As my girls grew older, they started to get accepted to college and leave to start their lives in a different city. The day was approaching when I wouldn’t be needed as much. Who am I if I’m not their mother? What do I bring to the world except through them? My girls were about to fly out of the nest just like I had prepared them to do. Somewhere along the way, I forgot how to fly myself. I wanted to rock empty nest with bigger dreams!
Where was the confident dreamer from my younger days? I had lost her along the way.
Did I pour all myself into raising our girls to get to this point? Was my fun over or was it just beginning?
I needed to tap into my passions to find my way back. I know God wasn’t done with me! It was not too late, and I wasn’t too old.
Bold like a Teenager
Every summer for the last 10 years, I have had the privilege of being a counselor at senior high church camp. Most adults think hanging with teenagers is scary, but I love their energy. When you ask them their plans for the future, they have no hesitation to lay out their big dreams. They tell me what they’re going to do and why they are going to do it. They know what lights them up and they are excited to get after it.
How do adults lose that boldness along the way? Do you remember how you felt as a graduating senior when the world was full of possibility?
As adults, we might have dreams that we quickly squashed with “reasons” why they won’t work or why we can’t do it. The same old excuses- bills to pay, kids to raise, and basically just inconvenient. We let those stories we tell ourselves stop us.
Learn to Dream Big Again
As life gets more complicated, we teach ourselves to stop dreaming. We stop asking ourselves what we want to be when we grow up, because we think we’ve arrived. I am “just” a mom. I am “just” a wife. I am “just” an employee. This is who I am, and I have to be okay with it. You are never “just” a somebody. You are an amazing child of God and heaven is waiting for you to finally realize it!
Well, I’m here to give you permission to travel back to those teenage years of boldness and let you dream again. If you were in my small group, what would you say your big dreams are? I don’t mean what are your dreams for your kids either. I can rattle those off without a thought. It might take some digging, but those dreams are that little whisper that you’ve ignored.
Get out a piece of paper and write I wish…. at the top and then just start writing with no editing. Your heart has dreams buried that you might not have acknowledged in a long time! Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and write.
Stop Playing Small
As you launch your kids into the world, you can prepare yourself to launch into your next act. Do you want to continue to be a “just” someone or do you want to play big and go after ones of those dreams?
I am terrified of heights. As in so much so that I have to take a deep breath every time I drive over an overpass. The summer of my first year as a youth director I took my youth group zip lining. This was not something I wanted to do, but they begged me to plan it. I dreaded the day we drove to East Texas. It was a beautiful zip line park in the trees.
We put on our harnesses and helmets and got our instructions. My heart was beating out of my chest. We took pictures which helped put off the panic for a bit. Then it was time. Of course, we had those in the group who couldn’t wait to go! They were first.
I grouped up with some girls that were just as scared as me. I tried to focus on building up their confidence, even though I was shaking in my shoes. We climbed to the first platform and the guide hooked my harness to the wire. I hugged the tree for dear life. I was cheering on the girls with me telling them they could do it. I was secretly wondering if I could.
Have you ever felt terrified to do something but felt equally strong that you had to do it? That’s where I found myself.
It’s Our Turn
It was finally my turn. My whole body was shaking standing on that platform with everyone cheering me on. I had two choices. I could tell everyone that I just couldn’t do it and climb back down. I would lose credibility when I challenged them out of their comfort zone, plus I would never live it down. Or I could show the teenagers what it looked like to step out in faith even when you are terrified.
Which would you choose?
I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer, and stepped off that platform. My harness held me securely and the ride over those pine trees was exhilarating! We did several more ziplines through the trees leading to one long one at the end. Each time it got a little easier to step off the platform.
I still don’t love heights, but I do love proving to myself that I can do challenging things. Life is too short to not be pursuing your dreams!
Take a Leap of Faith
God is calling you to step off that platform and trust Him to guide you. Little by little, I have stepped out of my comfort zone with God leading the way. I recently became a coach that teaches about health and a lot about living out your purpose. I’ve found me again and I love the new improved version!
What is one dream that you can start to take baby steps towards today?