I remember my parents asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. At the rather innocent and naïve age of five, the possibilities were endless. I wanted to be a Disney princess. I wanted to be the queen. I wanted to be a singer. I wanted to an ice skater, a gymnast, a ballerina. I wanted to be everything I could imagine.
Then you cross over that imaginary line when you realize there are dreams and then there are “careers.” Around age ten, you understand that when someone asks you what you want to be when you grow up, they are asking you what kind of job you want to have. So your answers mature. I want to be a teacher. I want to be a mom. I want to be an actress. I want to be a writer. I want to be a photographer. I want to be an astronaut. I want to be a scientist. I want to be a lawyer. I want to be a politician.
Some of these potential careers stay with you through high school. A few are quickly discarded as simply being outside of your skill set (actress). Others quite frankly are boring and no longer interest you (scientist/astronaut). And still others are forgotten due to lack of opportunity (photography). A few remain, and they are treasured. You begin to cultivate them, perfect them, understand what it means to live them. They turn back into your dreams.
These, you take with you into college. You let them define you as you choose your major, or redefine you as you learn the nuances of each subject. You uncover layers of your dream, each one offering you something new and wonderful to experience and explore. You fool around with each one, finding the one that fits you best. You try on what it means to be a teacher, a politician, a writer. You wrap yourself in these dreams. You let them leave their mark on you.
By the end of your four years (or five or six, or perhaps none if you forgo school and experience your dreams head-on), you have your dream scrawled on your degree. You have it awarded to you as something you deserve after all the effort you put into it. You walk across the stage, are handed your dream, and are thrust into the world.
“Make your dreams your reality,” we are told.
My reality is that my dreams have been too ridiculous, too frivolous, too idealistic. My reality has told me that what I dream doesn’t translate into the real world. There’s some kind of disconnect, some missing piece.
Young men and women enter into the ‘real world’ are are given a dose of ‘what the hell were you thinking?’ Our dreams are stamped out by reality. We are told to get back in line and pick something else, something practical. We are told we have to make a living, pay back our loans, support ourselves, and the only way we can do that is by sacrificing our dream to reality.
And I say no. Finally, after years of torment, frustration, confusion, and tears, I say no. I don’t have to sacrifice my dream. I don’t have to give it up for something else. I don’t have to spend decade after decade doing something I hate, as I watch those older than me finally realize they should never have given up on their dream in the first place. Living in reality doesn’t mean forgetting who I am and choosing to be someone less me.
If I wasn’t meant to have that dream, God wouldn’t have given it to me.
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
1 Timothy 4:12
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
What many of us tend to forget is that the plans we lay out for ourselves or for those around us might not be the plans God has called us to. Perhaps the dream isn’t wrong, but our execution is lacking. He has given each of us a purpose, a calling, a gift. He has created every single aspect of our being, and He knows what we are meant to do. And each purpose, each dream is a bit beyond our comprehension. Only God can see the whole story of the world, start to finish, and know how each of us plays a part.
So maybe my dream of being a writer is ridiculous. Considering some of the looks I get, I’m sure it may be. And maybe I’m bad at it, and this is only a small piece of a greater scheme. But if I’m willing to work for it, to pray for it, to live it, to give it over to God and let Him use it as He will, then I should be allowed to keep my dream. I shouldn’t be mocked for being what I am. I shouldn’t be pitied for the ‘hard road’ that’s ahead of me.
And neither should you. You should never feel that what you want is beyond your reach. You should never feel as if living out your dream is a mistake. You should never feel that doing what you love to the depths of your soul is ridiculous. What God gave you, what He created for you should never be pushed aside. By giving you a dream, He’s giving you permission to seek it out, to make it reality, to make it yours. He’s giving you something He made specially for you, and you have every right to explore it.
So I dare you to dream the ridiculous and make it happen. Because, honestly, aren’t the best dreams some of the craziest?
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