We hear a lot about what to do with dreams — hold onto them, pursue them, believe in them. There are tons of inspirational posters with pretty pictures that tell us we’re capable of anything.
It’s not true. (I know. It’s not a popular reality, but someone has to say it.)
No matter how much I dream of flying without any help and believe that I can do it, it’s not going to happen. If I jumped off my 13-story apartment building, I wouldn’t soar above the trees. I’d be a Halee pancake on the pavement.
Sure, that’s an extreme example, but the lesson is the same: some dreams need to be let go. I mean, we’ve all seen the kid trying out for American Idol who really should let go of his dream of singing. He believed in his dream. His momma told him he could do it. And that’s how he ended up providing such entertainment for the rest of us. Someone really should have told him long before that singing wasn’t his talent.
Some dreams should be let go.
But how do you decide? How do you know what dreams are worth pursuing and which are just fantasies?
To be honest, I’m not completely sure. Up until a few years ago, I thought my dream of writing a novel was just a silly fantasy. I’m a practical kind of girl. Practical girls don’t assume they can make it as real writers. But then I wrote a novel. And people told me I had talent. I still have trouble believing it. But I’m beginning to think that particular dream might be worth holding onto for a little while.
But one dream I have let go of is of being a painter or sketch artist. Don’t get me wrong, I can slap paint on a wall with more skill than most (that’s just from practice), but it’s not likely that I will be the next Manet. How do I know that? Well, my stick figures need crutches because their legs are so uneven. I’d say that’s a good indication.
I suppose it comes down to this: what are your talents? what is it that keeps you up at night? what thrills you beyond belief?
For me, it’s words. They circle around in my mind until I’m positive I’d lose all ability to think if I didn’t let them out. I even narrate real life situations in my mind. I see a person on the street and I wonder what his story is. So I make one up. Everything else I enjoy pales in comparison to writing. I could write every day for the rest of my life and never tire of it.
But not every dream is worth holding onto. Don’t be deceived by the pretty posters. Don’t be that kid on American Idol. Be smart. Know yourself and your abilities. And be honest. If you’re really honest with yourself, you’ll probably realize that you already know what dreams need to be released.
And when you finally let them go, God can fill that void with a better, more amazing dream. That’s the real beauty of dreams.