Monday, July 10, 2017

Painfully Dreaming

I'm not really into introspection. People tend to think I am for some reason, but the truth is that I have for years avoided thinking too hard about myself. I prefer distraction. I even do yoga while watching TV. The biggest reason for this is because I just don't want to face how much of a disappointment I am to myself. Even a decade ago, I'd turn off the radio when Kelly Clarkson or Taylor Swift songs about leaving small towns and making it big came on.

Growing up, I was always told I should be a writer. I always thought I would be, but I never wanted to write for writing's sake. I assumed I would write something when I had something to write about. Then I just never did. 

Actually, I still am occasionally told that I should be a writer. Except now, when someone says that, I hear, "You should have been a writer." And it hurts. It hurts so much to think that there was one thing I could have done of importance with my life but i missed my chance. Like I said before, I prefer distraction to introspection. Even now I'm writing this while watching Sherlock just to dull the pain of thinking. 

So now I've been asked to go through Jenny Allen's study Restless. And it's hard. The first week, I broke down in tears every time I tried to open the book. The book is about finding out how your dreams and abilities could be used for God's kingdom. 

It must be easy for someone as successful as Jenny Allen to talk about following your dreams for Christ. What about someone like me? I always said my dream was to write a book, but the truth is I haven't pursued or studied writing at all in my life and wouldn't even know the how to research and compose a book if I had something to say. It was painful to think that I'd missed my chance to have meaning. 

I stuck it out. Because I committed to my group. And because I’d already bought the book. I haven't finished the study yet so I can't say 100% whether I recommend it or not, but I’m SO glad that I’m doing this. I don’t know whether to credit Restless or just the simple act of finally thinking about my life, but I’ve had a huge breakthrough! My big discovery was that it isn’t actually my dream to be a writer. Maybe it had never actually been my dream. 

The thing is, writers write. They enjoy writing. They don't need an excuse to write.  I don’t. Not really. Not now at least. I was always just told that I would be—at least, should be—a writer. When we talk about people who pursue a career to please their parents, I always pictured doctors or accountants, but I had identified my dream as being a creative. And I’m just. . . not.

Do you know what I do love doing? Communicating. I talk just to hear myself talking sometimes (probably why people mistakenly think I’m introspective.) Communicating is similar to writing, but much shorter. Much more transient. Much more utilitarian. And much less impactful. Yes, I will never be famous for my Instagram posts. But I’m actually doing my dream right now. 

Good for Jenny Allen that she’s a teacher and writer. I didn’t actually want to be. But you know what I do remember wanting? I remember sitting in the UT Tower, listening to a live stream of a church conference, and thinking, "I want to work for the church." The thought came out of nowhere and I didn't know how or why and I didn't have a plan or a good reason to want to go serve, but somehow seven years later, I'm on staff at Hutto Bible Church. 

And I’m happy. . . Mostly. I’m also insecure and tired and frequently frustrated. But I achieved my dream. And that’s pretty amazing for a slacker like me.

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