Dreams…those unique desires living deep down inside of our heart for what’s to come. The future, the next, that which we are preparing for, the goals we have set before us, those things we spend our days in hopeful anticipation of. We all have dreams. They are one of life’s greatest gifts. Today more than ever our culture is saturated with dreamers, doers, world changers…people who have set their gaze ahead and are running full force into the beauty of their dreams. Dreaming, though a great strength, at the very same time can also be the very thing that hinders us. It’s that answer I can pull out of my back pocket when asked for a ‘weakness’ during an interview, a ‘strong weakness’ that is. “I am a dreamer, I have ideas, I want to change the world…but then, I compare myself to people who have already arrived and immediately feel like I will simply never have what it takes to get there.”
Last week some friends of mine and I gathered together to cook dinner and share a meal. 10 intelligent, beautiful, witty, whimsical women sat around a perfectly set farmhouse table; which looked to be something straight out of an Anthropologie catalog. Tiny gold-rimmed wildlife printed dessert plates and all. We shared our hopes for the year ahead and talked about the goals we had set before us. Since the New Year had just begun, it was an opportune time to get after it! When I was asked about my goals for 2015, I shared that I had not set any yet, but my desire was to continue to pursue my dreams...
This past year was full. It was a year filled with a great deal of disappointment met with the fruition of some things I had been dreaming of for quite some time. I honestly have been afraid to make resolutions for this coming year, because in my mind, 2014 will be hard to top. It was a combination of being attentive to the tiny things…seeing the handiwork of God in the details which I so quickly ignored before. Then there were the bigger things that actually came together and I realized that I do in fact have what it takes. Altogether, this past year was one of those milestone years, where I can look back and recognize that I was changed. I went into the year as one person, was cracked open, experienced brokenness and came out put back together, molded into something completely new. I truly saw dreams come true, just not in the way I would have planned it.
Back to the dinner conversation. My fellow-dreamer friend sitting next to me responded to my statement about wanting to continue to pursue my dreams by saying, “think about the dream we are living today.” This statement hit me…deep. I looked around the table and thought to myself, wow, we truly are living out a dream. To sit with friends, to share a meal, to laugh, to know one another, to experience vulnerability, to deeply care for people and for these people to deeply care for me…this was once a dream to me. I realized that so often we are so consumed by the dreams ahead of us that we don’t take time to examine or enjoy the dreams we are living today. Where we are today was once a far-off thought. Life moves so quickly…causing us to forget to practice gratitude for how far we’ve come or the gifts we have been given in this very moment, today.
What if we took inventory of the dreams we are actually living out today? What is it that you might think of as a dream you are living today? Is it your people? Friends who know you deeply? Maybe it’s your dream job. Maybe you are a mother of two or you’ve found your soul-mate or purchased your first home. You've started your own company or taken that trip you’ve always dreamt of taking. You’ve sold a piece of your art work or have experienced healing from something.
There is something we are living in or have lived out that was once a dream. May we not take these things for granted. We are so quick to bypass the act of enjoying the dreams we have already seen fulfilled. Some of these things we worked hard to arrive at, others were simply a gift we have been given. Whether worked hard for or grandfathered in, may we take a look around and evaluate these things…may we stay in the moment long enough to enjoy the present.
You are living out at least one dream, which was once far-off. Maybe you don’t view your life in this way because social media and the constant comparison game of our culture has you thinking that the dreams you are living simply aren’t ‘enough’. You are looking at your life through the lens of comparison, which is leaving you feeling empty and in constant pursuit of that which you don’t possess. This game will leave you feeling exhausted and in a never-ending cycle of discontentment.
Stop trying to arrive at someone else’s dream, you will never accomplish that which you didn’t set out on your own to do. Also remember that some things simply don’t happen overnight, people who accomplish their dreams didn’t wake up to them one day. These things take hard work, persistence and usually a whole lot of rejection. Along the way, may we not ignore the small successes. Celebrate them, these are the necessary milestones contributing to the distant dream inside your heart...this is a huge part of the process.
Never stop dreaming. My hope is that our dreams will not be rooted in the rat-race of trying to measure up, be somewhere or someone we aren't or in comparison to someone else’s already accomplished dream. Remember - they worked hard to get there. There is something beautiful about taking a good long look at your life and enjoying that which you are living out today. Take time to look around your dinner table and acknowledge the gift of today. While we are living in hopeful anticipation for what is to come, may we not wish away today or move along too quickly…because in this very moment, the tiny things are working together, and there is always a dream we are living today. Be thankful.