January 27, 2014

It's Not Always Bad to Give Up on Your Dreams

March 2007: Mike and I in NYC just before seeing Wicked on Broadway.
There are people who will tell you it's a bad thing to ever give up on your dreams.

But I don't agree.

In many cases -- mine included -- I had a lot of dreams. Some I developed as a little girl. Some I developed later in life. Some I forgot about and rediscovered.

I've achieved some, like traveling to Europe.

I'm still pursuing and looking forward to some, like becoming a published author and hopefully one day a mother.

But some dreams...well, some dreams I had to let go. And I think that's okay.

When I was young, I had the dream of being an actress on TV (don't we all?). I took acting lessons and all that jazz, then discovered a talent -- and love for -- singing. So I took voice lessons.

I wish I had done more musicals as a child, but I didn't really know there were theaters outside of my school where I could do that sort of thing. I wish I had taken dance lessons growing up. But I didn't.

I was so busy with school, and everything else, that I just pretended that I was okay with singing at church and occasionally doing school musicals.

But secretly, I thought it would be all kinds of awesome to be on Broadway one day.

And of course, at this point in my life, that dream is likely never going to come true.

Sometimes, I really struggle with that. I'm an ambitious person, and the idea that I may have squandered opportunities to pursue a dream...well, that doesn't sit well with me.

And the idea that I really can't do it "later"...that probably bugs me most of all.

But I made choices -- and I don't regret those choices.

I chose to get a degree in journalism instead of musical theater. Why? I loved writing, and I knew I could get a job as an editor or writer and always do musical theater on the side if I wanted to.

I chose a career that gives me more of a social life (working on nights and weekends are standard fare for a performer).

I chose a career that is more flexible and allows me to pursue other dreams I have.

Of course, there are times -- like when I watch a musical theater production, or hear a great song on the radio, or watch Dancing with the Stars -- when I wonder what could have been. I question whether I gave up on that other dream too soon.

Giving up on a dream is hard. I think to a certain extent, we're always going to wonder what could have been! But life is made up of priorities and choices. We can't have it all, much as we wish we could. But here's the amazing thing I've come to realize.

God is there, in the midst of it all, willing to guide us toward HIS dream for us. And sometimes, it doesn't look at all like the dream we had for ourselves.

So I'm going to stop fretting about what could have been, and embrace all of the wonderful things that ARE. I'm going to focus on the dreams I am still pursuing, and pray that God is gracious in helping me along the way. And also pray that He will continue to guide and direct me -- WHEREVER I go.

Who knows? Maybe by some twist of fate, I'll still get to sing and dance on the Great White Way someday. But even if I don't, I'll know with confidence that I have a good life, full of amazing dreams that I chose -- and that God chose for me too.

Your Turn: What's one dream you have chosen to pursue -- or that God has for your life that you never expected for yourself? It can be big or small -- doesn't matter! I'd love for you to share.

4 comments:

  1. Great post, Linz. It's funny, I'm trying to think of a dream that I've chosen to pursue that I never expected...the writing thing is what I always wanted and has kind of been the big "dream come true" in my life recently. But I guess there's been a part of that--doing some speaking here and there--that I didn't expect. Even blogging--and feeling like every once in awhile a random blog post happens to make a difference in a readers life--I don't know if it's a dream per se, but it's not something I expected and it's something I really love.

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  2. Lindsay, what great thoughts. I have many, many dreams that never came true.The biggest surprise for me was when God plopped a character's name and a mode for the story into my head at a couple's retreat over three years ago. Following this writing dream has been one of the most difficult things I've ever done, but it's also drawn me closer to Jesus, forcing me to depend on Him a whole lot more. :)

    I have a dream of being published one day. We'll see what God does with that one. :)

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  3. Great post! I really enjoyed it. It feels good to have time to READ blogs again! Anyway, I feel I had to give up my dream of teaching Art. Never...I mean NEVER... in my wildest dreams did I think I'd teach writing or language arts, but here I am! I do miss my art, but I know I can do it when I want. I started a Fine Arts Club at the school where I teach and I get to sit with the students and draw. So, in a way I am still "teaching" art just not as a career.

    Hopefully, one day you will get to perform as you've always dreamed! Never give up!

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  4. I really liked this post Lindsay! As somebody who keeps going with the wind, I find it refreshing to stay open to the possibilities and know God has a master plan.

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