“Never, never, never, never give up.” — Winston Churchill
Childhood dreams are foolish, right? They are just immature imaginings that are fun to think about for a minute in between doing the dishes and running errands. Once we enter our adult lives, we put the foolish ways of childhood behind us and start the real business of living our lives. Childhood dreams are simply too impractical… or are they?
I have always been a dreamer, or at least I never grew out of it. My dreams range from the practical (beach vacation) to the completely impossible (picnicking in the clouds). Hey, we serve a big God, so why not? Really though, the real world is a harsh place to birth a dream. We face both the monotonous and the unexpected on our journey through everyday life. Our dreams that once seemed vibrant and alive, slowly fade out of reach. Financial obligations, health, marriage, children, career and even tragedy have a way of shattering our dreams into so many pieces that it seems impossible to ever go back, pick up the pieces and attempt to make something beautiful out of it. We move on and tell ourselves it wasn’t meant to be because we are too old, too fat, too tired, too shy, too defeated now to try to dream again. I was in this place. My young years were fading fast and life had taken so many unexpected twists, turns and tragedies that I felt lost. Can anyone relate? I felt defeated. All my dreams were shattered. However, God had some incredible surprises for me right in the middle of my heartbreak.
As many little girls do, I dreamed of becoming a ballerina. I would create silly dresses and dance around my living room. Dancing has always been a joy for me. Coming from a broken home, ballet classes were always just out of reach. By my teen years, I abandoned the dream of ballet. I figured you have to start when you are a toddler or small child if you want to become a professional ballerina.
Opportunity arose and I took a few ballet classes in my early 20s at the University of Oregon, which was a great joy! I was able to get a solid foundation of the basics. After graduation, my husband (Gabe) and I moved to Vancouver, Washington and began to build our life together. From time to time, I would look into taking a community ballet class, but due to a busy life with marriage and ministry, it just never worked out. There was always a conflict.
After almost a decade, God began to invite me to dream again. This felt impossible! I had shut down my ability to dream. I said, “I will just obey you Lord. Do what you want to do!” Jesus persisted. He kept on encouraging me until I agreed and asked for his help. He slowly began to wake me to dream again. As I pondered different dreams I had over the years, ballet came back to mind. I was in need of some regular exercise, so on a whim, I checked back with the community ballet classes… and to my surprise, a couple classes finally fit into my schedule. I was elated!
In September 2018, I started my first class. In regular workout clothes, I walked in to meet the most lovely and encouraging group of people. The teacher was delighted to meet me and I immediately felt welcomed. Learning as a 32-year-old however, was no easy task. Piqués and chaînés left my head spinning and grand jetés left me out of breath, feeling like a total failure. The class moved so fast, I could barely keep up. I had not learned almost half of what we were doing. I nearly quit when an older gentleman in class encouraged me not to give up. I determined to stick with it. Progress was slow, but after several months, I was getting the hang of it! My flexibility was returning, as well as my grace and strength. My heart would be so heavy at times, but dancing allowed my pain to melt away to the movement and music, leaving me light and uplifted on the way out. About 8 months in, I received a startling question.
“Are you going to go en pointe soon?” I was so shocked by the question that I laughed and thought there was no way she was talking to me. A sweet 15-year-old dancer (the best in class) was asking ME about pointe. Because I thought my ship had sailed long ago and I considered it to be an impossibility, I never even thought about dancing en pointe! I mean, this was impossible, right? I was already 33! Who in the world learns to dance en pointe in their mid-30s?! It takes about three to five years to build the strength and technique needed in ballet before learning to dance in pointe shoes, and I had been dancing for less than one year! I dismissed the idea as mostly crazy until another friend in class asked the same question just a couple months later. I was so surprised! She suggested I ask our teacher about it. “You know, I’ve been thinking about you for pointe,” our teacher said when I asked her. Suddenly, it was becoming very clear that my once impossible dream was becoming a very possible reality. On November 4, 2019, I stepped into my dream in my first pair of pointe shoes. I was soaring! A mountain of defeat was conquered and I received a promotion from God. He gave me the name “Overcomer.”
My mountaintop moment didn’t last long. I faced a new world of challenges. It’s hard to keep your eyes on your own lane when girls half your age are whizzing past you. It’s humbling. My body is not as young as it once was. To keep myself from giving up, I reminded myself I have an audience of ONE and he is well pleased with me. Though the coronavirus has put a pause on my progress, it has not dampened my passion or determination. As soon as I can get back in the studio, I plan to regain the lost ground and far surpass where I had been. Now I know the secret to overcoming all obstacles: Christ Jesus is all I need.
How about you? Are there some childhood dreams you have buried under the burdens of life or long forgotten passions waiting to be rekindled? I encourage you to search your own heart and soul and ask yourself this question. You may be surprised at what comes up. Please don’t dismiss it as foolish, stupid or childish. Allow yourself permission to think on it and ask, “What if?” Of course, I am not endorsing you to make immoral decisions… like robbing a bank! There are good dreams and desires God deposited in your heart. Let’s mine those! Perhaps you wanted to travel, heal the sick, learn to paint, build a house, start your own business, give to those in need, go scuba diving, invent a new technology, climb mountains, design your own clothing line and so on. Now listen carefully to what I’m about to tell you… NOW is the TIME to DREAM again! NOW is the TIME to BELIEVE again! It does not matter how many times you’ve tried and failed or faced disappointment after disappointment. Today is a new day that God has made and he has good plans for you! I believe with all my heart that God wants to fulfill your dreams in this new era, the era called “Anything is Possible!” That’s right, literally anything! Is anything too hard for our God? He is still a creator and we are made in his image, so we are co-creators with him. What a glorious privilege! Join me friends, and let’s discover what it means to be Overcomers together.