I’ve always been the type of person that when someone says I can’t do something. I nod and say you’re-right and follow the rules. Sarah the Rule-Follower. Sarah the Afraid. Sarah the Worried. When someone tells me that something is too far past my reach I agree. Sure it is, I say. Those words mean a lot, apparently.
I have wanted to be the girl who, when someone says that to me, squares her shoulders, looks Limit in the eyes and says oh-really?
This would be Sarah the Brave. Sarah the Risk-Taker. Sarah the Bold-and-Daring.
In the last several years (and then more pointedly in the last several months) I’ve dared to be brave.
In high school I was always near the top of my class but I was never at the top. Ever. There was one quiet and awkward boy who always managed to beat all of us. Even those of us who huddled around AP practice-test questions at lunchtime knew we could never really beat him. He got everything right all of the time. He was a school machine that was invincible.
I tried my hardest in school, but to beat him? It was actually impossible so I didn’t attempt it. I knew the limits.
And in all my dreams I never believed I could beat him.
And I never did.
There is a middle place, I believe, that encompasses both bravery and our limitations but still allows us to dream big.
Dreaming, I believe, is the perfect juxtaposition between courage and knowing your limits. We don’t want to be limited. Especially when someone tells us we can’t do something.
But the fact of the matter is, not all of us are born to be Michael Phelps or Michael Jordan. And we aren’t all meant to be Beth Moore or the Pioneer Woman. I was never born to be that quiet, awkward guy in high school.
I was a good student, but I wasn’t THAT student.
There are some things we really can’t do. But should that stop us from dreaming? No. I don’t think so.
We sometimes think of a dream as something unattainable or a life-long wish that is almost impossible to see come to fruition.
But what if our dreams were withIN our giftings, moved toward with courage and with the realization that we are limited by our humanity, our physical bodies, our age and sometimes just by what we have been born with.
Even if my daughters had begun to swim on the swim teams at age three, neither of them would be a world class swimmer. Look at Phelps — even his body is built for it.
So dreaming? Maybe we began to dream big within the unique giftings that we each have. And what if we moved toward the big-scary-thing with courage?
Sarah the Rule Follower might have become Sarah the Dreamer had I understood earlier that I wasn’t meant to be a playwright or an actor but I was meant to write . Sarah the Worried might have become Sarah the Daring had I grasped well the idea that I am gifted in certain ways and that to live the grand adventure I was supposed to live, I needed to move with courage in the direction of my gifts and not fight against what I was meant to do. Maybe I’m not going to write the Great American Novel or be the voice of my generation, but I will write. And I will write well.
We are not all meant to be the top of the top in whatever gifting or calling that we have. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t meant to be good. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t called to do well in it and be brave in it.
Let us begin to embrace who we were made to be, those deep passions that cross paths with the gifts that God has given us. And then let us move forward in them with courage and confidence knowing that if God has gifted us, He will empower us.
Sarah the Brave Writer.
Sarah the Courageous Mother.
Sarah the Grace-filled Friend.
Sarah the Compassionate.
These are now the dreams I have. And I haven’t fulfilled them yet. But slowly, with courage, I will move toward them.
Name yourself today. Give yourself a dream-name in the comments. What do you want to be?