Last year—shortly before we moved—I needed a diversion to the craziness of life, and decided to see what concerts were scheduled at the American Music Theater. Wynonna was in town, so I purchased a ticket to see her show.
As I drove to the concert I chided myself for going. “I really should be at home, packing or doing something to ready the house for the move.”
In retrospect, I’m glad I went. With only three band members plus herself, the show came across as more personal than a typical concert. As a result, that was one of the best concerts I had attended in a long while. Plus, she sang one of my all time favorite songs Dream Chaser—a song that originally appeared on the 1983 Judd’s debut EP album, but was also added to the 1985 Rockin’ With the Rhythm album.
Back in the 80s I was full of dreams. Unfortunately, because of a lack of confidence, I never took a step in the direction towards most of those dreams. Instead, I shoved them to the farthest part of my mind and allowed years of dust to cover them.
Throughout the past few years, I’ve been working on resurrecting old dreams by actively pursing them.
This blog is a part of one of those dreams. I enjoy sharing stores with others—an aspect of my life inherited from my grandmother who shared stories with everyone she met. Over the years I’ve collected scribbled cursive text and tidbits of thoughts jotted on paper scraps in hopes of sharing those words with others. In fact, personal journals, notes, stories, and research material is strewn all over my house. These written words line my closet shelves, are stuffed in end table drawers, are crammed in boxes in the basement, and reside in my backpack, suitcase, and book caddy by my recliner.
For the longest time though, my dreams about publicly sharing my writing lived mostly in my mind, simply because I allowed fear to capture my confidence. When I finally garnered the courage to bounce my procrastinated dream ideas off my husband, he posed a question that encouraged me to shoot for the stars. “If you follow your dreams, what’s the worst thing that could happen?”
“Uh. Hello there! I could fail!”
Shortly after that conversation I heard someone make this proclamation: “You’re gonna fail, so fail quickly!”
As I mulled over that statement, I realized I’d been sidelined way too long.
Lately I’ve heard a number of people discuss failure from this context: Failure is inevitable. It’s how you handle failure that makes all the difference.
The key to accomplishing any dream is taking that first step. If you never act towards a dream you are guaranteed a 100 % failure rate.
Inaction = 100% Failure Rate!
The realization of that percentage pushed me to finally publish my first post. And that realization is one of the reasons why I continue to write.
Have I hit a home run each time I’ve written something? NOPE! There are articles I’ve written that have missed the mark and been rejected by editors. There are stories that I’ve written that have been passed on by editors. And there are poems that I’ve written that have been returned to sender. Honestly though, I don’t see any of these as failures. I view them all as learning curves, and important steps towards accomplishing the overall dream.
On the flip side, there are a number of pieces I’ve written that have been published in various magazines and books. Other pieces are slated for publication later this year, and some are scheduled for release next year.
And this post marks the 67th blog I’ve posted on this site (3 posts were guest posts, 1 was a poem, 1 a music video, and 1 was a meme). While some may consider 67 (or 61 depending on how you look at it) an insignificant number, to me it’s mind boggling, especially since my initial thought after I posted that first story was, “What in the world am I going to write about next?”
Earlier this month I embarked upon a new dream—grad school. For years I’ve dreamed about obtaining my masters degree. Beginning my first grad class was the second step towards obtaining this goal (the first step was applying). This dream is HUGE and on the scale of 1 to 10 in terms of terrifying emotions coursing through my veins right now—I give it a 20! But I also find it an exciting dream to pursue.
There are a number of other dreams on my list. Most relate to travel or activities. Some relate to personal goals. Listed in no particular order is a very small sample of my dreams:
With my family
- Serve on a short-term mission’s trip
- Visit Amsterdam and tour the Anne Frank house
- Visit Italy, Switzerland, and Germany
- Explore the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert, White Sands New Mexico, and old western towns of Arizona
- Travel Route 66 from end to end and visit monuments, national parks, and tourist sights along the way
- Attend a Broadway show together
- Visit each of the areas my grandfather was stationed during WWII
- Finish writing the books that I’ve started and see them through to the published phase
- Obtain my Master’s Degree within three years
- Write 500 blog posts
- Have 50 articles of mine published in various magazines
These are just a few of my dreams. I guess many people would call most of these items bucket list items. Regardless of what one calls them, I’ve got a lot of them—so many in fact that my husband tells me my list of dreams would fill an Olympic sized swimming pool.
Thinking back on last year and that concert . . . I’m glad I skipped a few hours of packing up household stuff. I needed something to remind me of those big dreams coated in a few layers of dust. The song Dream Chaser blew off the dust and reignited a spark.
Adding to that, a few weeks ago I was selected to be part of Mark Batterson’s launch team for his latest book Chase the Lion. After reading that book, I knew I couldn’t allow fear to stop me again.
Chase the Lion poured gasoline on the reignited dreams, and has inspired me to Run to the Roar (see Mark’s book for an explanation of the phrase—run to the roar).
I’ve decided that regardless of how many times I fail, I will continue chasing my dreams even after I can no longer run.
Are you still dreaming? Are you acting on those dreams? What’s pushing you forward? What’s holding you back? Leave a comment below to join the conversation.
** As a side note, if you are a dreamer who needs some encouragement, I highly recommend Mark’s book Chase the Lion. It is available on Amazon and well worth the price (my opinion only—being on a launch team doesn’t mean I have to give a book a good review, just an honest one based on my opinion).
* all photos (with the exception of the book photo) are compliments of pixabay.com
3 thoughts on “Chasing Dreams”
Jill, I have enjoyed reading your short essays in your blog for some time. This one moved me and prompted many thoughts. First, what on earth is “failure”? Perhaps we need another word for not accomplishing or achieving a goal.(Perhaps not well defined? Perhaps not well understood?) It is definitely something, but I do not think of it as “failure.” If you fear “failure” I think you actually fear something you think failure means, which needs to be examined. Any way, you have done a great job of accomplishing many things that are important to you. Thank God there are many left. Glad you are starting Grad School. Why are you doing that? What does it mean to you? What will you have accomplished and why is that important? What will it open for you? (Perhaps a thought for another blog.) I just started a new blog to share my photos. The “About My Blog” section may be interesting to you. Check it out at brucesphotos.wordpress.com. Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts about failure and giving us some insight into all that you have accomplished. B
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Hi Bruce. Thanks for your comments and questions. I think you have raised some very good points, and I do plan to address the “failure” definition in another post. For me, I felt that not doing anything about my dreams was a failure on my part. I was being inactive and too scared to try. But, not all dreams are meant to succeed. I do think if one begins something and then the idea morphs into something else, or one even passes the baton to another to finish the dream, those are not failures. Those are two components I will elaborate on in a future post. As for Grad school – I have no idea where this is going to lead – Masters in Religion with a focus in Biblical Studies. It’s another one of those links that doesn’t make 100% sense, but it’s an area where I feel God has been leading for some time, and should get me closer to completing the book ideas I have locked in my head. I’m really excited about what I am learning. I will check out your new blog. Your one about stained glass fascinates me. I’ve always been drawn to stain glass windows, and thoroughly enjoy reading your posts. Thanks again, Bruce, for sharing your comments with me.
Hi Jill, What a great post. I don’t have nearly enough dreams, in my opinion. However, I am working on my main dream, to do my best to become a published and somewhat successful author. I listened to a webinar on Saturday that also really made me realize what I’ve known for a while but have struggled with, and that is, that to have a steady income as a writer, I need to do more than write novels. Novels take LOTS of time, so while working on a novel, I need to write magazine articles and other things and have submissions out there all the time. My struggle is that I fear that I will not be good at writing nonfiction magazine articles or that I don’t know enough about anything to write a good article, and once I write an article about what I do know, what’s left? The other issue is that I need to be familiar with whatever publications I want to submit to, and that costs money, to purchase copies of those publications to study. Money is always a roadblock for me.
Your post has given me some food for thought and filled me with a little bit of new determination. Thanks.
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