A time to dream

Let’s be honest. Over the last several weeks, I have been avoiding this blog like the plague. I could attribute my absence to the fact that T and I have been busy preparing and traveling for the holidays or make a number of other excuses, but the truth is that I have been seriously lacking in inspiration. And, if you’ve ever done any sort of writing in your life, you know that there’s nothing scarier than staring at a blank, stark white computer screen without even the slightest idea of how to fill it.

Of course, in my experience, the best way to cure writer’s block is to just sit down and start typing. But it’s the sitting down, the actual starting. that can be absolutely intimidating and down right sweat-inducing. Case in point: Earlier this week, I wrote “BLOG” in all capital letters with an unnecessary number of exclamation points in my planner as my only to-do task for Saturday (today). My progress so far? It’s currently just after lunch and I’ve already finished cleaning and reorganizing all of my kitchen cabinets, vacuuming the floor, listening to three podcasts and watching two episodes of “How I Met Your Mother”.

I scrubbed cabinetry in order to avoid doing something that I love to do. When I spell that out—when I type those words on this screen and think about the fact that you’ll be reading them—it feels so silly. But isn’t that so often how we approach our lives?

Over the past several weeks, God has been showing me how I’ve adopted this habit of filling my time with purposeless tasks to avoid thinking about or doing things that actually matter; things that excite me, or have the potential to make a real impact. I have become conditioned to want to know what’s waiting on the other side–to have it all figured out and analyzed and perfectly planned–before I take even a baby step, much less a leap. And when I don’t have all the answers? Well, my cabinets may end up squeaky clean, but my feet stay firmly planted.

I think we’ve grasped on to this ritual of playing hide and seek with the ideas or goals or longings that matter most to us because it’s these things that involve the most vulnerable parts of who we are. They take hold of our emotions and our innermost beings and it can feel so scary to dream about what it would look like to really pursue them. So, we don’t. We keep slugging through our daily tasks, and we fill our empty time with Instagram and Netflix and maybe even reorganization projects so that we don’t have to think about those things we’re not doing but secretly wish we were.

A few weeks ago, T and I were about halfway through the 12-hour journey back to Kentucky for Christmas when he asked me what I hoped I would be doing in five years. Not what I hoped we would be doing as a family; just me. My dreams.

The question caught me off-guard, so I made a lame excuse about how this was a year for focusing on his career and his dreams, and that we’d focus on mine later. The truth is, I’ve been hiding behind that lame excuse to avoid thinking about the real answer.

But you know what? Avoidance is exhausting and frankly, I’m ready for something new. So this year, I’m resolving to do more dreaming; to dive into the scary, unknown territory of thinking about how to go after the things I’ve always wanted to do but never actually had the guts to pursue.  I’m giving myself the freedom and permission to think and pray and journal and even talk about the things that make my heart beat faster, even if I don’t have all the answers. I’m choosing to take a step (albeit a baby step) toward living the life God has imagined for me and leveraging the talents and skills and passions He’s given me to go beyond what feels safe or ordinary.

I don’t know what will come of this dreaming, and that makes me more than a little nervous; just writing these words is making my palms sweaty. But I think that so often, we women hide behind the things that we have to do—house stuff and job stuff and family stuff—to avoid thinking about the things that we are called to do. Somewhere along the way, we’ve come to believe that dreaming about the future is a waste of our time and that if we’re not filling our lives with “busy”, we’re doing something wrong. And I just feel that maybe God is saying to us, “Stop. Put the phone down, stop running around like a crazy person and come sit with Me. Those things that really matter to you? They matter to Me, too. Let’s pursue them together.”

Maybe you need to do a little dreaming this year, too. If so, I hope you’ll find this encouraging. Let’s make 2017 a year when we say no to avoiding uncertainty so that we can say yes to exploring and dreaming about what it is we were actually created to do. Ready? Set. Go!

Until next time,

M

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