Daring to Dream (Again)
Daring to Dream (Again)
Don’t have time to read today? Click here to listen to the audio version of this post.
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.