God has been unraveling me for quite some time. At first, I was unaware of the unraveling taking place in my life, but then again, I can often be quite oblivious to things.
Our lives are a collection of moments and situations that all contribute to us learning much-needed skills and forming our identity. I remember the much younger version of myself running around and dreaming big audacious dreams. I was going to become an author! I was going to spend my days drawing and creating art! I was going to be a missionary in a foreign country! And all of it was going to be awesome!
But somewhere along the way, I allowed life and the things people said to put out the fires of my dreams. The way I saw it, to write a book, you need to be exceptional at understanding language – nothing less than exceptional is acceptable. So, when I started to believe that I was mediocre at spelling and sentence construction, I disqualified myself from writing. Or, when I considered the realities of mission work, I began think: “You think you, a little white girl, will survive one day in a foreign country? Why choose to do something so dangerous, so daring? Rather play it safe.”
Even though our dreams can get crushed and abandoned, they remain embers in our hearts. The thing about dreams, though, is that they don’t just come true. You have to work at making them come true.
You have to fight for your dream!
I had to fight to pursue a career that allows me to be creative every day. I had to draw every day; especially during the more boring classes at school. I attended extra art lessons after school and over weekends where I created, drew and painted some more. I had to stand my ground when my parents wanted me to drop art and take science as a subject instead. Even after winning that argument, I had to justify myself to everyone else when they wanted to know how I was going to make a living as a graphic designer. Tirelessly, I worked on my portfolio to be one of the 50 candidates to be selected to study Information Design at the University of Pretoria.
I don’t want you to be disillusioned by the amount of effort it takes to pursue your dreams, but I do want you to know that it is worth your time! Amazingly, and though His strength, I have achieved one of my dreams. But what about the others? The dreams I have hidden deep down; the dreams that are only glowing embers?
My dream to be a missionary is fanned into flame every so often, especially when I get to go out on an outreach. This is a long-term dream and, as I have come to realise, not linked to a particular location or a foreign country. I went through a season where every international outreach for which I signed up was either cancelled, or had an age limit preventing me from going. I know now that God was restricting my dream in that season to protect me, and also because He needed me where I was.
It doesn’t help dreaming of being somewhere else and therefore not using every opportunity right where you are.
That difficult season taught me that I needed to be happy where God has placed me and make the most of the time and opportunities in that place. I trust that someday I will be able to travel overseas to witness to people, but I know now that I am a missionary every day – I am on a mission for the Lord wherever I am, and wherever I go.
Finally, my dream’s ember about becoming an author seemed to barely be glowing for the longest time. I had given up and long forgotten the dream of being a writer. I hadn’t written anything that wasn’t for academic purposes, since my early high school years. But God came and blew His life-giving breath on this dream of mine. I was taken off-guard by the reemergence of this dream. It unsettled me, because along with this previously-buried dream came buried emotions and insecurities with which I didn’t want to deal. I alternated between being upset and angry. I buried this dream for a reason! Why couldn’t He just leave it buried?
It took me a week or two to come around and allow God to uncloud my vision from my own emotions. He wanted to restore this dream, not only because it was a dream that I once held dear, but because he wanted to restore me through the process of chasing this dream.
So here I am, being obedient, writing blog posts as a starting point. Honestly, chasing this dream has been the toughest thing I have ever done. No dream has scared and intimidated me so much. I am challenged every time I sit down to write another post, but slowly I am finding it easier. With every word, with every sentence, with every post my insecurities become less and my confidence grows, because God has given me this ability and He wants me to improve upon it.
He wants to use what I perceived as a weakness to bring His glory and love to others. And this is what keeps me motivated to keep writing.
Take a moment and ask yourself:
What dream have you given up on? What dream is God busy reawakening in your life?
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