Why I’ve Stopped Chasing My Dreams
“Write a book.”
Its has been etched on my bucket list since 4th grade when I was in Mrs. Wadlington’s class and still had missing front teeth. Back then, I was the smallest kid in my grade and still couldn’t pronounce my “R’s” correctly.
My desire to write a book started because of a girl who came to speak to our elementary school. She was 12 years old, poised, and had just published a novel—not one of the skinny books with lots of pictures, an actual chapter book. As a 9-year-old, I decided she was pretty impressive, but resolved I could be even more impressive.
I decided I would “w’ite” my book by the time I was 10 years old, just in time to beat her. I carefully penned it in my journal—along with some other goals like “learn a backflip” and “build a tree house.”
Today, at age 25, I am still determined to write a book someday.
Blogging feels like my first real step in that direction. It’s exciting, scary, and fulfilling to be finally chasing a dream I’ve had for so long.
But I’ve also noticed an incredibly familiar temptation creeping up in me as I’ve begun to pursue this dream again: Pride. It entangles my well-intended dreams until they become selfish again, and I’m back in 4th grade trying to show-up the guest speaker.
I desperately want to fulfill “my calling”—to be a faithful servant who glorifies God and encourages others with the sentences, paragraphs, and pages I write.
But pride is an ugly parasite that seems to attach itself to my noble desires.
It sinks its nasty teeth into my dreams and sucks out my humility until I’m left with hollow, insecure worries about the number of page-views I’ve gotten and what other people think.
I’ve started to notice a pattern, one that seems to be repeating again with my blog.
I start out with a prayer so sincere that it feels like a piece of my heart is being cut out and offered to God along with my words—“God use me, I want to be a faithful servant, a useful tool for you. Show me what to do, where to go, so I can run hard after that goal for you!”
Then, inevitably it seems that my prayer of surrender is slowly drowned out by my big dreams for greatness. When I pray for God to use my strengths for His glory, Pride whispers to me about fame and publishing deals and stages in front of thousands of women.
And ultimately, this leaves me dissatisfied, frustrated and full of anxiety.
If you really want to know, the actual embodiment of my big dreams is Beth Moore— published writer, renowned speaker, lover of God’s Word, and southern belle. On several occasions, I’ve actually announced to people that I plan to be the “next Beth Moore.” Talk about pride.
But , last week I read something in one of her bible studies that spoke directly to my thirsty heart:
“Forget setting out to do something great. That goal entangles our egos every time. Instead, let’s resolve to do some good in the name of Jesus. If our good turns out great, then give glory to God. It was all about Him anyway.”
I still believe in having dreams and setting big goals, but I think Beth is right—we should be extra careful not to allow our dreams to distract us or feed our pride. Our egos have no place in our “calling”—it’s all about Him anyway.
In fact, her point reminds me of a comment I once heard Phil Vischer, the creator of Veggie Tails, say: “The impact God has planned for us doesn’t occur when we’re pursuing impact. It occurs when we’re pursuing God.”
Pursue God, not your dreams.
What a brilliant way to starve Pride until it has no choice but to release its sharp teeth from our flesh.
Not only does it feel right, it is incredibly freeing.
When I’m in constant communication with God and focused on learning more about Him, my dreams seem to unfold on their own. I’m able to write and speak more freely because I’m not obsessed with what others think of me or worried about subscription numbers, fame, or book deals.
I’ll be honest, it is a laborious, daily decision not to chase my dreams but instead pursue the Lord. But I believe its worth it.
Will you join me in chasing God instead of your dreams? His plans are much bigger than our dreams anyway.