Most of us have been told at least once in our lives, “You can be whatever you want to be.” Sweet little six-year-old me believed it with all her heart, but times seem to change in your twenties. The day dreams haven’t stopped, but the interruptions of “reality” seem to occur more often now.
How will I ever get published by my dream publisher (Thomas Nelson)? When will I ever get paid to speak at an event? How will I adopt 20 children? Will people actually read my blog?
How do you stand out in a sea of dreamers? I have no clue. I am not really a blogger who offers many solutions, because I seem to be on a journey of just figuring things out. I guess I feel as though I drown in the overly confident voices and opinions that fill media, books, and face-to-face reality. There are days I wonder if it is required to have one of those bold voices to stand out, but I don’t think I would be very honest if I did. I get the feeling that many of us crave to have one of those voices, so we cling to people who appear to have it “together.” (What does even mean?) We crave confidence, full assurance in a solution, and an answer to life’s never-ending problems.
I believe this is why our world is addicted to discovering the solution to being skinny, being the best at something, looking better, etc… Think about it, how many ads, blogs, Pinterest posts, and commercials constantly try to offer us the solution to our every day insecurities and issues?
Don’t get me wrong, I am guilty of clicking on the ads, investing my money and time into them, and spending sleepless nights researching ways to make myself stand out.
In November, I went to a conference hosted by Donald Miller called “Storyline Conference.” It was amazing, offering wisdom and direction to my wandering, dreaming heart. There was this moment when I was sitting in a sea of a few thousand people in the same room, where I was awakened to the reality: I am not the only one with these dreams. There are thousands, if not millions, of people just like me who have the same dreams I listed above.
In a moment, I felt as though a fly swatter could rob me of my existence. Dramatic, maybe. But let’s be honest with ourselves, do you ever feel like you are the only one with a great idea, dream, or talent?
I sure do. I can’t tell you how many times I get discouraged when I realize that my idea was not as unique as I saw it, or there was someone who came up with something better. Dreamers can connect in ways that can’t fully be expressed, but can often get tainted with a competitive-comparison driven spirit. Part of us gets excited when we meet someone who understands our aspirations and visions for the future; the other part of us cowers away, scared that we will discover there is more “competition” out there.
A new epiphany was birthed in my quickly expanding world as I drove down to San Diego this past January for the “big move.” God revealed to me that I need to stop being creative in the way I love people, try to inspire people, or try to help people see God’s love. My only focus needs to be pursuing Christ, loving people passionately, and living my life intentionally. Creativity will naturally flow from the core of my heart, my dreams will come in a way that doesn’t feel forced, and if I truly learn to love people, each relationship will be unique. There is no formula to accomplishing your dreams, capturing people’s attention, or loving people.
There may be wisdom and advice that we stumble upon along the way, giving us clear direction or inspiration. We just can’t allow man-made formulas trump our desire to passionately seek Christ. My message will be simple, “God loves you. I love you.”
We are scared of those words. They are more difficult to let sink into our hearts, making it easier to find blogs on social media that seem to offer easier ideas to digest. We were made to love, be loved, and proclaim love. Love is patient, kind, relentless, full of grace, outrageous, illogical, and life-giving.
I don’t need to try to muster up ways to make myself stand out. I just need to be myself, and I think that is harder. I think that transparency and authenticity is more uncomfortable, harder to attain consistently, and pretty darn scary. Stop running. I have ran around for the past few years trying to find my “shining moment” that would lead to all of my dreams coming true, but I didn’t find it. You could only see the true me in moments, not in every breath I breathed. Yes, I truly wanted all of the things I said, but I desperately wanted people to understand just how passionate I was about those dreams. I didn’t think that allowing people to see me just as I was, with no “creativity” or “agenda,” was going to get me anywhere.
I was wrong.
We crave connection. We crave to be known. We crave to be wanted.
How will you find those things if you never give people the opportunity to see you?
I am talking about the you that your scared of, because I believe that is the person I want to be friends with, and the voice I want to hear.
God loves you. I love you. And I mean it.