I am not creative.
I am not an artist.
I am not an idea person.
I am not a dreamer.
These are all things I have said in the past. Many, many times. And I am now starting to wonder when that crucial time was when I decided I WASN'T these things, instead of trying to explore and develop them.
The last few years have been so interesting for me, because I have developed this community around me who no longer allows me to say those things. They no longer allow me to say that I am fine exactly where I am. They continually push me to stretch myself, and to not be satisfied with just existing. And I am so thankful for it.
A big part of this definitely has to do with the changes in my faith, and how I am now viewing myself as God sees me, rather than how I see myself, or how the world sees me. And I am searching for ways to make an impact. That makes an incredible difference in my attitude, overall outlook, and decisions. But, I have also really been thinking and praying and trying to figure out what some of my lost passions are. It has been an eye opening, yet extremely frustrating experience.
How could I say I'm not creative? I played the piano (and flute and tenor sax), sang, and created beautiful music, even if it was not my own. I brought the notes on the page to life. I wrote poems, and short stories. I loved to write letters and notes. I loved to scrapbook, and take photos and capture unique images.
While I am not someone who continually thinks up the most unique ideas, I do have opinions and good ideas to bring to individuals, and teams and organizations. I have experience in many different unique roles and circumstances, and I have my own ideas that work pretty well. How could I continually deny that and say I'm not an idea person?
Why did I stop dreaming? Where are those hidden dreams that I must have had when I was younger? What happened to them? I know they were there once. Why did I push them so far deep inside? Will they ever see the light of day again? Are there new ones to explore?
I had one childhood dream that I do remember vividly. I wanted to be a funeral director. I know. Crazy, right? I think the interest started with my Grandfather's funeral in the late '70s. I had never seen someone in a casket before. I was young, and curious. I specifically remember reaching up for his hand, and wanting to touch him and give him a kiss one last time. I wasn't afraid. I knew where he was. He was with Jesus, and I was happy for him. But, my Aunt slapped my hand away, as I was reaching up for him. "We don't do that!! It's not proper." I was crushed. I just wanted one more moment with him, and I wanted to know if his hand felt the same.
I also think that I instinctively knew from an early age that I can often be a source of comort to people. What an amazing experience it would be to be a source of calm and comfort to families facing difficult times with death. Of course, I didn't fully comprehend all of this then, but I do think that I thought I could be helpful to people in very sad times. Unfortunately, experiencing death firsthand when my father passed away, completely scratched this dream. I was fourteen years old, and the thought of having to be around families who were hurting in a way that I now understood, was something I didn't think I could bear.
I look back on that now and wonder, "Did I really want to be a funeral director?", "Is that a dream I should pursue?" I can honestly say that it isn't. But what is interesting is the perspective I've realized around it. The part about being comforting to others. And helping others. And making a difference. That is what I'd dreamed of for a very long time.
At some time, however, the dream got pushed to the bottom. And reality and responsibility and expectations for who I should become piled on top of it. And I started to believe the lie that says you can't follow your dream. You have to be responsible, and take care of yourself and your family. Nobody is always going to be there for you, except for you. And dreams don't come true, so why waste time chasing them? Why did I not realize there were other things I could do to evoke the same feelings?
I no longer believe those lies. I am continually being challenged to take another step of faith in many areas of my life. One of the things that I am working hard on is discovering my true purpose, and how God wants to use me in a unique way. I feel that something is changing, but I don't quite know what it is yet. I am taking one step at a time, and enjoying this very interesting time in my life.
I am asking questions. Lots of questions. To people I know, and people I am just getting to know. I am reading many different books on leadership and dreams and amazing memoirs. I attended The Quitter Conference, and Story, both of which impacted me in very unique ways. Both Jon Acuff and Ben Arment spoke about your own unique story, and how nobody can tell it. This really hit me. Yes, they may have done something similar to what you are dreaming. But, they are not you. Your perspective is different. Your story matters! The world needs to hear it.
So what else am I doing?
I am allowing people to speak truth into my life. Sometimes truth that I don't want to hear
I am allowing people to start demystifying the entire dreaming process for me
I am searching for the unique in the every day stories
I am taking the time to truly listen to people
I am enjoying the small moments in life
I am looking forward to where this journey is taking me.
What about you? What things are you working to change in your life? What is your dream?