Friday, August 26, 2016

Learning to Dream Again

Remember when you were a kid and you used to dream of what your future would hold? I remember as a little girl I dreamed of becoming a cowgirl. I would own my own ranch and have horses that I would ride all the time. I'd ride the hills in my boots and hat and chaps and vest, not a care in the world.

Slowly that dream died. I realized that would never happen. Horses were expensive to take care of and I was told my love of horses was a phase that I would grow out of. I did get to take some riding lessons and learned that I hated English style riding. Western had always been the way I wanted to ride anyway. When I finally got to take western riding lessons, I loved it. However, the horses didn't always like me. And thus after a while, my love for horses diminished and my dream of riding the hills and plains faded into the past.

As I grew, I came into the thought process that any dream I had was foolish and would never amount to anything. I wanted to be a singer in a band, but knew it would never happen. I wanted to be an author, and pursued that for a while, but decided that my stories would never be good enough.

There were things I dreamed, and let myself dream about, because they were realistic dreams. Like, I dreamed I would marry a wonderful man who loved me fully and we would have a beautiful wedding. That came true. But I never really considered it a dream. It was realistic. It was something I was sure would happen.

So, when people talk about dreams, I'm at a loss. I grew to loathe the question: "Where do you see yourself in [x amount of] years?" I hated it, and still do, because my answer never changed. "I don't know." Part of it was because God has plans that I don't even know about. I thought I was going to go to Harding and graduate in four years and then get married to a man I met in person, probably live in Texas and never work with youth. After my first year at Harding, God took me to Washington where my aunt, uncle, and cousins lived. My plan was then to live there. I got on eharmony and was only looking in that area. Then I met Tanner. A man from Ohio who loved working with the youth at his congregation. I moved back to Dallas to work at my mom's law firm and started planning a future in Ohio. Now, here I am 4 years later in Lafayette, Louisiana. On top of that, I'm working with the youth and teaching a women's class and in leadership role.

The other part of my hatred of that question was that I didn't have any dreams. I decided to live day by day, week by week. I squelched any grand dreams or hopes that I thought were dumb or unrealistic.

Recently, though, I was convicted to try and dream again. Not just dream, but write them down. Any dream. From cooking the perfect meal, to my future kids graduation and wedding and kids. I realized I did have dreams I'd been shutting out. I had labeled them as hopes.

That's the funny thing about dreams is, we can end up calling them different things. Hopes. Wishes. Prayers.

So as I started writing these things down, I allowed myself to dream without fear, without abandon. I was shocked how many I ended up writing down. And I didn't even include the traveling I would like to do or my future kids graduations and spouses/weddings and their future kids. One that will never be crossed off for me, though, is growing closer to God and learning more about him and his love.

I encourage you to dream and write down those dreams. One day I'm sure I will look on my list and see that many of them have come true and will need to make a new list. Dream. Continue to dream. And don't hold yourself back. God can do so much more that you could ever hope for. You just have to let yourself dream and then give them to Him.

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