You can do anything you set your mind to
The world is your oyster
All that's holding you back is yourself
Dream big and work will make it happen
There is no limit to what you can do if you just believe
I have seen many variations of the above lately, floating around the internet. Especially around Facebook. I get what they're trying to say--that if you have a dream and you work really hard, you will achieve anything you want.
The problem with that is that such advice is misleading and untrue. Case in point:
The thing is, we want to believe we can do anything. We want to reach for the sky and grab hold of a star. We want to believe in elves and unicorns. However, the truth of it is that while we can follow our dreams, we never know what bumps and bruises we will get on the way, and what our paths will ultimately lead to. What if there's a giant troll in the middle of the path and you have to detour and get dragged behind a livid donkey through a swamp filled with leeches?
Following our dreams is often not as simple as it seems. Timing, who we know, life challenges, opportunity, being in the right place at the right time--all factor into our dreams along with the hard work. What God wants for our lives is one of the biggest factors, and when you include Him in your life as I do, not a whole lot goes according to your own plan. Which, though difficult at times, is fine with me, and I'll explain why in a moment.
You see, I am a writer. It's in my blood. There is a thrill writing gives me that nothing else does. I have a couple of finished manuscripts that need hours and hours of editing. I also am trying to regain my health, have lost a good deal of weight, got nationally certifed to be a group fitness instructor and also have been a Zumba instructor, and all of those things--while I felt very led to do them--have ended for now. I have big dreams. I want to do all of those things. Yet circumstances in my life have made both of these big dream trains derail. I am not sure yet how everything will turn out, but the other night I had a dream that taught me something.
I was in a little, shiny, red plane, an adorable convertible-like contraption that could take to the skies yet felt as safe as lying in my own bed. Candy cherry red, rounded design, very much like this:
I drove the plane around the streets of my fictional dream town, looking for the way to get out of the city limits so I could take off. (It was illegal to take off in the town anywhere.) I desperately wanted to press on the accelerator and feel the wheels leave the ground. The desire was nearly more than I could bear. I wanted nothing, nothing more than to rise in the air, absolutely fearless, and race the wind as I hurtled along free as the currents that bore me up.
The plane zipped along the roads as I struggled to keep my foot from pressing too hard. Once, I felt the wheels beginning to bump along, plane rising a bit, but I took my foot off the gas at the same time a police car drew alongside. He didn't pull me over, but I was even more careful not to go too fast as I searched for a road out. My blood raced, my pulse pounded; it took all I had to not just go for it--but the timing wasn't right. I knew I could hold on, stay on the ground until the moment I was in the clear, but not a moment more.
It was hard. I wrestled and sweated as all the energy in my body yelled at me to do it, to just get up in the air, but I knew I couldn't or the consequences would be disastrous. So I held on. There was no other choice for me to make. If I gave in, I would get thrown in jail and/or have my license taken away, and I could not let that happen, no matter what.
I knew, beyond anything, that I could do what it took to endure until the moment I could fly.
This dream was very comforting, as it helped me remember that I can endure this until I can fly. My dreams and passion (red plane) are mostly on hold right now (grounded), but I can still blog. I've written a bit of a couple of children's stories. I can put a different focus on my health in the meantime, even if I am not teaching classes.
I can hang on until I am free to soar. And that's okay, and necessary.
Submitting to what God wants for my life means that I need to trust in His timing. Easy? Not at all. Though I know that with His guidance, my life will be more than I ever dreamed it could be. I would much rather trust Him as my Pilot, rather than try to go it on my own. Even through the difficult times, I have that small voice in my mind that tells me it will be okay. The voice that says to just hang on until I get to the safe place to let that throttle out and take to the skies; the place where I will not only feel, but be, fearless.
Eventually, I will fly and discover the place where all my wildest dreams will come true. Or at least the important, attainable ones. I have never cared for unicorns that much, though I would love to meet an elf.