A lot of people don’t know this about me, but when I started college, I was a theatre major with the plan of moving to LA after graduation in the hopes of becoming a famous actress.
I wanted to be so many things in college. A forensic scientist, a detective, a famous rock climber, zoologist, a famous personal trainer, a Nike model, a writer/editor for the New York Times, a paddle-board yoga instructor, famous singer, professional chef, one of those trapeze girls in the circus and I’m pretty sure I’ve wanted to be the president 10 times already this year. I could go on forever about what I wanted to be but the list is too long.
I changed my major seven times because I wanted to learn everything. I was never into the movies where the quiet nerdy girl catches the bad boys eye. I didn’t care about rom coms that were based around the jock who finally notices the girl in the back or the hot writer at the cool magazine and the sports illustrated guy that just can’t be without her. I loved the hunger games, the wild, into the wild, where the wild things are, the holiday, , the titanic, Tarzan, Pocahontas, Mulan, midnight in Paris, Forest Gump, Walk the Line, the Lion King and dirty dancing- the regular version and the Havana nights version.
Cinderella just didn’t do it for me-and it still doesn’t.
I did my first two years of college at community college. No one there really knew what they wanted to do and after class everyday my friends and I went straight to rock wall, climbed for hours and eventually hopped on the paddle boards to end our day. My first boyfriend in college drove a beat up blue Jeep and we always had the top down and went surfing on the weekends. We didn’t care about what anyone thought when it came to the way we did life.
It wasn’t until my junior year of college that I started to become more fearful. When I moved to MSU and started meeting new people, it seemed like they all had a plan for their life. Everyone was dead set on their major and I was only on my third one. Everyone was with the person they intended to marry and I was on a strict year of singleness. It seemed like everyone had a plan and when it was my turn to talk about life, all I could say was “I just want to travel and hang out. That’s about all I got. I’m single and I love God and that’s all I know”. I was a new Christian and I had no idea what God wanted for me. The looks I got from people were concerning, which I’m sure came from good intention, but it sure didn’t feel that way.
I was a waitress for over half my college career, went through four campus ministries, four churches, five houses, eight roommates and even got pulled out of school once until I got to where I am now. I think in the midst of all the craziness and heartbreak, fear started to make a home in my heart.
All of a sudden I quit dreaming. I quit believing in big things. I got safe jobs and internships that I secretly wanted to get out of. I lived in cheap apartments and had a big savings account because I wanted to know that I was secure. I wouldn’t go for the good, godly men and I quit traveling all together. I didn’t talk about my dreams with anyone. I did what I was told and went home to my dog and that was that. I ignored God for two years because what He was asking me to do was too big, too vulnerable. I was settling and I didn’t even know it.
Fear sucks. Literally. It sucks the life right out of you and doesn’t even apologize. It makes you hide. It makes you become hard and cold. It keeps you safe and makes sure that all your wildest dreams never come true. It ruins relationships that could be the most beautiful thing in the world. It keeps you away from the men/women who will treat you well and close to the ones who won’t. Fear doesn’t give a crap about you or me.
I’ve had too many conversations with too many people about fear. Fear that they aren’t good enough, smart enough, pretty enough or whatever enough to do what God has planted in their hearts. I’ve met so many people who could literally change the world with their story and touch the hearts of others, but they let fear take over. Ive dated people who live in fear of what other people will think about them and it absolutely breaks my heart.
Y’all, hear me when I say I get it. I really do. I gave my life to Christ two days before I moved to state and then all hell broke loose for three and a half years. I did something vulnerable and got completely wrecked time and time again.
But the reality is, is that God is big and that means our calling is going to be too in some way or another- and that’s scary.
Seeing Gods children doubt themselves is something I can barely handle. It hurts because I just want to hug them while screaming how amazing I think they are and honestly, I blame the church a little bit.
When you’re young, it seems like every sermon is about embracing Gods calling on your life- just going out and boldly taking on His call for you. But then, when the times comes, and some sweet soul opens up to a church member they trust about their dreams and what they feel led to do, the lectures start flowing in like wildfire.
“Well, are you sure that’s what God wants? Have you really prayed about this or is it just a feeling? Why do you believe you can do this? You want to travel the world for a year, but what about seminary? Oh, that’s a cool little dream you got there, but maybe you should apply for a lower level job instead”.
Not all of these questions are bad. It’s good to go to someone who is wiser than us and who can help us with the discernment process. If our dreams aren’t rooted in what the Lord has placed on our hearts that can destroy us, so sometimes help is needed and that’s okay.
But it gets to a point where we have to understand that Gods calling on our lives is going to look crazy to some people, and we have to learn how to be okay with that. Sometimes when I tell people that I dream of being a travel blogger/ speaker/ pastor/missionary (I’m still working on it), they look at me like I’m insane. It’s too risky. Too out there. Too whatever. But that’s alright. People’s opinions don’t change Gods calling on our lives.
So many people just say “oh that’s a cool dream you got there sarah” every time I have the nerve to talk about the things that have been on my heart and it’s really discouraging.
So, as a former dreamer turned fearful soul, turned back to being a dreamer, here’s all I have to say to you:
Go for it.
Apply for the job. Move to that city. Tell that one person you’ve always had feelings for them. Quit letting peoples opinions rule you. Don’t allow other people’s insecurities about your dreams make you insecure about your dreams. Start the YouTube channel. Book that flight. Purchase a blog. Break up with the things that hold you back. Tell your parents no (respectfully). Get fit. Lose the dang weight. Overcome that one sin that keeps coming back. Break free from whatever it is that holds you back. Quit something. Make that phone call. Go on that road trip. Quit your job if you can.
Pray about all these things, and if you get that yes from God, do it. If you don’t get a yes, seek Him relentlessly until you get your yes to whatever He wants.
I believe in big, wild Bob Goff style ministry. I believe in breaking the chains of fear and tradition. I believe in going against the grain and doing the undoable. I believe in loving people recklessly and walking through life with them, no matter where that takes us. I believe in housing prostitutes and homeless people because they need help. I believe in going into the untouched places of not only this earth, but also the human heart and making something beautiful out of it.
As most of you know, I went to NYC for NYE. I’ll admit that I was afraid to buy that plane ticket. I was afraid of showing people how excited I was to travel. I was afraid of how much I liked being in an airport.I didn’t want to tell anyone that I had dreams of doing mission work all over the world and writing about it. But listen, I’ve made some of the most terrifying phone calls and long drives in the last year. I’ll admit that I was afraid, but no part of me has ever wanted to take it back.
Don’t be stupid. Don’t be reckless in a bad way. Be wise and seek discernment, but go. Pay attention to the things God puts on your heart. They weren’t put there by accident. Don’t allow the world to remain mediocre because you’re afraid. Don’t be one of those people that wakes up when they are sixty and realizes they are full of regret.
And remember if you’ve God on your side, you’ve got all you’ll ever need.
All my love,
1 Timothy 4:12