I’ve been reading a lot of posts lately on following your dreams and all of the wonderful reasons you should do so. Like this one, this one, and this one. I love these posts. They are so inspiring. And most of them mesh pretty well with where my life is at right now. After spending several years at home with my young kids, they are now all in school full-time and I am finally able to get back into some of the things I love to do. Like writing, for example.
But as great as these posts are I’m still not totally convinced that following your dreams is the best advice. Mainly because of one big problem.
It’s not very practical.
Or, at least, it is sometimes. But not for everyone, all the time.
Personally, making the decisions to have children and then quit my job in order to stay home with them were good things that I felt were important in my life at the time. But it meant that other things I wanted to do, dreams of mine that involved taking time, money, or my focus away from my family were not possible for me for a long time. Maybe other women with young children could manage in their specific situations to follow their specific dreams, but for me at that time in my life it didn’t work well at all.
This is why I have never been a fan of bucket lists. They are supposed to be an inspiring list of things you want to do in your lifetime. Climb a mountain! Write a novel! Make a million dollars! But for me, a bucket list merely represents all of the things I should be doing instead of what I am doing right now. Let’s face it, some days are not “bucket list” days. And, in reality, many people in their lives will never be able to achieve all of the things on their lists for various reasons. Work, health, family or many other responsibilities can prevent you from accomplishing the things on your dream list before you “kick the bucket.”
Is it a bad thing to never be able to check off the things on your bucket list? I don’t think so. Because maybe instead of backpacking across Europe you were busy helping a sick relative, encouraging a friend, supporting your family, or even just taking a much needed break from all the things you should be doing.
It’s a great thing to have dreams, plans, and goals in your life. These things are helpful and in many cases, wise. But if you focus solely on dreams then you might just miss something that’s right in front of your face. And to top it off, you might end up with a big list of things you’ve never managed to do in your life. Your bucket list can easily become a list of disappointments.
If you do find yourself in a position to follow one of your dreams, meaning you have the tools and the ability to do what you want to do, then by all means go for it. I completely believe that God gives us specific talents and desires that He wants us to use in order to glorify Him. So, for example, if you want to sing or teach or build houses, and the time is right for you, then do it and honour God, yourself, and other people in doing so.
But if you are not able to do it right now. That’s okay, too.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
And if you are never able to do the things you want to do, take a look at the things you did do. Maybe you didn’t become a famous musician like you always wanted to. Maybe you didn’t quit that stressful job, buy a boat, and sail away but instead worked until retirement and spent the boat money on your kids’ education. But maybe, while your bucket list was shoved unwillingly underneath your to-do list, you ended up doing the very things you were meant to do. The things that were, in the end, the best for you and the people around you and that glorified God more than whatever it is that you had planned.
That’s a great dream to have fulfilled.
DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS? DO YOU HAVE A BUCKET LIST OF THINGS YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH IN YOUR LIFE? WHY OR WHY NOT?