What it Means to Fit Your Dream in When You Can

So. I was sitting in Starbucks with a fellow blogger. How fun is that!? Enjoying a delicious iced (‘cause it’s Florida) upside-down hazelnut macchiato with a pump of mocha. A bit over-the-top, I know. But try it. It’s like Nutella in a cup. Bliss. Pinkie-swear.

Starbucks Nutella

I’d been staring at my screen, watching the cursor blink. blink. blink. My mind drifted back and forth to things I will one day write about. One day when I’m brave enough. But this day? Nothingness. And I hadn’t written in a while. I’ve missed you.

Panic was setting in. Until.

Until a tiny notification flickered on my WordPress site. “Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!” It’s been two years since I began this journey to write the words my Jesus put on my heart.

While my first post didn’t take place until July, today will mark post 99, and I’m in awe. I’m in awe there are so many of you willing to journey with me through broken, shadowed places of my soul, as well as the joy-filled, light-bright place I’ve discovered. I’m in awe you would take the time to read letters I squeeze together to make words.

I’m in awe.

It’s hard for me to believe, for two years, I’ve been living my dream. At least for a few hours a week.

As a young elementary-age girl, I remember sitting outside, spiral notebook in hand, on concrete steps leading to our backyard gate. I was writing. I can still see my little-girl-self, filled with insecurities, hunched over, scribbling words on a page. I knew that day if I could write forever, I’d be happy.

But almost within that same moment, I felt the sadness of believing it would never happen. I was no Judy Blume, and I was in the middle of my own Are You There God It’s Me Margaret tween years. Who was I to think I could write well?

And honestly, many teachers agreed with my summations.

College reenergized my love for the craft, moving me to major in English writing. (But not without a minor in Communications because Momma and Daddy said I needed a job when I graduated—they were right.)

I spent the next 14 or so years writing for others. For the Governor’s office. For church. For my Masters. For my students. For mission organizations. Each time I wrote for someone else, I learned. I soaked in all I could. I’m so grateful.

But writing never got to be my job. My career. The dream I had always envisioned I’d have. It still isn’t. In recent months I’ve had to grapple with a question. A question that haunts me and frees me all in the same breath.

What happens when following your dream means fitting it in with the rest of your life?

I wonder if you’ve ever grappled with the same thing. When there’s a portion of your life that fulfills every piece and part of you, but it can’t be the whole of your existence. When you have a dream that sits on your inside soul-shelf. You pick it up, dust it off, and have to place it back. To wait.

Or maybe you get to carry it around awhile. Feeling its glory.

Or maybe, like me, your dream gets a little bit of your time here and there.

I don’t have it all figured out. But here is what I know. God creates in each of us a desire for purpose. For a reason to exist. He also gifts us with talents—special abilities. And most often those mesh together to create our dream. It’s why we are each different, yet glorious creations.

Maybe we’ve gotten our dreams mixed up with this fairy tale ideal that it should be our full-time career, or our all-the-time reality. Yet our dream is always coupled with the reality of life. With the beauty of relationships and loved ones. With responsibilities and obligations.

The reality is our dream will always be part-time.

I’ve spent too many years teaching as if it was only my part-time gig. As if one day soon I would get to quit and write full-time. But what if I’ve missed the point? What if this is the way God always meant for it to be?

I think I’m ready to dig in and bloom.  Ready to stop forcing my life in the direction I want it to go. Ready to allow God to shape my days and my existence with His artistic hands.

Ultimately? I’m ready to trust this life I’ve been given. Ready to trust Him.

And then if I take a step back, take stock, savor my husband, drink in my children, relish in my students, and recognize everything I’ve been given in this beautiful life? Well, I may just be living the dream after all.

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9 Responses to What it Means to Fit Your Dream in When You Can

  1. Barb says:

    Thank you for the reality check. At my age, you would have think I would have learned this. I can say that I am living the dream as I follow the leader! What a great lives we live.

  2. Polly says:

    Wonderfully put…thank you.

  3. Katara says:

    Awesome post, Heather!

  4. Amy says:

    Insightful as always!

  5. Beth says:

    Thank you thank you for talking about how little girl dreams can come true in unexpected ways. I am always blessed by your words and perspective.

  6. Liz says:

    Glorious. Enjoy your moment of trusting God completely.

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