I’m a dreamer. This fact was made clear to me at an early age through my tendency to obsessively set goals and see just how fast I could achieve them. I’ve lived most of my life with one foot in the future, allowing my brain space to be consumed by who I would be someday instead of who I was right then.
Though I hate to admit it, the thrill of imagining how I would feel about myself and my life if my dreams were realized was often more satisfying than living in the “not yet” of the present. As a result, it became easy for my dreams to feel more like burdens – ideas and goals that weighed on my mind and heart until they were complete. This was only made more challenging by the fact that I usually had more dreams than any one season of life could hold.
I am currently five months pregnant and preparing to enter a season of life where I’m realizing one of my dreams of being a mom; however, I’m also beginning to understand that some of my dreams will have to wait. I’m learning what it means to give myself permission to think of my dreams in terms of seasons of life and to relieve myself of the pressure to pursue them all at once. The more I wrestle with my dreams, the more I wonder what it would feel like to give into this idea of “seasonal dreaming.”
What are the beliefs I carry that pressure me to live all my dreams at once? What will I gain if I give up the need to do it all now?
In answering these questions, I had to face the truth that I’m the one pressuring. I pressure myself to live all of my dreams now because of a fear that I will watch my dreams play out in someone else’s life or run out of time for my dreams to happen at all. I have the tendency to live like dreams are finite – like there are only a few to go around and we have to fight to claim them as our own.
Or, if we don’t work on them now, they won’t happen at all. I had to start facing down this lie of scarcity and realize that each one of us has unique dreams and individual journeys that lead us toward our own purpose. We can’t rob each other of dreams. There is enough for everybody and enough time for each dream we hold.
What beliefs are you carrying that pressure you to carry too many dreams at once?
There is enough for everybody and enough time for each dream we hold.
Once I understood the beliefs that were driving the pressure I was feeling, I was free to assess the values and limits I carry in this season. The process of evaluating which dreams to hold and which dreams to shelve became much easier once I committed to living my dreams in a way that is congruent with the values I hold and the current limits I face. Our dreams may all be good, but they may not be good for now.
What dreams are for now and what dreams are best shelved for later?
Having just begun my journey of “seasonal dreaming,” I can already tell you that I feel more joy in living in the present. My tendency to live in the future, constantly thinking about the realization of all of my dreams, was keeping me from finding joy in the process of the current season. I missed a lot of seasons because I was eager to step into the next one. No matter how few dreams a season of life can hold, enjoy it. We don’t get them back.
How might you find more joy by focusing your mind to enjoy the present?
Lastly, as we dream, it is important to remember that while our dreams can provide clues into our purpose and calling, they do not define who we are as human beings. No matter how public or private, big or small, immediate or long-term our dreams may be, they do not have the power to shape our worth. Remembering this will help us to focus our time and talents in the direction that is appropriate for the season.
How will you chase your dreams yet keep them from defining your value?
I don’t know what dreams you hold or what limits you are facing in this season. What I do know is that we are all on a journey and we will find more joy and contentment in our lives if we give allow ourselves to engage in seasonal dreaming. There is a time and place for each of our dreams. Attempting them all now will only breed feelings of frustration and failure. So, what dreams will you choose to hold and pursue in this season?
Image via Urban Koi