Daring to Dream (Again) 

Daring to Dream (Again) 

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Dreaming is hard for me.  I’m really good at being present in my moments.  “Stopping to smell the roses” is totally my jam.   Taking deep breaths and tuning into the sounds of the birds in the trees, noticing the brilliant colors of the sunrise, appreciating my son’s dimples and the twinkle in his eyes as he plays Uno with his daddy — that I can do.  I’m even great at reflecting on and learning from the past.

But the future?  And getting in touch with my secret longings and hopes?  That is overwhelming and just a bit too much for me. 

Anybody who has taken the StrengthsFinder test will understand what I mean when I say this: “Futuristic” is probably in last place for me.  I just don’t seem to be wired in a way that makes it easy for me to pinpoint visions of “what could be.”

So when I read sentences like “Give yourself permission: whisper your God-breathed dreams again,” my heart starts to beat a little faster— and not in the “this is so exciting” way.  No.  On the contrary: I literally start to feel anxiety.  Nausea.  Dizziness.  Fear.  And like all I want to do is run the other way.

Maybe there is some part of me that is dealing with some deep-rooted rejection or disappointment from my past…  And perhaps I’ll get to a more logical, healthy, positive place some day by bringing this up in my therapist’s office… But for now?  All I know is that dreaming is super scary territory for me.

I genuinely don’t know how to do it.  And I feel like an imbecile every time I try.

I know a couple who have been married for almost 40 years and, every year on their anniversary, they reflect on the past year and then dream together.  They finish this sentence “If I had unlimited time, money, talent, and support from my family, here is what I would do with my life…”  And then they set goals and make game plans for how to go about achieving their dreams together.

I finished that sentence once about seven years ago.  I was absolutely terrified by what came out of me.  Before I dared to tune into my dreams, I had no idea how much I longed to live in a spacious place, in the middle of the woods, surrounded by not much of anything, without neighbors living stiflingly close.  Before I did that exercise, I had no idea how introverted I was, how much I longed for time to myself to write and study and ponder; I had no idea how imperative it was for me to go for walks and hikes with friends on a regular basis.  I had no idea, before I finished that sentence, how much I longed for more children than the two I had at the time.  I had no idea how much I desired to be a source of encouragement and hope to those around me.

Actually, looking back, I can see now how insightful and inspiring that exercise was and how it helped my husband and I make some tough-but-for-the-greater-good decisions regarding our finances, living situation, and lifestyle.  So I suppose it was a good thing…

But something else was also born from that “Dreams List” that I made: Disappointment.  Because some of those dreams are still just dreams.  Some of them still seem so unreachably far.  Some of them seem so silly and impossible.  And sometimes it’s depressing to see what little progress has been made in some of what I dared to dream once upon a time.

But today… as I once again feel the challenge to dream, the challenge to put words to some of what tugs at the deep places in my heart again, I felt like… I don’t know… maybe I’ll try it again?  Maybe I’ll make the time to dig down into those rarely-scavenged places of my soul where even non-Futuristic girls like me find buried-deep hopes and “can this ever possibly become?” dreams…

I feel my hands shaking and a lump in my throat rising as I take a deep breath and ask for God’s help in this process.

* * *

What about you?

What do you find when you dig down into those (perhaps rarely-scavenged) places of your soul where dreams live?  How would you complete this sentence: “If I had unlimited time, money, talent, and support from my family, here is what I would do with my life…”

Please share your journey in the comment section below.


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  1. Judy

    I could have written this. Everything. The inability to dream. The dreams that are there if I dig down deep enough, and the disappointment because they will probably never come true. Looking forward to part two.
    Maybe I’m dreaming the wrong kind of dreams. Is there a way to do it wrong?

    • Oh, thank you for being able to relate!!!! I’ll share more as soon as I can!

    • Judy, this was a really helpful podcast for me. They start off a bit distracted, but if you start listening at around the 7 minute mark it gets really good: http://leadstoriespodcast.com/s02-episode-4-vision-in-real-life

      Here are some notes I took from it. Hope they help you!!!

      Steps to finding vision:
      1. Spend time with God. Ask him to give you vision. Genuinely intend to partner with Him in this process. John 5:19 – Jesus said “I do what I see the Father doing.” If you want vision, spend time with Him and listen to what He says, and watch what He’s doing… and then follow His lead.
      2. Gather your community/team/family and hash through it with them. Seek God together with them – perhaps you are all feeling a similar steering?
      3. Who is the most visionary person you know? Go spend time with that person. Ask them questions. Their passion and ideas will likely inspire your own.
      4. In the meantime, while you’re waiting for your own guiding vision – serve somebody else’s vision. You can learn a lot from them in the process and it will likely be a big part of getting you ready for whatever is next for yourself.
      5. Timing is a real thing. Sometimes we have a sense of a distant vision but we aren’t there yet.
      6. Sometimes the vision shifts. And that doesn’t necessarily mean you were wrong. Maybe God gave you a particular vision to get you moving in a particular direction – but it was just because He knew that’s what you needed to see in order to move in that direction. Think about vision as an orientation point that if you were on a journey you would have to continue looking up to make sure you were going in the right direction.
      7. God’s deepest desire is a relationship with us. So when He gives us a vision it’s not fortune-telling. He doesn’t just drop it in our lap and that’s it – no, he wants to work with us along the way and so we have to keep returning to him and asking him for insight and guidance.

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