The Place Between Dreaming, Courage and Reality

onthetrail

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?

Comments

  1. says

    I LOVE this post. It resonates deeply with me right now. I just wrote on dreaming big, and it has been on my heart a lot lately… to find the courage, embrace the courage to dream.

    If I had to pick a name for myself today it would be Franchesca the Dreamer.

  2. says

    I’d say your writing this personified “Sarah the Grace-filled Friend” in that it inspires me on so many levels, especially those places deep down where I dream all day long of how to move forward and encourage other, but often times don’t know how to take that first step. To put a name to it, Adrienne, one who Inspires. Thanks for this, girl! Keep on writing! xoxox

  3. says

    Jenny the Daunting
    Jenny the Darling
    Jenny the Dream-lifter for others
    Jenny the Dare to Dangerously Dive into Darkness in and for His Delight
    Jenny the Dancer – this one is THE stretch – but I want to dance through life. with Him in my heart. not holding back at all.

  4. says

    Jenny the Daunting
    Jenny the Darling
    Jenny the Dream-lifter for others
    Jenny the Dare to Dangerously Dive into Darkness in and for His Delight
    Jenny the Dancer – this one is THE stretch – but I want to dance through life. with Him in my heart. not holding back at all.

  5. says

    Thank. You Sarah!!! I am sitting in an airport, waiting on my delayed flight headed to the Jumping Tandem Retreat….and I am so afraid. I don’t know what my dream is, but I know one is buried deep within me somewhere. I just need to be brave enough to accept it. Thank you so much for this post that screams (in a good way) encouragement to me.

  6. Michelle says

    Michelle… The confident
    Michelle… The Initiator
    Michelle… The Contemporary Dancer
    Michelle… The CONTENT
    Thank you Sarah!! xoxo

  7. says

    This is most beautifully written and timed.
    I could not put better words to a similar walk.
    – Jessica the Giver Of Permission To Be & Speak

    • Sarah Markley says

      Jessica the Giver of Permission to be and Speak, I love the role you have in the world. We need people like you. Thank you =)

  8. says

    Katie the Bold.
    Katie the Unafraid, Unashamed and Unstoppable
    Katie On Fire Five Point O
    The timing of this was serendipitous. Thank you.

  9. Heidi Stephen says

    Love this so much!

    Heidi the Tender
    Heidi the Free and the Giver of Freedom
    Heidi the Encourager and The Giver of Love
    Heidi the Faithful, the Loyal, the True

  10. Mark Allman says

    Sarah,
    I do not think we really have any idea what our limits might be and I think we should dream as big as we want and pursue with passion whatever we are dreaming and let the limits be what they may be. I do know you can never be the one of the best writers if you don’t write or one of the best actresses if you don’t act. I want my children to pursue their dreams with passion and let limits be what they may be……and I want them to relish that journey as they do so. I want to come along side people and say yes you can. I do think ordinary people can do the extraordinary things if they pursue them with passion and tenacity. I do not think talent alone defines limits… sometimes it is a person’s willingness to keep at it.

  11. says

    Sarah – I’m fairly new to the blogosphere and I have to same I’m just amazed, AMAZED at the way the Holy Spirit can use people who may never meet, whose “real” lives may never intersect, to touch, shape, lift and encourage each other. Today I was just thinking to myself, I am never, NEVER going to be one of “those” writers who have thousands of followers so why am I doing this? (Which I realize is dumb and limiting and of the darkness, but it doesn’t mean I don’t succumb to it now and then.) Anyway, so there I was feeling like quitting (again) and then I clicked on this link and landed here. What a blessing. Thank you. I think my dream name for today will be Caroline the Rememberer (in the hopes that I’ll never forget) and Caroline the Reminder (in the hope that I can encourage others as you do here)….

  12. Lauren Smith says

    What a wonderful and inspiring article. Thank you, Sarah! I would label myself now as a “Courageous” woman who faces her fears head on. But I used to be “Anxious” woman full of fear. Your story is so encouraging for us to stay strong and keep moving forward. Reminds me of an excellent book by Margie Warrell I just finished called, Stop Playing Safe: Rethink Risk. Unlock the Power of Courage. Achieve Outstanding Success. The author shows the reader how to define your sense of purpose and pursue more inspiring goals through courage and conquering fear. I highly recommend this one! http://margiewarrell.com/

  13. says

    Thank you so much for this post! I tend to do the same thing…if I don’t think I can be the beat at something, I tend to not even try at all. Thanks for the encouragement to pursue our dreams that flow out of our passion and that it’s ok to not be the very best…that’s not the point, anyway. I want to bravely pursue my dreams, because it’s what I was made for, and it makes me come alive.

  14. says

    Thank you so much for this post! I tend to do the same thing…if I don’t think I can be the best at something, I tend to not even try at all. Thanks for the encouragement to pursue our dreams that flow out of our passion and that it’s ok to not be the very best…that’s not the point, anyway. I want to bravely pursue my dreams, because it’s what I was made for, and it makes me come alive.

  15. says

    Thanks so much for this. I’m a blogger coming from Essert-Pittet, Switzerland and what I just read here on sarahmarkley.com could not be written any better. Perusing this article kinda reminds me of my first roommate, Luann. He persistently kept preaching about this. I will definitely send this information to him. I’m certain he will have
    a very good read. I am thankful to you you for posting this.

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