All my life I believed that I would do something extraordinary – something so big that people would know who I am. Growing up I always had people telling my parents that they “can’t wait to see what Maddy does in the future.” Because they recognized my passion for life and my capability to achieve anything I set my mind to. And while it is a good thing to have passions and dream big dreams, it can be a dangerous road if you’re not careful.
I am a dreamer, I always have been, and frankly, I think I always will be. I have so many grand ideas of what my future could look like, whether I’m planning for the next week of my life or the next 10 years (we all do this, don’t we?). I’ve never been one to dream small. And I’m sure a lot of you can relate to that. That feeling of wanting to do something great. Wanting to make an impact so large that everyone feels it.
Although these dreams caused me to work hard and plan a lot and have a creative imagination and lifestyle, they have also caused me a lot of heartache. Because dreaming takes a lot of energy. It consumes your everyday life and seeps into everything you do – because this is all ultimately leading up to your big break, your great future. And that’s a lot of pressure. So when plans get pushed to the side and ideas fail and people don’t follow through, you’re crushed. Because this was your dream.
But if you’re like me, you moved onto the next dream pretty quick. You thought of something else you could do to impact the world and make a difference. And you would try that, and fail. Or you would try that and give up a few months later when you found out how much work it would take (sometimes it’s hard to admit this, but let’s be honest, sometimes working toward goals is hard). And it turns into a cycle of great enthusiasm and hope that turns into disappointment.
All of this is especially dangerous because of what it does to your heart along the way. It creates a spotlight on yourself, making every project and career path and big break about you. About showing the world who you are and what you can do. It becomes about proving yourself. Because you have tried so many things or dreamed so many dreams just for them to fall apart. And you just want something, anything really, to work out.
But the harsh truth is that every dream is going to end up in disappointment if you’re pursuing that dream for yourself. If you are pushing and pulling and straining yourself in every which way, you are going to get burned out. Because you are relying on yourself. And the only way you can truly accomplish any goal and find your purpose in this world is if you rely on Him through the journey. If you make this about God, He will guide you, and He will not allow you to fail in the long run.
I have been realizing that lately. I have been making it less about me and more about Him. Because ultimately what I do needs to be grounded in where I find purpose. And my purpose is found in Him.
I have experienced 19 years of dreaming and hoping for something to make my name great and to make my talents known, but the entire time I was missing out on what really matters – His name. The name of Jesus. The works of God. The movement of the Holy Spirit in mine and others’ lives. That is what matters, not me.
So, if you are a dreamer, if you want to do something great and make a difference, I have one piece of advice for you: make it about Him. Find out who you were made to be by getting to know the One who made you. Hang out with Jesus and figure out who He is. It is only then, when you figure out who He is, that you can discover who you are, and who he made you to be.
It’s a simple truth, and I know we’ve all heard it before, but it takes living through it to understand it fully. It takes diving into the Word, communicating with God, and digging deep into your soul to find that your true source of Joy has a name, and His name is God. So keep dreaming, keep planning, and keep your head up, but do it in the name of Jesus, not your own. Because you will not make it very far without feeling depleted or discouraged without Him as your comforter and supporter.
Keep your eyes on Him, and He will keep His hand over you. Strive to make him known through your work and through your dreams, and He will make them flourish. Be a dreamer. But establish your dreams in Him. You’ve got this, girl.