If you’re anything like me, you had it all figured out. You’d finish High School. Get accepted to your #1 University. Then, you’d embark on your dream career (with full benefits & a 401(k)), buy a house, get married, and have 2.5 kids and a family dog. This wasn’t exactly my dream, but it’s a basic blueprint for what many people aspire to have. No matter how much we planned and dreamed, we ended up right where we are today, wondering: what happened?
Life. Life happened.
Maybe you planned to be an entrepreneur and now you’re punching someone else’s time clock. Maybe your hearts desire is to be a mother but everyone else’s family is growing instead of yours. Maybe, you didn’t get a degree and now you feel inadequate in your job search. We all have a story. That’s what makes us unique and interesting. But I want to encourage you that where you are doesn’t have to be your permanent residence!
I know, firsthand, how it feels to look back and feel like you missed your chance. When I found out we were expecting our first child, I felt as if all my hopes and dreams were flushed away. I can’t travel the world with a baby! I can’t move into a swanky loft downtown with an infant (yes, this was a dream of mine. Don’t judge.). “I’m a mom now.” This became my excuse for missing out on life’s experiences. My mind was focused on the imaginary restrictions I put on myself, not the possibilities ahead.
Proverbs 16:9 says, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” You may not feel like your steps have been established by the Lord, but I can promise you that where you are in life is no surprise to God! We may have made choices that have taken us off our course. Or perhaps you found yourself in a circumstance outside of your control. Whatever the reason, it’s not too late to get back to your passion! Do you want to start a cooking channel on YouTube? Maybe you wish you had time to volunteer, travel, or get back into crafting. Whatever you want to do, if it’s just a hobby or requires a business plan – it’s never too late!
Here are 3 ways to jump-start your dreams:
- Find inspiration – Don’t wait for inspiration to find you! Find people who are doing the things you want to do and let them inspire you! Don’t know anyone? Use social media to connect with people who have similar interests as you. You can even reach out and get advice on how to get started.
- Set a goal – Open your planner (or calendar app) and set a realistic deadline for yourself. This way, you have time to do your research and gather your resources. “One day” is a date that will never come. Get serious and hold yourself accountable.
- Share your dream – It’s easy to make excuses when you’re the only one who knows about it. Find a supportive relative or friend and share your vision. You’ll be surprised how much motivation you can get from hearing someone else cheer you on!
Have faith in yourself and get started! I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. This blog isn’t titled, “3 Easy Ways to Live Your Dream Life” because I don’t believe that anything worth having comes easily. It’s going to take hard work and commitment, but it’ll be so worth it once you look back and see how far you’ve come.
Is it difficult now that you have a family, bills, work, and responsibilities? Yes! But I don’t believe we should settle for whatever life hands us. Regardless of our circumstances, we can still choose to live the life we want. Psalms 37:34 tells us to, “Put your hope in the Lord.” Shift your focus from what’s going on around you to the plans God has for your life. You will face obstacles, but don’t to let them discourage you – continue to pursue your goals. Don’t be afraid of failure. If you fail, at least you tried! The hidden treasure in failing is that it gives you experience for the next time! When faced with failure, learn the lesson and keep moving forward.
Let’s address the inevitable: Not everyone will support your dream. You might be surprised at who’s missing from your cheer section. Don’t allow the negativity to distract you. Never give up. Be relentless in your pursuit. Always believe that you can do anything!
Sometimes there are legit hindrances in our way. Legal issues, lack of education/resources, finances, etc. That doesn’t mean that every door is closed! Matthew 7:7 says, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Key words: Keep on! Have faith and don’t quit.
Faith is a major component to making our dreams come true. Faith is believing that something will happen when everything tells you it’s impossible (Hebrews 11:1). First we need faith in God, then, we need faith in ourselves. Sometimes the help we need is right under our nose. If you lack the resources to get started, visit your local library or community center to find out if there are programs in your community that offer assistance. Choose to believe that things will work out for you, then – act on that belief!
Life happens. Some days can feel like a total roller coaster. Through the ups and downs we must stay true to ourselves. Make the investment in yourself and share your gift with the world. You never know how your story will motivate the next person. We all have something to contribute and we’re all waiting to see what you can do!