I was going through the many drafts in my blog when I stumbled upon the post below originally entitled "Finding Your Dream". I had written it many years ago before I even became a mum. I published it at the time, then for some reason later took it down. I don't remember exactly why now but my best guess is I felt self-conscious about it. In the past, I would write a lot of things that came to my head but never post it because I felt it wasn't "good enough".
This year my resolution is to fight through this mental barrier and post things without worrying about what anyone might think, and most of all, what I myself think. So I decided to repost this…and I suppose this is just the start of me digging up many old writings that never saw the light of day because I was too afraid.
As Neil Strauss writes in his book "The Truth", the opposite of fear is not joy, it is acceptance. I have accepted that not everyone will like what I have to say, and that there will be plenty of times I myself think a post is not worthy of being published. And I'm learning that it's okay. I am not responsible for how other people feel. I can only be responsible for me, and I can only keep striving to be the best authentic version of myself. Yes there will always be people better than me. But there's only one me…as long as you don't count this chick featured in one of Andy Warhol's works who looks like me:
I guess in reality, one of the steps of "finding your dream" is actually overcoming yourself. Because sometimes what you are called to be does not come naturally to you. In my case, God has very clearly called me to write (in a vision) but I have kept running away from it. Letting other people read my writings has been difficult because I guess I'm afraid of being judged. I have always been a non-confrontational person and am afraid of offending others. When I have done so in the past, I have always apologised profusely even though I know shouldn't have,
I get all these thoughts in my head and write it out, and then I never finish it or post it. Over the years. I have shut down many previous blogs when people started reading it, I have stopped blogging for long periods, I have turned down people who have wanted to link me, telling them it's just a "small, personal blog", and I did not act when there were a lot of people coming to my blog for one particular post a few years back.
I am a dreamer (in the literal sense) and God speaks to me through dreams. One day I woke up knowing I had had a dream but was unable to recall it (which is unusual) except for this one single thought "THE BUS IS LEAVING". The bus is leaving and everyone else is on it but me. I know if I don't get over my own fears of writing, God will just move on to the next person. Maybe one day He will stop giving me pictures and words and chatting to me inside my head…and I really don't want that to ever happen.
It's still a huge mental barrier now to tell people about my blog and allow people to read my thoughts but every day I am fighting myself and I'm getting there. I am not writing for numbers. I am not writing to be known. Even though life is now so busy with two kids, every day I write just for the one person who might be helped or inspired reading what I have written. Writing with a purpose and being unapologetic about it- that is my dream.
How To Find Your Dream (written in 2012)
My brother always knew he wanted to become a doctor. It was something he's never waivered in. As a kid, he'd dress up as a doctor for costume parties. In school, he gave presentations on ebola. And now, he is working as a doctor who will probably one day specialize in infectious diseases.
I, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky when it came to discovering my dreams. I wasn't born knowing what I wanted to be. At some stage in my life, I’ve wanted to be a journalist, a model, a nutritionist, a teacher, a lawyer, a dancer, a psychologist…I graduated from University still not knowing what I wanted to do.
My problem was that I was brainwashed into thinking that the 'dream' had to be a 'dream career'. I ignored the fact that from a young age, I’ve always wanted to be a wife and a mother. Society doesn't teach you to say "I want to grow up to be a wife". I didn’t realize that the feelings were promptings from God. It’s only now that I realize they were there for a reason. I’ve never felt drawn to have my own career because I was called to be a helper and supporter. My ‘dream’ was never a ‘dream career’. I define ‘dream’ as fulfilling your life purpose- whatever it is meant to be.
My dream is foremost to be a wife and mother, second to be a writer. Just because my dream doesn’t bring me fame and fortune, it doesn’t make it any less of a dream. It’s taken me a while of seeking God, but finally I learned to look inward into my heart and realize God gave me all my qualities for a reason. I enjoy researching and learning random facts because I was called to write. I feel a twinge in my heart when I hear news about elderly people dying alone, because God wants me to help them in some way in the future. I was not born loud and assertive, because I was never meant to go into the corporate world.
Of course, it hasn't been easy for my parents to accept that I don't long for a "normal" job. I don't blame them because they only want what's best for their kids, and to their generation, this means having a stable job and earning a good income. My Mum didn't even have the opportunity to go to University, so I know she wants me to have more than she had. All I can do is respect that they have my best interests at heart and assure them that I'm perfectly fine. If this is where God has placed me, He will provide as I need. One thing is for sure: I've never known for sure what I was meant to be, but I always knew it wasn't going to be a straight path.
My hope is for people to do more than just exist. I know many of my friends still feel lost and jaded in this thing called life. It's all great if you have a career you're passionate about, but I feel like too many people are trading in their true passions for the rat race. Don't just do something because it's expected of you. Seek to do something you're called to do, whether it is a career or something besides your career. Just aim to live the life that you were called to be. Because as cliche as it sounds, you only have one shot to get it right before you're standing before the big guy and He's asking you what you did with your life on earth.
Finding Your Dream
What are you passionate about? Many of us ignore our passions inside our heart to chase what society expects of us. Take a moment to look inwards and figure out what you were called to be. God gave us different interests for a reason. If we were all called to be doctors and lawyers and businessmen, the world would be a boring place. We were all made different for a reason. Maybe you are passionate about frying chicken- it's all good!
What do you get excited talking about? Think about what makes your heart beat faster when you're learning about it or talking about it. For example, I get excited talking about dreams…the literal type. Dreams fascinate me because it's a world where anything is possible. What is the point? I like getting people to think of a world beyond what they can see. I think if we all learned to dream more (literally and metaphorically), the world will be a better place.
What do you feel emotional about? Do you feel sad when stories about orphaned children or the elderly are on television? Are you affected by stories of domestic abuse? Do you feel fascinated by health documentaries? Thrilled by stories of rescues and survivals? Think about what captures your heart and how you can work in or help out in that field.
What is your personality type? I think a lot of us feel pressured to be a certain type of person. Some might argue that God has called us all to be bold, but He certainly didn't call us all to be the same. Think about what environment you feel comfortable in. Some people are sociable and enjoy working with people, others enjoy working behind the scenes…I believe that we are drawn to environments that radiate the same spiritual energy we do.
What are your interests? What are your existing hobbies? Do you like writing, baking, dancing, singing…? Could you develop it in a way that is fulfilling and glorifies God? We are all interested in different things for a reason.
What do you feel you're good in? Close your eyes and imagine a perfect world. There are no expectations on you. No such thing as fame and money. You can be whatever you want to be. What would you do? There are no silly answers. It doesn't have to be grand. Truth be told, if I were to work a 9-5 job, I imagine myself doing something repetitive and brainless. I could probably happily do data entry. No shame! I would be good at it!
What do other people tell you you're good in? It's not the only part of the picture (as sometimes people subconsciously impose stereotypes on you) but it can certainly help if you need a helping hand at brainstorming. Try asking those closest to you what they think you're good in or what your best qualities are. Are you good at playing an instrument? Talking to people? Being empathetic? The idea is getting yourself thinking about what your natural talents are.
What makes you happy? What would you be happy to spend all your time doing without getting paid a cent? Obviously this would have to be something you feel strongly towards!
- What do you feel at peace with? I feel that this is the most important part of the equation. If you are where you are meant to be, you will feel a sense of peace. A feeling that everything is right in the world! It doesn't mean that everything is literally peaceful. Sometimes, we are called to chaotic situations. If everything around you is falling apart and yet you feel good about being there- it's a pretty clear sign that it's where you are called to be, whether for that season or for long term.
Your 'Personal Vision Statement'
If that doesn't help, maybe Donna Paltrow's method will. In her book 'Becoming The Woman God Wants Me To Be' (which is based on the Proverbs 31 woman), she explains how to establish your "personal vision statement" in four easy steps. It's really simple and I found it really helped me. The steps are:
- List two of your unique personal qualities (e.g creativity, enthusiasm)
- List one or two ways you enjoy expressing those qualities when interacting with others (e.g through supporting, inspiring).
- Assume the world is perfect. Then describe it as you see it- what are people doing, how are they interacting, what does it feel like (e.g. everyone is freely expressing his or her talents in harmonious and loving ways)?
- Combine your three answers above into a single statement (e.g "My personal vision statement is to use my creativity and enthusiasm to support and inspire others to freely express their talents in a harmonious and loving way").
What Donna wrote:
- Energetic, powerful
- Challenging, motivating
- Everyone is actively serving God by serving others, thereby making the world a better place
- My Personal Vision Statement is to use my energetic, powerful communication skills to challenge and motivate Christians to go into all the world, impacting lives and making the world a better place.
After you establish your personal vision statement, it's easier to think about your life and find ways to make it all fit together. We all have different dreams and unfortunately, sometimes we aren't born with a flashing card indicating what it is.
If you're feeling lost, I'd like to encourage you to keep seeking and never give up. It took me many years of seeking God for my dream to make sense to me. And if you're feeling like you have an "impossible dream", do not give up either. If you can't do something by your own will, that's a good indication that it's definitely from God. Step out in faith, and He will help you. For example, I wouldn't be writing if not for God. If it was only me in the picture, I wouldn't be redeveloping this blog. But it's because I'm not doing this for anyone's approval that I'm pushing ahead past my fears of social judgement. He gives me way too many images and ideas to keep to myself. My life makes sense when I write.
Maybe you feel like you're called to step out and create a major change in this world. Don't let fear hold you back! There aren't any dreams that are too big and neither are there ones that are small. Whatever you are called to do- be it a great politician or the world's best cleaner- do it with pride and do it to the best of your abilities. Each one of us plays an intricate role in the tapestry of life. If you don't do your part, it will mess up the pattern. It can be substituted but lets face it: it wouldn't be the same.