when they don't like your dream

So let me tell you something crazy about letting yourself dream -

Sometimes, other people won't like it.


You've got this song inside of you, and you're flinging the high notes out left, right, and centre, because you're excited, and you just want the world to be excited with you. And some people will be - they'll twirl you around and add a splash of colour to the dream you thought was already perfect, and it's so good. Other times, though, people will frown at you as you pass by. Or they'll yank you to a halt and tell you to sing under your breath, for goodness' sake. Or, worst of all, they snicker behind their hands when you skip by, and it turns the glorious thumping of your heart within you into a dud, dud,

dud.

There are a couple of reasons for this, I think. Sometimes it's because people just don't understand what it's like to have a dream, if they've never been allowed to have one for themselves. Sometimes your dream just looks very different from theirs, and they get confused. And sometimes, I think they see the hugeness of your dream, and it scares them because it's so powerful. They don't know what to expect from you, they can't control you, and so they default and try to shut you down.

Don't let them.

"Do you want to paint the white?" He asked. I signed at him that I would definitely ruin it if he put a paintbrush in my hands. "You will not." He shook his head. "I bet your hands are as graceful as your dancing, you've just never tried.":
via
I'm living in this tentative place of not knowing when to be honest with people when they ask about my dream, and when to hug it close to me like a balloon in the middle of a porcupine family reunion, because I just don't want to get hurt. Telling people that I'm getting my degree in English, (but no, I don't want to be a teacher,) leads to wrinkled noses and tilted heads. "So what do you want to do, then?" When my answer is that I would love to keep working in my church's youth ministry for the rest of my life, writing books and leading students and raising my future children, they start to frown. Sometimes they ask why I'm in university at all, if I don't plan to work with my degree, and they shake their heads at me when I say it's because I want to learn. Because I'm in love with the written word, and I want to write books, and I want to grow, and change, and be better at what I love.

At first, it didn't even bother me. I let it roll, like water off a duck's back, and I kept my head high, because I knew that my dream was good, and important, and right. I have the support of my parents and closest friends, and most of all, I feel like this is the place where God wants me.

But you know what has started to happen? After months and months and months of people asking the same polite, sometimes hurtful questions, tilting their heads at exactly the same angle, sometimes smiling indulgently, sometimes asking if I really think I'll even finish the whole degree, I started to wilt. I began to dread talking about my hopes, plans, my beautiful little dream, because I was tired of listening to the faint "hiss" of air as it deflated a little farther. So I started answering in roundabout, vague, general ways, because people were less inclined to ask questions if I said I was "waiting to see what the future will bring" or "prayerfully considering my options". But that didn't feel right, either... hiding away the real core of who I am; smothering what I care about just because I was afraid of what people would think.

So here's where I am now - and here's my challenge to you. Let's bring out those dreams again - let's dust off the hopes hiding under our bed, and puff a little extra air into those deflated balloons. Let's keep singing, and smile at the people who shake their heads. I'm going to talk about youth ministry, and how much I love the high school students at my church. I'm going to tell people with my chin up that I'm getting an English degree, and yes I do intend to finish. I'm going to be honest when people ask what I love, and tell them that I write books, even though I'm only 19 years old. And no, I don't think that's too young. I'm going to start standing up for my dreams again, and I want to encourage you to do the same.

If no one has ever given you permission to dream something a little out-of-the-ordinary before, let me be the first to do so. I firmly believe that God has created each one of us with unique talents and hopes and opinions, and it only makes sense to me that each of our dreams is a completely unique combination of all the little parts that make us up. If no one has ever told you that you don't have to strive for the normal, the expected, I'm telling you now. Whatever is on your heart - whatever makes you want to stand up and do something - that thing is important because it arouses something in you that nothing else can call out. Find that thing - I promise, it's there - and fight for it.

That doesn't mean your dream will look like mine - and that doesn't mean you have to turn your dream into a career, or a lifestyle, or anything else. You don't even have to have a dream that's crazy - maybe yours is simple, and sweet, and ordinary. There's no recipe for dreams, and if that means you get your English degree and become a teacher, than I think that's just awesome, and I think that your dream is just as worth discovering and cultivating and fighting for as anyone else's. Your dreams, no matter what they are, are intrinsically important - and they're worth fighting for.

What are you dreaming of? Are your hopes for the future wild and crazy, or sweet and every-day? I'd love to hear about them.

xx,
Olivia (s)

16 comments:

  1. Oh my word. This is so me in a way. God has been providing many different opportunities for this year, and it amazes me. He changed my mind about college, and now I'll be attending in the fall. Although nervous, I'm really excited, and English and History is what I am really looking into now.
    Your dreams sound amazing, and I look forward to seeing God make them happen.

    Great post Olivia!

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    1. I'm so so excited to hear what God is doing in your life! And I'm thrilled to hear that you're chasing your dreams -- don't stop! You were made to do important things, keep fighting for them! :)

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing this, it was so encouraging to read! I dream of writing book for the rest of my life too yet not many people actually know about it. I don't often share my dreams or passions with people out of fear of being judged, because I know not everyone is going to understand it. That can be quite exhausting though, I don't want to feel like I can't be my authentic self x

    Sara’sChapters

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    1. Sara, you're so welcome! Writing a book is a dream that a lot of people have but don't share, and I totally understand why. I'm hoping you can find the balance between protecting yourself and being honest with people! It's something I have a hard time with sometimes, too.

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  4. '...You've got this song inside of you, and you're flinging the high notes out left, right, and centre, because you're excited, and you just want the world to be excited with you. And some people will be - they'll twirl you around and add a splash of colour to the dream you thought was already perfect, and it's so good. Other times, though, people will frown at you as you pass by. Or they'll yank you to a halt and tell you to sing under your breath, for goodness' sake. Or, worst of all, they snicker behind their hands when you skip by, and it turns the glorious thumping of your heart within you into a dud, dud...' <- this is so incredibly real and relatable.

    this whole post though. it's so gooooooddddddd. I don't even have anything else to say. thank you so much for this always- needed reminder xx

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    1. Ninaaaaa, you're lovely. <3 So glad you understand what's floating around in my heart these days. :)

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  5. This is so real and relatable, and downright beautiful. Thank you for sharing this, Olivia. It's a feeling that I know quite well. <3

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  6. Dealing with this lately -- my dream and what I'm going for is to pursue writing comic books/graphic novels (sue me, I love superheroes and comics in general) and to be a script writer for TV, hopefully. And it's so, so hard to explain that to people, because it's...kind of crazy.

    - Aimee (To the Barricade!)

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  7. This is one of those posts that hits home so hard it has to be digested rather than simply read. I appreciated this so much, Olivia. It just fits with my beginning of the year thought process - what do I take up and what do I put down this year?

    And you, go for your dreams. I'm already looking forward to reading your books, and hearing how God uses you in others lives. :)

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  8. DUDE. this is so good and so real. thank you so much for sharing this.

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  9. OLIVIA....THIS HIT HOME SOSOSOSOSO HARD. Like... I can relate SO MUCH. *flails and hugs you because you understand this thing on the next level* I struggle with telling people about my dream, too. Because I've been snickered at and told that my career plans are "cute" and that I won't go anywhere with music and writing...and I've wept over feeling inadequate and immature. AND DANG THIS POST HAS JUST INSPIRED ME SO MUCH AND LIT A FIRE OF CONFIDENCE IN MY HEART. <3 Thank you so much for that and for being your fabulous honest and supernova self :''') *HUGS YOU AND GIVES YOU WAFFLES*

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  10. UGH. THIS.

    I've gotten more insecure of my dream, mostly because of how people react. I told one of my supervisors at work that instead of going to college, I want to pursue my dream to become an author. She seemed really confused about this at first, and then just wary of it all. "But... you should go to school for something. Being a writer might just not work out for you."

    I know she didn't mean it in a wrong way, but it still hurt that she was so unbelieving that I could actually do it. So I love this post so much. I'M GONNA BE CONFIDENT ABOUT MY DREAM NO MATTER WHAT OTHERS SAY. You brought so much fire with this post, Olivia. You're amazing. <3

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  11. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. i need to remember that my dream is a little weird. or at the very least kind of rare-ish and THAT IS TOTALLY OK. :)

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  12. I'm bookmarking this. It happens a lot: I'm getting a degree in Creative Writing and Philosophy, and it's not the kind of thing you get a job with. I know those questions. I know the way people look when you tell them you write books, even so young (I'm 19 too). I know the pain of pretending just to make things less awkward in the short term. Thank you for this. I'm glad I'm not the only one in this situation!

    https://ofdreamsandswords.wordpress.com

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