I felt like the woman was staring directly into my soul. ‘Why,’ she asked, eyes peering over stringent glasses, brows hunkered down as if prepared to wait out the storm, ‘do you insist on NOT investing in your dreams?’
I choked. The question carried with it the power of a million laser beams targeting me all at once. My mind grasped erratically for a reasonable response. ‘You know…I actually DO a lot! In fact, I’m busy almost all of the time. I work a lot. I invest in people, which I love and it takes time. And then there are the interruptions, the things I haven’t planned for. Sometimes if feels like trudging through mud just to get everything done. Then when I am free, I kind of collapse from exhaustion. At times I dabble in the creative, but…’
‘What about writing? You said you wanted to finish that book of yours? And those photography projects you’ve been dreaming up? What of those?’
I had to avoid her eyes as the excuses marched out of my mouth in a 1.2.3. I’d used them so often lately that, had they been visible, they would have looked pathetic. Excuse #1: Limp. Excuse #2: Useless. Excuse #3: Transparent. There was no strength in them. No conviction. No life. Still, I tried unpacking them in the light of her unwavering gaze. My voice shook with the attempt to be understood….to understand myself.
It was her silence that did it. Rather than arguing against my points – we both knew they were no points at all – she let the emptiness itself confront me….the great big void that SHOULD have looked like something rather than nothing. It was in that stillness where the excuses I’d laid out before her promptly gave up the ghost and died.
And I could finally see that in truth, I had two choices. I had only ever had two choices. Either I continue to embrace the vacuum and not pursue the things on my heart. OR, I take one faltering step after the other and trust God to create something out of nothing – the key words being, through me. Not in spite of me, which is perhaps what I’d been waiting for.
This conversation has been taking place in my mind repeatedly of late, with me pitted against myself.
How many of us can literally feel our own skin crawl at the knowledge that our gifts are sitting around and beginning to mold? How many of us are caught in the tide of powerlessness (by our own choosing), and fail to step out of our comfort zones and tame our busy lives? How many of us allow the expectations of the world to take us over, rather than joining the Author of Life in actively writing our own stories?
When I was in college, I remember being flabbergasted by people who had settled for living a half-life with a good portion of dream hidden on a shelf somewhere. Never did I imagine that I too would succumb to the very same thing. That once more of life actually happened, the disappointments and responsibilities and the fact that things looked different than I had thought, would clamber to crowd out so many of the things my heart longed to accomplish.
So far in my life, I can say that I’ve dipped my toe into my dreams. Some might even think I’ve waded to my knees and even up to my waist. But somewhere along the way, the tide’s pressure lured me to a stand-still.
It is a tide, however, that I no longer want to give in to. And if I cannot find a way to beat it’s pressure, I will just have to learn how to walk on water.
Ephesians 2:19 tells us that , ‘….we are (His) handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’ Romans 4:17 describes God as one ‘… who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.’ Matthew 25:14-30 teaches us that we will be held accountable for the gifts that we have been given. And Matthew 19:26 shouts out the good news that ‘… with God, all things are possible.’
There is One waiting, with hand outstretched, to lift us beyond the limitations we see before us – even if that limitation proves to be ourselves. Let’s take His hand. Let’s choose Faith. And let’s start moving.