“Oh Trudy… You are such a dreamer!! It’s always something new with you.” Tonight I remembered these words spoken by a friend years ago, after I shared one of my dreams with her. I knew she loved me but she didn’t understand my need to dream. And she didn’t think I would ever live my dreams.
Granted, she had heard a few different dreams over the years … Maybe I could become a teacher… a nurse… a counsellor… a doctor—if it wouldn’t take so long and so much money… The list was endless! I had so many interests and passions!
With each wave of enthusiasm came the inevitable disappointment of roadblocks, the discouragement of feeling like a failure, the nattering voices in my head that declared all the unspoken lies of childhood to be true: “Who do you think you are to deserve success? What do you have to offer? Have you forgotten the messed up family you come from—who would believe in you, or invest in you? You’re a failure! You will never make it! You will spend your whole life fighting to survive! This is all there is… for you! Dreams are for people who are worthy!”
These lies would claim my brain space so powerfully that I would catch myself physically holding my head, willing them to stop. Eventually I would surrender to the voices, give up in a spirit of defeat and slip into the dark hopelessness of depression.
Time and time again, Tim would hold me as I cried, trying to make sense of the battle between the voices in my head and the burning passion in my heart. Each time, I fought my way through the darkness, certain the dream would go away and life would be normal. But, without fail, the dream waited for me, just beyond the shadows, and when my mind was clear, the passion took hold with new determination.
It was five years, from the time my dream of reaching the world with a message of hope was born, until I found the courage to speak to someone about it. I shared it cautiously with Tim, hoping he wouldn’t tell me I couldn’t do it, that I had my head in the clouds. He had never spoken to me with disrespect, but this dream seemed a bit ‘out there’.
Tim immediately validated my dream, but added that the time was not right. We had four children ages six and under, with number five on the way and adding anything else was out of the question. He encouraged me to be patient and wait for the right time.
For almost ten years I waited. Sometimes patiently. Mostly not so patiently. The cycle of my passion battling against the lies and insecurity continued for the first few years. Each time my passion emerged on top, more powerful than before.
It was like crawling into a boxing ring, getting punched out a few times, then sitting up with a grin because I had learned a new skill, a new technique, a new way of fighting back. Not that I have any experience with boxing, but I did have a bit of a WWF addiction as a teenager. Not something I confess often.
As my ability to manage my fears, and to silence the voices in my head, developed, I became stronger. With that strength came the confidence that my dream would survive and that no amount of resistance would make that passion die.
During those years the dream grew and my passion for it exploded in my heart until I thought I could contain it no longer. I had to do it. God had given me a message of hope, through the tragedy of my personal experiences, and I knew with certainty that I would do the conferences I had dreamed of for so long.
I started to tell my friends. When they asked where and when I would do these conferences, I told them I didn’t have those answers, but I had no doubt it would happen.
Eventually I shared the conference outline with my mom—giving her a three hour ‘practice run’. When I finished, there was silence. For a brief moment I feared that she too thought I was just a dreamer—pie in the sky, fly-by-night, hopelessly ungrounded. And then she spoke….
“Oh….(she spoke almost reverently, then paused)…. I wish someone had taught me those things when I was a young woman.” Her voice was sad, filled with years of regret.
From that day forward I knew it wouldn’t be too long. She affirmed everything my heart had felt all those years when she blessed the dream.
A few more years passed. Finally, after about fifteen years of waiting, it happened. The dream came to life.
I woke early that Sunday morning and knew what I had to do. I had to ask Tim for his blessing. I had done that before… many times… And each time Tim had said, “not yet. The time isn’t right,” leaving me no choice but to wait. I had made a vow that until Tim felt the time was right I would not start the ministry. In fact, I had sensed God saying that if I would honour Tim’s leadership, He would honour me and go before me to open doors. I had told Tim about that little exchange between God and me, creating accountability to be true to that commitment.
I didn’t enjoy the wait. Believing that Tim, who is cautious by nature, would ever come around and say, “Go for it”, took a lot of trust. What was more, Tim had promised he would help me by speaking at the conferences. I knew he wouldn’t say yes until he was ready to keep his promise.
I propped myself up on Tim’s chest, the moment his eyes popped open. I felt a rush, much like the thrill on Easter morning, that I felt as a child, before an egg hunt. “Honey, are you ready for me to do this?” I asked, not bothering to explain my question.
“Yes,” he said calmly, almost as though he knew I was going to ask.
“Do you know what I’m talking about?”
“And you know what that means?”
I asked him if that meant he was still willing to speak to the women. He paused. “I’ll do it.” He said it with commitment and resignation, choosing to face one of his biggest fears.
“So I can talk to Pastor Don and our church leaders?”
That simple exchange changed my life. Nine months and twelve days later I stepped onto the platform, with an audience of just over 250 people. Though inexperienced and diving into a major learning curve, I was thrilled! It was just the beginning—the first of three such conferences in less than a year.
When my dream came to life, I called the friend who spoke those words years ago, “Oh Trudy… You are such a dreamer!! It’s always something new with you.” I was so excited, I had to tell her that I was living my dream! And, though shocked, she was happy for me.
Within months another dream came to life. There was one man I dreamed of meeting, face to face. An outstanding speaker, writer and leadership guru, Dr. John C. Maxwell’s wisdom and writings inspired me. I wanted to shake his hand, or, better yet, give him a hug and thank him.
One year after Tim gave me his blessing, I signed up to take a Speaker, Coach, Trainer Certification course as part of the Maxwell Team. Five months later, as a climax to months of studying and training, I was in West Palm Beach Florida for three days of live training with none other than the man I had dreamed of meeting.
The highlight was visiting John’s home, meeting his lovely wife Margaret, his team, and his friend, Pastor Ike Riegert, another man of great wisdom and one of my LinkedIn connections. It was all too good to be true. The display of food was beautiful, but I couldn’t eat.
I returned from that training with new confidence that dreams are worth believing in, pursuing passionately, and investing our energy in.
I didn’t pursue my dream to prove something–I did it out of pure passion, because it is what I was created for. It is out of this passion that I will press forward. This week, as I move into the next level of my dream, I am committed, more than ever before, to stay the course and never lose sight of the purpose that drives the passion.
I will fight for my dreams. I will embrace what I was created for. No doubt there will be roadblocks and obstacles, but I will use them to my advantage, to take my dreams and my passion to new heights! This is only just the beginning. The best is yet to come!
What dream have you pushed aside? What dream have you shared, only to be told you don’t have what it takes? What resistance has dampened your passion? I dare you to revisit your dreams. Just beyond the resistance is the thrill of discovering what you are capable of. Never give up.
Well said. Dreams are essential – an important part of hope.
“I had sensed God saying that if I would honour Tim’s leadership, He would honour me and go before me to open doors.”
This is such an important point. If you had failed your children in order to serve others, you would have lived to regret it. How I wish I had followed my husband’s leadership at a crucial point in our lives. Some things may have turned out quite differently. But I thought I knew best. 😥
Gail, thank you for being vulnerable. I don’t know your situation, but I do know this–My God is a Redeemer and nothing is lost in Him! I didn’t always listen this carefully to God. In fact, the sensitivity to His promise was birthed out of my own past mistakes. Those mistakes threatened my future by dumping regret on me until I got the ‘wake up call’ and realized that the mistakes that had stolen my past, would also steal my future if I let them. I made a vow to waste no time on regret. Where I failed, I took ownership, apologized and mended my ways and then I moved forward. I sense regret in your statement….
My encouragement to you is this: Don’t live in regret over whatever past mistake(s) you made. Ask God to redeem the outcome and whatever that means on your part, do it. Every time you recall that mistake, thank God for His redemption. The past loses its power quickly, when even the hard parts inspire joy and praise. And that joy empowers us to impact the world for good.
Thanks, Trudy. I appreciate your encouragement. God is using you to bless many people. 🙂