Don't give up on your dreams

“And he still gives his love, he just gives it away... The love he receives is the love that is saved... And sometimes is seen a strange spot in the sky... A human being that was given to fly” Pearl Jam, Given to Fly

Last night, I had yet another “I met Eddie Vedder” dream. It was weird, like reality within a dream. I kept trying to prove how I wasn’t dreaming, and I actually had met Eddie Vedder. In the dream, I shook his hand, said thank you for the music, told him how Pearl Jam helped me meet my husband, and how, to me, “Given to Fly,” was a spiritual song. 

When I woke up this morning, with the dream pretty much forgotten, I skimmed a few blog posts. They started getting me thinking about why I want to write and what I’m working towards with my life. (Stick with me here, I’m going to try and connect this all…)

First was an editorial from the by-girls, for-girls website, HelloGiggles, about how movie critic, Rex Reed, bullied comedic actress Melissa McCarthy in his recent review of “Identity Theft.”  It really moved me because I have this aching desire to reach out to teenage girls and women about their value in God. I want women like Melissa McCarthy to know that no matter what Rex Reed says about her, she is a beautiful and talented individual who was created by a God who loves her. I was so glad to see so many people speaking up in support of her.

Then I read two blogs by Jon Acuff.  One described how 90’s R&B singer Montell Jordan gave his life to Jesus a few years ago, and Jon even shared the powerful letter Montell wrote to himself right there on the church floor when he had this incredible transformation of the heart.  This part of his letter resonated with me, “I am certain I will look like a failure to some, a has-been to many, and a hypocrite to most; I only hope to look like my Savior to ONE.” I also have a constant fear of looking like a hypocrite, and not following Jesus the way I believe He taught me to.  

Jon Acuff’s other blog talked about his new book, “Starter,” where he says, “If you’ve ever doubted your dream, or believed you couldn’t do something you’ve always wanted to do, you need to punch fear in the face.”

Every day is a struggle to put God at the center instead of my own selfish ambitions. I feel like God is actually giving me a dream to pursue which is greater than just a degree or title, a true way of making a difference, serving and loving others. 

But I’m scared… walking-the-plank terrified! So, yes… I want to punch fear in the face.  

Back to Eddie Vedder… I wonder if he felt like he was punching fear in the face every time he played a tiny club after working a midnight shift at a gas station, not knowing if he would have enough money to pay the bills. How did he feel when he flew up to Seattle to meet with some musicians looking for a new singer, not knowing if it would work out or not?  To me Eddie Vedder isn’t just a rock star; he’s a talented musician, poet, and advocate. His words have gotten me through some of the worst times in my life.  I’m not trying to turn him into an idol, but I think I realized this morning that I want Eddie Vedder to know he is loved, valued, and appreciated... not just by me but also by God.  This isn’t because I am an obsessed psycho fan (cause I’m really not that bad compared to some other people… I haven’t even made it out to Seattle yet), but because I truly care about the hearts of people.  Yes, even the hearts of rock stars!

I know this may sound sanctimonious and sentimental, but I think if I were putting all of my heart and soul into an endeavor, I would want to hear “thank you.” Not because I think I’m awesome and need validation, but more because I’m afraid I’m terrible and accomplishing nothing of significance. 

Sometimes all you need is that one person appreciating you to help keep you moving towards your dream. Validating people who are making a difference in your life is a good thing.  We all want to hear thank you for the work we do, especially when we’re not sure if we should even be pursuing it.  The Avett Brothers lyric from Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promises describes this idea so succintly: 

“If you’re loved by someone, you’re never rejected… decide what to be and go be it.”

I know it sounds super cliché, but I want to make a difference in people’s lives. I want God to use me in a way where people will feel loved and valued. But as Jon Acuff said, “the minute you stand up and do something with your life, fear will awaken.”  He’s right. I’m terrified.  What if I do this wrong? What if my work doesn’t help anyone? What if I’m fooling myself?  

These are all lies from the devil. Yep, I said it! So I’m going to take that leap and just pray that I don’t give up before it even gets started.  

I’m ready to look fear directly in the face and not give up on my dream to love God and love others. 

Now I understand the dream I’ve had since I was 15 is tied to the dream I have today. I would still like the opportunity to thank Eddie Vedder in person one day, but not necessarily so he knows who I am.  I just want everyone to know God’s love, that they are valued… that’s the dream I hope never goes away.

What dream have you been scared to pursue? Who has made a difference in your life that you would like to thank?