What I’ve learned about dreams

I am a big fan of dreams and goals. My bucket list has about 200 items on it, and it grows daily. I have written a novel, I am working on a memoir, and I have every intention of sending inquiries to literary agents once I have edited manuscripts of each. I have always set lofty goals for myself, and usually this tendency is a blessing.

However, like most good things, there is a flip side. At certain points in my life, dreams have been burdensome. This is especially true in our rat-race society in which enough is rarely seen as enough.

When I accepted a scholarship to major in Secondary English Education at WCU, it was a dream come true. However, a lot of people questioned my decision. I constantly had to defend my university and career choice. After continually answering questions like, “why wouldn’t you consider medical or law school instead,” and “did you really turn down Chapel Hill and Clemson to go to such a small school,” I too began to question what I knew in my heart was a correct path for me.

Honestly, every single year of my college career, I asked myself if I should be somewhere else: somewhere bigger, somewhere more prestigious, etc. I honestly wondered if my dreams should have been bigger, and this question haunted me.

When it came time to choose a place to live, I forgot the ideal of my heart that I simply wanted to help kids and that I would be happy anywhere I would be helpful. I quickly began researching cities as far away from home as my scholarship repayment service would allow. After all, moving far away is what you are “supposed” to do after college, right?! When I ended up moving home unexpectedly, it was one of the biggest adjustments of my life. As a matter of fact, I repeatedly told my parents, “I’m not supposed to be here.” I didn’t think I was.

It was only when I came to two important realizations about dreams that I was able to move past the burdens they had caused me throughout college. I am not sure if these realizations were grand epiphanies or gradual understandings, but they truly changed my life.

1. Sometimes, we get too caught up on the dreams society pushes on us, and we forget to follow our hearts. We instead chase social status, security, or the road less risky. We should stop this and realize that we are given one life to live. Why settle for anything less that everything we’ve ever dreamed of?

2. God gave us all individual dreams and passions for a reason. We are meant to use them for our good and His glory. And while society’s alluring description of 9-5 jobs with big ROI’s may seem attractive, they are nothing compared to God’s plans for our lives. We owe it to Him and to ourselves to not sell out to corporate America.

It is time that we stop apologizing for our dreams no matter how big or small they may be. It is also time that we have the confidence to pursue these dreams recklessly, clinging to the truth that God made us all to move mountains. Some days, I am not quite “all in” with trusting God like I should be, but on the occasions that I submit to His will, He never ceases to amaze me.

After all, “God is able to immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” -Ephesians 3:20

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