“You can be anything you want to be.”
Or so we’ve been told. Countless times. The phrase now rings a familiar tune in my ears.
I’m still not sure how I feel about that statement. My response has consistently been, “Well, you really can’t quite be anything. That’s a bit of a stretch.” But I hear the phrase less and less as I get older, as if I’m outgrowing my possibilities.
Or maybe I just stopped listening.
When I was a kid, I was a bold dreamer. I wanted to be a dancer and a veterinarian. I wanted to travel the world and design houses. Practicality didn’t matter then. I wasn’t afraid of the outcome. Impossibility never became an obstacle.
But as the years have passed, dreams and reality grew apart.
It wasn’t that I stopped having dreams. I just no longer saw them through the eyes of a child. I had to grow up and be practical. I met Reason, who became my faithful friend, always bringing me back to reality. Fear crept in, and “maybe one day” was inserted into my dream vocabulary.
Dreams were nice thoughts and Disney movies, fuzzy fairytales that lived in the corners of my mind. Fear had driven them there. I became afraid to really believe in my dreams, because I might be disappointed. So I traded them in for attainable goals.
While attainable goals are nice and cozy, I’m not satisfied with them anymore.
But I’m not sure I ever really was. I have always wanted more than the typical. The phrase, “There must be more to life than this” haunts me. I want more than the typical Christian girl story: graduate high school, go to university (or Bible Collage), get married, settle down and have 2.5 kids.
While I poke fun at the cliché, my intention is not to say that really is the story Christian women always live. Or discourage marriage and dreams of family life. I have said it before: though it has taken me time to admit it, I have the desire for those things too. My fear is, however, that it has become the single goal. (Pun intended.) And even more dangerously, the comfortable goal.
If we trade our dreams in for comfortable goals, we fall asleep, we go numb. And life passes us by. Or we miss the things that are right in front of us.
God seems to be gently coaxing me into dreaming the way I used to. Or perhaps more accurately, He has given me a new understanding about my life.
Whether it’s moving to California to get my master’s, or whether it’s being a catalyst for change in the world, my dreams have become bigger than myself. They have become more terrifying, and less like the life I thought I wanted.
And though fear is still a factor, the more I trust in God’s plan for this world, the more gumption my dreams have.
Flickr photo (cc) by Mengjie Jo