“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
4 Restore our fortunes, Lord,
like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.” ~ Psalm 126
Well, I didn’t get the news I wanted to hear today. I got disappointed and my feelings got hurt for a minute. I even got angry at myself for even trying to do something that I had never done before. I mean, who am I to think that I could actually successfully do something that I had never attempted to do before in my life? Realistically speaking, it was just crazy to even think I had a chance in the first place. Right?
I’m sure I am not the only person who talks so negatively to themselves when something doesn’t go our way…am I? Surely someone else gives themselves down the road for attempting something way outside their comfort zone…right? I can’t be the only one who calls myself all kinds of names and tells myself all kinds of not nice things about trying something different when it doesn’t go my way in the end. Words like “failure, looser, crazy, stupid, incompetent, never, and why” float through my brain in rapid succession every time I think about it.
Earlier this week I saw a writing competition sponsored by a Christian Publishing company. On a whim, I jumped and entered it. I was scared out of my mind, but I had convinced myself that I had a chance to win…only I didn’t win. I had put myself out there and opened the door for criticism and it backfired. I was embarrassed and mad at myself for even trying. Then, I heard God say, “But, you did try”.
Yeah buddy…that’s gonna make me feel so much better there Lord! I’m sorry, but it sure does not make me feel even remotely better. I asked God why that was such a big deal. Sure, I tried to write a story that was good enough to publish. I stayed up late and got up early working on it. I did my best to impress the judges. And, I still got disappointed. So, why should I feel better just because I tried? I would prefer to sit over here and have a little pity party and climb back into the hole that has become my life, thank you very much. Then, I heard it again, “But, you did try”.
Finally, it hit me. Yes, I did try. Yes, I did work really hard on something that I was proud to put out there for other people to see and even judge. Yes, I did do something that scared me and pushed me way outside my comfort zone. Yes, I overcame my fear of rejection for a few hours and ignored the negative voices in my head. Yes, I let myself dream again. Yes, I allowed a lot of possibilities for my future dance around in my mind. Yes, I let go of my fears and just jumped to see where I would go. I did all of those things because I had tried.
Disappointment and failed attempts at doing something new have prevented me from dreaming like I once did when I was young. I have learned that I have to be realistic and I have to just get by in life, because that’s what all adults do…right? We just work to pay bills and give our kids money. Isn’t that how it works when you are an adult? We don’t have time to dream or even attempt to set new goals for ourselves because we are to busy trying to give our kids a chance to reach their dreams. Our dreams died long ago…or at least most of mine have at this point. I mean, look at my life right now. My dream of growing old with someone I loved died in September. Every dream I ever had or saw myself achieving involved my husband and my girls. They were the focus…the important piece of my life’s puzzle…not me. I would be happy as long as they were happy. Anything else was gravy.
Well, God showed me today that its not OK to push my dreams away. He had prepared me to accept “not this time” as a possibility early this morning. I honestly did not know if I could handle another disappointment in my life right now, and I told Him that very thing. Guess what? I can. Psalm 126 tells me that one day, my mouth will be filled with laughter and my tongue with joy. He will restore my fortunes and my tears will reap songs of joy. I will make it and I will see my dreams come true…one day. But, for today it’s just good that I tried. My dear friend told me that as long as I am leaning forward, I’m going in the right direction…even if my feet aren’t moving. I just have to keep leaning forward. It’s not easy…or fun…or even something I want to do most of the time…but one day it will be worth it if I don’t ever lean back. One day.
I guess I’m just stuck in the land of disappointment for now. I am strong enough to take it. I won’t curl up and die because I got disappointed yet again. I will choose not to be bitter…again. I will continue to open my mind to the possibility of dreaming…again. I will fight the realist part of me that says, “You have too much responsibility on your shoulders to even let yourself think about anything you want. You have to just do what you’ve always done, because that’s your job in life. Just get by”. Only, that’s not what I want to do. I don’t want to give up on myself and just get by.
I want to live. Really, really live. I want those moments that take my breath away. I want a racing heart and tension filled muscles as I attempt to try something new and exciting. I want to conquer my fears and enjoy the ride. I want more out of this life than the limited experiences that I only let myself have if my kids are the ones doing the dreaming. I want more. I expect more. I deserve more. I can have more…as long as I don’t give up. We all can. Today taught me that I just have to pick myself up and try again…so I will.