Scared to Dream
Recently my nine-year-old niece, Ruby, asked me to put her to bed. We walked upstairs and as she climbed in bed, she turned toward me and asked, “Will you tell me a bed-time story?” Thrilled that she asked, I said, “Sure.”
My story began like this, “Once upon a time, there was a girl who traveled to Africa because she wanted to be the first young lady to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Once she arrived, she checked into her hotel and decided to get a treat at a local coffee shop before she went shopping for supplies…..”
Before I could go on, Ruby interrupted me, “No, Aunt Sharie. I wanted you to tell me a fairy tale- you know, a love story with a handsome prince.”
If you know me well, you’re probably laughing right now. You see, I am a creative person, but I usually gravitate toward art and adventure rather than fairy tales and unicorns. Also, I am a boy-mom so I’m more accustomed to telling adventure stories.
I didn’t want to disappoint my niece so I replied, “Of course there’s going to be a handsome prince! When the young girl walked in to the coffee shop, she noticed the barista behind the counter was very cute. She became so distracted by his handsomeness that she tripped, fell, and broke her leg. Unfortunately she could not hike the mountain in this condition, but the barista’s parents, who felt very guilty, came to the rescue. They offered to take care of the young girl until she recovered….”
Ruby listened intensely and I was under the assumption I had the perfect ending planned, with the young girl summiting the mountain with the young barista and his sister, but Ruby anxiously intervened…again! “Aunt Sharie,” she pleaded, “Every fairy tale has to end with a magnificent wedding.”
“Oh, it will!” I said. And, suddenly my story took a ginormous twist sot hat when they reached the top, the entire kingdom was waiting for the young girl and the barista (who was a prince) to marry in the magic castle (which was on tope of the giant mountain)…the end.
Why am I sharing this bed-time story with you guys? Because our world is full of people with dreams as diverse as the stars in the sky, but one thing we all have in common is a desire for our dreams to come true. Some of us are pursuing a specific dream, while others are still in a state of discovery.
I used to be scared to dream because I disappointment held me captive. I’ve since learned that disappointment is often unavoidable. It often accompanies risk. However, I want to share with you three secrets from my ILYM Study Guide which help me dream in a healthy way.
1. Discover yourself before you pursue your dream
The first reason people abandon a dream is because they don’t take time to discover themselves. Recently, I’ve watched our culture scream, “Follow your dreams,” to a sea of people who haven’t discovered themselves. Pressure to pursue a dream has caused many people to unintentionally hijack someone else’s, only to eventually burn out when their life feels disingenuous. Here is a word to the wise: If you don’t know who you are, other people won’t either. You will simply look like another “somebody.”
But you are not just another somebody!
So, if you want to discover your dream, you must take time take an honest assessment of yourself. Pray and ask God to help you answer these questions:
How has God designed me?
What am I passionate about?
What are my gifts and weaknesses?
What do I like or dislike?
2. Saying yes to everything will leave you with nothing
The second reason people burn out on a dream is that they feel pressured to say yes to everything. When I first started speaking and writing, my wise mentors asked me:Who is your target audience?
What is your message?
Describe yourself in three words.
I didn’t like their questions because I felt like I was being put into a box. I assumed every opportunity was an open door from the Lord, but I soon realized every time I said yes to one thing, I was saying no to something else. I started asking myself these questions:
When I say yes to something, what am I saying no to?
Am I overcommitted or is my life in harmony?
Is my spiritual life/marriage/family thriving?
As you analyze your life, be careful not to compare yourself to others. When I analyzed my life, I realized I need more alone time and sleep than my husband. This is not good or bad; it just is! So, how are you wired? What are your limits?
If you want to live your dream, you must plan your life so that you can live it well and not suffer burn out. Learn to say no.
3. God is not a means to an end. He is the end
I can’t tell you how many people Ive seen abandon their dreams because God did not magically give them success “beyond all that they could ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20, emphasis mine). I’ve seen others quit because God seemed to delay their dreams and make their “hear sick” (Proverbs 13:12).
I’ve experienced disillusioned disappointment with God, and this is what I’ve noticed. When I’m frustrated with God’s performance, my desire for my dream has become greater than my desire for Him. I am trying to use Him to accomplish my dreams, not trusting him in the fulfillment of them.
In her book, You’re Made for a God-sized Dream, Holley Gerth says, “Serve the Once who loves you with excellence. But don’t use him to serve your personal agenda. God is not a means to an end. He is the end.” In other words, God is your fulfillment. Period.
© 2019 Sharie King. All rights reserved
Hey Dreamer! here’s some more encouragement for you.
I understand pursuing a dream can be super intimidating, so I have some other resources to encourage you in your journey. The entire first season of Overcoming Monday is about dreaming and how to pursue a dream. Also, I created a teaching video with my friend Mollie Suits where we discussed the difficulties and blessings of dreaming. Here are the links: