that time I went to visit my dream college and had the most awful experience, and left feeling like I would never be able to physically do college?
What about that time it was down to me and another candidate for my dream job and they picked the other person?
What about when I fell madly in love with someone who led me on and broke my trust?
When dreams do not work out, when they turn to nightmares something cracks a little on your inside. When dreams are challenged by disappointment, when hope is kicked in the stomach, it hurts deeply. Have you ever had your hope curb-stomped? If you have felt what I am talking about, then you know that was a graphic, yet apt question I just asked.
If you have then you have been faced with the choice to give up on dreaming. To shy away from hope, to substitute faith for the scientific method.
I am here to tell you something. Don’t make that choice. That is plain stupid. And you are hurting yourself way more than needed. I have tried to stop dreaming, tried to stop trusting God, tried to put hope to rest. When I do, I am a shadow of who I was created to be.
One thing you should know about me is that I emphatically believe that every single human on this tiny blue orb is created specifically with the divine capability to create, dream and imagine. It is one of the many things that makes us unique and affirms the image of God placed upon us.
So do not close the door on your dreams. Instead, let’s learn to dream maturely. Let us bask in the excitement of hope, let us dream of a world where we are living a life where we are doing what we are meant to do. Lets learn how to handle the ups and downs. If dreaming causes your life to be a rollercoaster of ups and downs, buckle up… Just do not be too afraid to get on the ride. Do not miss out on life and love because you are too scared of being hurt. We all get hurt, and some times it feels like that hurt cannot be overcome.
In some of my examples above about dreams turning to nightmares, I got hurt really bad in every example. I asked myself, was the dreaming, the hope and the faith worth the energy? And a few of those, when the dreams crashed, I wasn’t the only one to get hurt. Sometimes our dreams promise the world to someone else. And their trust in you gets maimed. Those instances, for me, were way harder to overcome.
I wish I could tell you that in every instance, that I failed or was hurt that something miraculous happened and my dreams were fulfilled!
That is not always the case. My examples above, took me months to recover from. But maybe that is the problem with my logic. I wanted to recover something I thought I lost. Disappointment does lead to some type of grieving process. it is okay to grieve.
BUT if you didn’t already know, your story is not one event. Life does not work like a book or a movie. Sometimes it might feel like you are out of control of your story, but you never were in control.
You know what I have to say about all the times I was hurt and disappointed? God didn’t change. You know what did? I changed. I learned, I got stronger, I found a way to love someone a little better, I gave less power to a person or circumstance and my dreams got a little more detailed since they now reflected experience.
Time for my Pseudo-Christianese advice. Hope does not reside in an object of desire. Calling is not meant to be an Idol. Whether that calling is to be a speaker, a spouse, a parent, a doctor or a king. There is only one place hope truly resides and that is in the arms of the Creator of the universe. Because God returns that hope right back to you. God hopes for you to be exactly who you are meant to be. God’s desire is to see you live God-inspired dreams that are more fulfilling, more world-changing, more remarkable than anything we can dream up.
I once heard a Ted Talk from this lady that talked about “muses”. She talked about how if artists learned to release the pride associated with what they create, something marvelous will happen. She claimed that we needed to act like the Ancient Greeks and attribute our great works and dreams to muses. We have to relinquish our ownership to what we create. And if you have to say that a muse birthed the creativity in you to do that, then you should.
She was right. Stop taking credit for it all. But do not give your copyright to muses. Give them to the Author of it all. The one who sowed you together. The one who dreams of a future where you are living the fullest life imaginable. Fuller than imaginable.
All my dreams that have crumbled have not ended me. God’s purpose for me is immense, as is God’s purpose for you. You and I will live that purpose with every breath we take until our last day on Earth.
If your business is failing, if your marriage is crumbling, if your children’s future is in question, if your calling seems it is going nowhere. This is not the end. DO NOT STOP DREAMING.
Do not get off that rollercoaster. Never ever relegate yourself to a life as a bystander. Place your hope in God and embrace faith in the highest highs and the lowest lows.
As for me, as for my failings. I am living a life fuller than I ever thought possible even midst my nightmares. I hope that for you too. And I will not submit that hope to fear. Imagine with me what God dreams for you.