I am a big visionary and love to pursue things that I have passion and interest in. Many things have come along recently have challenged me and have caused me to re-evaluate how I pursue my dreams and goals and how much emphasis I put on them in my life.
First it began while listening to a dear friend of ours, Peter, talk about dreams for our lives. He shared that when we are children we dream of things that seem to be out of this world. We dream of being a princess at Disney or of being an astronaut. But as we grow up we realize those are not realistic dreams. Now into our 30’s and 40’s many of us are just in the mode of staying afloat in life. Keeping a job, paying off debt, caring for the kids, etc…As we go along and the pressures of life come, we water down the dreams for our lives. We start losing site of dreams and visions for our life and begin to think, “if I can just get to the end, “thank God”!
I agree with this. I do see a watering down of dreams as the pressures of life come on. I especially see this in the life of my husband who doesn’t have the luxury of staying at home with the kids each day as I do and surrounding himself in a creative think box all day long. He works at a job that isn’t his dream job (but a nice job nonetheless) to provide for us. I feel sad that he isn’t able to pursue his dreams more. They are definitely watered down and lessened by the realities of putting food on the table and providing for the family. He and I have had many late night discussions about how we can make his dreams and hopes for his future still come to fruition.
A different perspective came when I was listening to a radio interview with Phil Vischer, creator of the cartoon Veggie Tales, who lost everything due to bankruptcy. The interview was fascinating as he talked about the dreams he had for the company and watching as he lost it all. This is what he said (in a nutshell) of having and pursuing dreams.
“We worship dreams in our culture. We ‘dream the impossible dream’. We grow up learning that ‘When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true’. Dreaming is so wired into our culture that we haven’t realized that dreams have become our religious experience. When we back up and say “I’m not going to call that my dream but instead I’m going to call it a good idea”, suddenly it loses its power of me. The minute I take an idea and make it a dream, I am holding onto it to tightly. We sew these things so tightly into our skin that when we lose them, it hurts.”
This was such a fascinating concept for me. I am certainly a product of the culture and have claimed and reached for many dreams in my life. They have indeed become sewn into my skin that it doesn’t necessarily hurt when they don’t happen (although they do occasionally), but instead I feel like I let myself down and not living up to the expectations I have by not accomplishing them. The pressure I put on myself to accomplish my “dreams” is enormous and this is what I have been wrestling through lately. I have begun writing down all of these dreams, visions, ideas and hopes I have for my life (i.e. career, personal, family). I am spending serious time praying and thinking through the list and slowly beginning to let myself off the hook. Not that I won’t pursue those things that should still be pursued but I am taking this list as a list of “good ideas” rather than “life goals” which takes an immense amount of pressure off and gives me the freedom to enjoy life as it comes….my how I can take life so seriously!
With all of that said, this weekend is going to be a weekend of late night talks for the hubby and I. With this long list of mine, one of his and a mutual "dream" list, we are in for some great discussions about how to reconcile these lists, take all of these great ideas and shape the future to make those that are suppose to happen, happen. We have no crystal ball and obviously can't foresee what twists and turns will happen in the future but we can choose to move toward the direction we believe our lives should go and pursue those ideas we believe and have passion for. I want to hold to them loosely though so if they do fall through, we aren't crushed and despaired but instead ready to pursue the next in line.