Today’s day 29, which means we’re in the home stretch of 31 Dreams From the Street.
(Can I just say a little Hallelujah?!)
I’d like to to step back and share some random thoughts and observations I made as we proceeded through the series.
No need for delay. Let’s get right to it!
I lived in humility this month. Ego was OUT. THE. DOOR. If you want to practice humility, commit to interviewing random strangers for a whole month. Or commit to doing something, anything totally out of your box. Then go make it happen. It’s an exercise in courage and humility, wrapped into one. Perhaps being brave makes us humble, too.
One thing I sensed deeply this month is that human beings have trust issues. I addressed this in yesterday’s post, but I’m pretty sure that half of the people I approached for an interview didn’t trust me. I find myself to be a fairly benign, non-threatening person. And I wasn’t asking that much of the people I interviewed. Yet, I was still rejected by 20. I recognize that being approached by a random stranger is totally out of the ordinary. I understand why elements of trust and distrust were inherent to this series. I just wish we lived in a world that was more trusting. Our walls are up. Our guards are up. We don’t always trust human beings. It’s hard to be authentic and develop meaningful relationships with others when we don’t trust. Trust is crucial to connection.
Couldn’t we all benefit from a little more hope? When we reveal bits, pieces and chunks of our hearts, we become vulnerable, we become wiser, we stir a little or a lot of the hope that’s inside us. When we hope for something better, when we dream bigger, we present ourselves differently to the world. We’re a living example of what hope looks like, lived out in real time. We can hope for a better tomorrow. We can hope for the things God’s placed on our heart. Hope is worth the risk.
There were a couple days this month that I literally wanted to strip off ALL OF MYSELF. I wanted to strip off ALL OF ME. I wanted to strip off every ounce of my image. Because I sensed something between me and those 20 rejections. Something sat between me and the hundreds of people I passed and didn’t have the courage to approach. One suspect might be image. My instinct told me that if I’d have been able to strip myself of my image, I would’ve had fewer rejections and greater courage to approach more people. But here’s the truth. Stripping our images is nearly impossible. We all come with a “face,” an outward image that people perceive and make judgements about. I wondered if people would have responded differently if I was a man, if I dressed differently, if I presented myself differently, if I was younger, or older?
Chasing other peoples’ dreams is exhausting. Chasing other peoples’ dreams for you is exhausting, too. So chase your own dreams. And encourage the dreamers running alongside you. For we all need a little encouragement.
Dark & Light
The street can be dark, lonely, cold, and hurried. Slow down, be a light, and bring joy to a world that needs it bad. Sometimes, we need to get off the fast pace of the street, both literally and figuratively, and step into spaces where we can develop relationship and be known. Life is better when shared. Life is better when we’re connected. Life is better wherever we’re moving towards light.
Work Your Spaces
We’re not meant to be everywhere and be everything to everyone. Be a light in the spheres God’s assigned you to. Stepping outside of the box is good, but if you step too far away from your gifting, you might just find yourself in the wilderness.
Security and Insecurity
The world can make you feel secure as quickly as it can make you feel insecure. Live a life that you love. Hold firm to your beliefs. Know you’re masterfully designed by your creator. Know that you matter. Believe that your life counts. Regardless of what anyone says or how anyone makes you feel. The value of your life has nothing to do with what others think of you. The value of your life is inherent in you. Because you are you. You are called and made, beautiful.
Smile to someone on the street. Why not? One day when I was out interviewing for this month’s series, I’m pretty sure only one person smiled at me all day. A weight lifted when that person smiled at me. Like someone actually saw me, noticed me, decided it was worth a second to smile at another human being. You never know what kind of day someone’s had. Smile. Please. You’ve got nothing to lose. And you might just feel a little happier yourself, because you made someone’s day a bit brighter.
Broad & Shallow vs. Narrow & Deep
I’m not in this writing gig to push out content. I’m not in this writing gig to go broad, big and shallow. I’m in this writing gig to go narrow and deep. I’m in this writing gig to share my heart. I’m in this writing gig to connect, to love, to hear you out. I’m in this writing gig to share your story, to share my story, to share God’s story weaved through all of us.
Before we discover who we are, we have to find out who we’re NOT. This month, I learned a lot about who I am. But I learned even more about who I’m NOT. That lesson was invaluable. Now, I’m ready to move on. Now, I’m more prepared than I was, to embrace who I am with wild abandon. This learning who we are and who we aren’t is a tough lesson, but one I wish for everyone. Because we’re not created to be everyone. We’re created to be ourselves.
I mentioned this in Darlene’s post, but we need to take more time with people. We’re missing the boat when we dismiss people, when we merely pass them by, when we barely acknowledge, when we think others better or less than ourselves. What if we took time? To sit. To be. To live in community with others? What if?
I’ve decided once and for all. In the end, money won’t matter at all. In fact, the only power it holds over any of us is that it’s a currency. It’s a way of living. It’s a way of surviving. But living for money is no way to live. So we see money for what it is. A currency to sustain us. But it doesn’t have a hold on us. It doesn’t have us pinned down. It is what it is. Money. Currency.
So don’t be deceived, dear one, be assured. Your best life doesn’t hinge on money. Your best life hinges on faith, relationship, and finding purpose so you can leave a legacy when all’s said and done. So discover and live in your sweet spot. Because when life gets tough, when life’s down and out, all the money in the world won’t help a bit. Faith will sustain us. Relationships will sustain us. And if we discover, embrace, and walk boldly in our purpose, we’ll leave a legacy of hope.
There’s more to life than mere existence.
There’s more to life than money.
Let’s live like “we’re rich.”
For “The simple things in life are the only things that really matter.” Judah & The Lion
*This post is a part of a month-long 31 Days series titled Dreams from the Street. If you’d like to read more from my series, click here and you’ll be brought to the series landing page where all 31 posts are listed and linked! You can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/AmyBPederson where I’ll tweet links to all 31 posts using hashtag #write31days, and I’d LOVE to connect on Facebook at facebook.com/AmyBPederson! I’m so glad you stopped by. Make yourself comfortable and take a peek around the place. You’re welcome back anytime.