Permission to Dream

Today’s post is from Amanda Williams. I met Amanda about 18 months ago when I was in desperate need of a running partner and she innocently tweeted about joining the East Nasty’s, an East Nashville running group. And while our running has lagged, our friendship has continued to flourish. Amanda is smart, funny, but more importantly she’s a great mother, wife, and writer. 

Read Amanda’s blog here.

Follow her on twitter here.

Confession: This is my fifth attempt to write this post.

I normally don’t have this problem, being that I am so verbally-inclined (read: long- winded). When Lindsey asked me to write a post about dreams, I jumped at the chance. I read the email in the Target parking lot and my mind raced with ideas the whole drive home. Who doesn’t love to talk about their dreams? Me, apparently. I couldn’t seem to put the words on paper.

Dreaming used to be easier. Giving a name to that magical intersection of the heart and the head, that sweet spot where talent meets passion, was deceptively simple in the first two decades of my life. If I had one dream, I had twenty. Naming a dream was as easy as cueing up my imagination.

It is not so simple now. I’m still trying to figure out why.

The landscape of my heart has changed a lot over the past fifteen-ish years. There are new people and new places, new hurts and new hopes. Sorting through it all to find what matters most is easier said than done.

I am a wife of eight years. I am a mother of three kids under age five. I am a daughter. A sister. A friend and a neighbor. An aunt and a niece. If there are dreams in my heart, these people are a part of them. The experiences we’ve had are the threads that runs through them. I’m not sure I can tell one from the other any more.

And this man I’ve vowed to love all my years and these children who grace all my days, are they not my dream? Often in the chaos of an average day I breathe in sharp at the realization that this is my life. They are part me, the twin boys with the ice blue eyes and the little girl with the razor-sharp mind. They call me Mama. It is a very real dream come true.

So shouldn’t that be it? Shouldn’t my family be my dream?

Isn’t it unfair, ungrateful, unloving to want something more than what they give?

Even as I type the question I know the answer. Even as it wells up inside, I know the guilt I feel is a lie.

I am a Christian; I suppose that should have gone at the top of my list. I am a believer in Jesus which means I am a believer in grace, in hope, in a good God who uses our weakness to work redemption in a broken world. And if I’m being honest? I think the idea that I am disqualified from my dreams is a lie sold by Despair and peddled by Shame in hopes that I will listen and walk away.

Lately I have been listening, and I’ve been tempted to believe it.

But then…

If I squint my eyes shut and listen hard for Truth, I know. I know that my desires are not accidental. I know that my gifts are not in vain. I know that those other things that make me come alive inside, they were put there on purpose, too.

When I was knit together, they were knit into me.

I sit outside alone in the dark, a string of lights overhead, a cat and two dogs curled up at my feet. There is a single street lamp within view that illuminates the top of a big oak in the neighbor’s yard. A steady breeze blows through as I write, making the leaves whisper loud and the branches dance in the light. The choreography makes me wonder:

What if my dreams are not mutually exclusive, demanding that one suffer at the hand of the other?

Perhaps they were meant to weave together, not to detract from each other but to strengthen one another, to breathe life into the branches and song into the leaves. Perhaps they were always written to be part of the same story.

Tonight, in a symphony of leaves, I find a gentle new resolve. To stop listening to the lie and cling harder to the truth. To remember that the desires etched on my heart were put there with purpose. To trust that loving well means daring to be the person I was created to be.

To believe not in my dreams but in the One who created them.

This is my prayer. What’s yours? 

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Lovefeasttable

    Great post! Being a mama of 5, I know I’ve learned that there are seasons….seasons to support their dreams and seasons to pursue my own. You are beautiful friend and so is your approach to life!

    • Thanks, Kristin. You & CA inspire me to pursue my dreams. Thanks for the reminder that patience can be part of that pursuit. xo

  • Great post Amanda. I too believe that our dreams are interwoven with us. Because we become mothers and wives and children of God doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have more for us. I think it’s that desire to dream that keeps us reaching for more, for our kids and for our Father. The Devil loves to play with our minds and whisper that we are not enough and that we can’t have dreams, by sending guilt our way.

  • I love this.  “What if they were meant to strengthen one another”…I am learning this…and it is a sweet understanding I think that comes with age.  As the angst of your twenties slowly starts to fade, and you begin to see the two can live together, it brings a certain sense of freedom, but also a new determination.  Thanks for the post!  

    • Yes! Well said. I am feeling that, too. Thank you, Elizabeth.

  • Cherith

    Wow!  This took my breathe away reading…I guess it is about surrendering myself in order for God to fulfill those dreams He has given to me HIS way…not my way!

  • Amanda! Now this is good, good stuff and definitely worth our celebratory drinks. 🙂 Understanding our dreams were knit into us by the One who gave us life is so encouraging. It doesn’t tell us what the outcome will be, only that it’s important to use our gifts and work toward whatever it is we dream about in the quiet moments. I look forward to seeing how these dreams of yours unfold, friend.

    • Leigh, you are an excellent cheerleader. Thank you. And yes, if we *must* have celebratory drinks, I suppose I’m fine with that.

  • Jennifer

    Yes, I, too, struggle to tell you what my dreams are these days. But i think maybe my definition of “dream” has changed along with me? And I feel a keen need to focus more in The Ultimate Dreamer than on my own deep down desires. Because I find the closer I am to Him, the clearer my dreams are.

  • Thea Nelson

    This is such an important word to share, Amanda.  Last summer I was praying about applying to Dream Year but felt really concerned about it detracting from my family.  A friend said, “Your calling isn’t apart from them–it’s for them, too.”  It was so important for me to hear those words for me to move forward.  It has required balance–absolutely!  But I am very much seeing that a dream and a family are two things God has woven together in my heart.  Thank you for this reminder!

    • Thank you, Thea. It is so encouraging for me to hear the hearts of other women who are in a similar season of life. Our calling is not apart from our family but for them, too. Love that.