Today I’m thinking of you. And I’m wondering if you might be a little like me.
You see, we all have hopes and dreams for our lives. Some of those hopes and dreams are small, and some are big and grand. Regardless of the size, they’re all worthy.
But sometimes, when a dream is really important to you, when it’s something you’ve been hoping for and dreaming of for a long, long time? It scares you.
Yes, hopes and dreams are exciting, exhilarating, life-giving. But they’re also scary because sometimes they can feel too big, unattainable, impossible to achieve.
Let me tell you a little more about how this plays out in my life.
About six weeks ago, I published a post on my personal Facebook page. It read something like this…
Seriously considering running a marathon for my 40th birthday. Wondering if running a marathon is something I should plan on being a once-in-a-lifetime event, or is it something an average person could pull off several times? Also, any recommendations as to which marathon would be better for a first-time marathoner, _____ or _____ (listed the names of two marathons I’ve considered for my first).
Sure, it was a little scary to publish this post on my personal Facebook page, because I’ve dreamed of running a marathon for a long, long time. But what was even scarier was the fact that I was putting myself out there and had no idea what kind of response I’d get. Would they think I was crazy? Trying to get attention? I knew there were a lot of marathoners in my 400-something friend list on Facebook, so I knew it was the best place to go for some quick feedback. But I was still a little scared.
After I published the post, I put down my phone and watched a movie with my husband. Two hours later, I picked up my phone and pulled up Facebook. As I walked up the stairs to our bedroom, I noticed there didn’t seem to be any replies to my post about the marathon. No notifications were popping up on my screen.
I got scared.
Oh no. The post has been up for two hours and not a single person’s responded. They must think I’m crazy. They must think I’m out of my mind. This was a horrible idea.
So before I even got to the top of the stairs, I pulled up the post, erased it, and closed down Facebook.
When I got into bed, I proceeded with my nightly routine, which is quiet time to peruse Facebook and Twitter without interruption. It was only then, when I gave Facebook ample time to load, that I realized I had received feedback on that marathon post – several likes and SEVEN comments. Seven comments. Hmmm…
I clicked on the notification so I could read all of the comments; the only (major) problem was that I had deleted the post just a few minutes prior! I, quite literally, lost access to my own post. So although I could see that seven comments had been made, I never had the opportunity to read any of them. When I deleted the post, all of the comments got automatically deleted as well. The support I might have just garnered for one of my dreams was lost in one click.
I felt like a fool. How silly was I? How stupid was I to assume that NOBODY would like the idea of me running a marathon? It was only because of my own fear that I erased that post as I walked up the stairs. It was only because of my own need for others’ APPROVAL of my dream that I erased the post when I thought it had gotten zero response.
Sorry to say folks, it doesn’t end there.
In January, I asked for a prayer and support team to come alongside me and my God-sized dreams. I wasn’t in any place to share my dreams with the whole wide world, but I didn’t want to feel alone with my dreams anymore, either. To my surprise, 12 people offered to come alongside. But two emails and three months later, I became scared that I just let 12 people in on my dreams. I wanted to back out, I wondered if I’d made the wrong decision. There was a part of me that thought I’d been too quick to invite others in, too quick to put myself out there, too quick to share the dreams. I felt vulnerable, and still do. Yet I know I need the support.
And another example – after I’d taken a 3-week break from blogging, after I felt complete clarity about my life from here on out, my husband and I made plans to start moving me towards my dreams even more. But let me tell you, there’s a cost to pursuing your biggest hopes and dreams. When you start to count the cost of following your dreams, it’s easy to get scared.
Thoughts creep in…
Is this really worth it? Are my hopes and dreams really going to happen anyway? What if I spend all of this time, all of this money, all of this effort – and nothing comes of it? What if? What then?
Yes, I admit. I have these hopes, I have these dreams for my life. But I’ve been waffling between fear and hope. I’ve felt empowered, I’ve felt the uncertainty of in-between, and I’ve felt scared to death.
So I’m wondering if you might be a little like me?
What are your hopes? What are your dreams for your life?
Do you dream of finally getting that college degree? Maybe it’s an extra licensure or degree you need to fulfill those dreams. Perhaps your hopes and dreams are on the home front. You long to get married and have children of your own, you want to become a foster parent, you dream of adopting from Asia or Africa, you want to know what it’s like to stay home full-time with your children. You daydream about a bigger house, a much smaller house, a lake house, or maybe you realized you really just want to sell it all and retire or become a missionary. It’s possible you need to get back to work, step away from work, change your work from corporate to nonprofit or the other way around. Maybe you want to open a restaurant, set up a booth at the state fair, start a video business, jewelry business, Mary Kay business? Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to climb Mount Everest, go on a safari, kayak over a waterfall, or become an Ironman. Or maybe, just maybe, you dream of quiet spaces where you have room to breath, room to feel free, room to notice and just be.
Whatever your dream is, it’s worthy.
Whatever your dream is, it’s bound to make you scared at some point.
Whatever your dream is, fear’s going to push back on it somewhere along the way.
But yes, let’s remind ourselves again…
Whatever your dream is, it’s worthy of dreaming.
Because without dreams, we have no hope for a better tomorrow.
So let’s keeping hoping, let’s keep dreaming, let’s keep praying it’ll all come true.
And day by day, let’s push those fears aside – together.
Don’t let your biggest hopes and dreams scare you. Because in the end, it’s better to have failed in pursuit of a dream than it is to regret having never pursued it at all.