Dream big. The world tells us to dream big. Imagine how far you could go, how much you could achieve. This mantra comes as something of a problem when you realize the dream that lives inside your heart is, well . . . small.
As a senior in high school, I was sucked into the pressure of pursuing a “normal” career. In fact, I was just days away from committing to a college education. So, what stopped me?
Well, a lot of things, actually. One of which was the fact that God was slowly drawing me back to something I had left behind years ago – a different dream, one I was never meant to give up on.
But . . . it was a small dream. So much smaller than attending college, becoming somebody. And even though the desires I had for life after college were merely produced to supplant what I used to want out of life, the emotional pressure was still very real. When I closed the door to “normal”, there were repercussions.
I became hyper-aware of what people thought of me. Whether I was right or wrong, I don’t know, but I began to be very self-conscious of my “small” dream, and convinced that people thought less of me because I’d chosen that path. To be fair, I’d always been lonely in a crowd and often ignored by my peers, but the self-awareness that my new plan had stirred up in me made it seem all the worse – as though everyone’s opinion of me had changed, negatively.
I thought I was proud of my new direction, but . . . Is it possible to feel apologetic for something you’re actually proud of? 🤷♀️ #psychologyquestion #ireallywanttoknow Anyway, my life post-high school consisted of innumerable explanations of why I wasn’t going to college (not even kidding, people I didn’t even know were asking me) and trying to fit into my youth group again when everyone else was moving on (that totally failed). I resented new social settings with people my own age because . . . well, I’d have to explain. And people always think my dream is small.
I had to mourn the loss of college. This really sounds strange to say, now that I’m way on the other side and ETERNALLY grateful I’m not in college. 🤦♀️ But yes, I did have to go through a grieving process in which I gradually (very, very gradually) let go. But in the letting go, I also had to reclaim that former dream, that small dream, that dream which God gave back to me and it slowly took root in my heart. It was a gradual rebirth, one that took over a year for its completion.
But from the process, there was victory. From the pain, there emerged beauty. I was never meant to go to college. I was never meant to “fit in”. God had a different path for me – one that was infinitely better than the plan I had for myself. But our society’s message to fit in, be normal, and dream big, was initially overpowering. I had to give myself permission to dream small.
Maybe today, you need to do the same. ❤
And watch out, world, ’cause you need to get used to different.
Credit to The Chosen TV series for that now-iconic line. 😉