C.S. Lewis makes me believe. My favorite of his many fantastic titles is, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I am convinced that if I found the right wardrobe, I could slowly and carefully make my way past the coats and my feet would soon find soft snow. Eventually, I would emerge in a world of wonder and awe: Narnia. He makes me believe in a reality beyond the wardrobe. He makes me look past what is right in front of me and consider what could be. He makes me dream.
As children, most of us are well equipped at dreaming big. We imagine flying to the moon, breathing underwater, being a superhero when we grow up, or living the life of royalty in an ornate castle.
But at some point along the way, we stop embracing the wonder and we stop believing.
We feel beckoned into the wardrobe but we stop when we touch the first coat. And then, before too long, we don’t even have the conviction needed to open the door and hope. We stop dreaming about what could be.
It pains me. I work with amazing people and am friends with phenomenal people who are afraid to dream beyond the confines of the wardrobe. They accept the daily grind as the very best that this world has to offer and forget that there may be a multi-colored and dynamic reality closer than they ever realized.
Don’t stop believing
One of my favorite moments at our wedding – besides the reality of getting to marry Adam – was singing and dancing with my friends. I have a photo of me and one of my best friends yelling Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” at the top of our lungs. The picture may not come with embedded sound but every time I look at it I am back on that dance floor with all the music, noise, happiness and laughter. Maybe those 20-something year old women knew that we would need that anthem to carry us through the challenges that inevitably come as life progresses.
Work stresses. Family needs. Loss. Changing jobs. Maintaining health. A global pandemic. Political turmoil. Diagnosis.
The positive and good in our lives also has a way of distracting us from the desires of our heart. Marriage. Raising children. Going back to school. Moving into a new home. Getting a new pet. Fun vacations.
There is more than enough “adulting” to squash the biggest and most beautiful dreams – if you let it.
Or, you could fight back?
Fighting back means leaving margin in your days that is for you and the pursuit of your dream. Time to read a professional development book. An opportunity to sketch out the logo you’ve seen in your mind’s eye. A moment to savor a warm cup of coffee and let your mind wander to what could be and past what is.
Fighting back means telling your spouse, best friend, parent or mentor about the inkling in your heart and the vision you have for the future. It is scary to speak it out loud – because then it feels more real. But it is also beautiful when the people who love you come alongside you and see the vision too.
Fighting back means speaking kind words to yourself that affirm the beauty of your dreams. You are worthy, valuable, deserving and capable. Let those words be the ones that wash over your spirit when Imposter Syndrome starts to settle in with venomous lies.
Fighting back means that you rest in the truth of who you are and whose you are (← one of my favorite quotes from our pastor!). You were made for purpose and lovingly created for more. You are not a mistake and the desires of your heart – to include your big, bold dreams – are no surprise to God. Listen carefully to the nudges you feel relentlessly beckoning you toward your dream. Pray over them, seek clarity, and dream beyond the wardrobe.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.Psalm 37:4