In January of 2018, I started the finishing touches on my book The Mask; Her Aid. Two months later, I published it in March of 2018. Now, it’s April of 2019 and I’ve spent the last 16 months thinking a lot about dreams and the desires of my heart. One of the reasons it took me so long–five years–to publish my book was because I couldn’t figure out how to write my chapter. When I finally did, it was kind of a wake up call for me. Through my chapter, I realized that a lifelong dream of mine–to have a happy and healthy marriage one day–was greatly motivated by the hurts I’ve received from my parents’ broken marriage. Since realizing that, I’ve thought even more about marriage and relationships than I ever did before and I didn’t even think that was possible! Also, since finishing my book, I’ve thought a lot about my other dreams that involve writing, singing, speaking, and completing things on my bucket list. After publishing my book, my other dreams suddenly didn’t seem so daunting, so I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out which of my dreams are actually dreams I want to pursue and which of my dreams are more like hobbies that I have more fun dreaming about then I ever would actually doing them.
The most pressing of my dreams has been the dream to get married and have kids. My Nanny (maternal grandmother) has written proof that I was thinking about marriage and babies at as young of an age as two-and-a-half. In the past year or so, I’ve been wondering if marriage and babies are really something I want because I want them or if they’ve been something I’ve wanted for ulterior reasons. I’m twenty-five and have been single my whole life, even though I was sure I’d be married with kids by now. Instead, I’ve been sitting at home alone while watching most of my friends and two of siblings get married and have kids. It’s never seemed fair to me, but I’ve also never been able bring myself to want love and babies enough to do anything about it. I’ve never tried to get a boyfriend. I’ve never welcomed the advances of the few guys who have been interested. For me, I despise the idea of dating apps and websites. And, I refuse to go out anywhere just so I can meet someone. Why is that? I thought it was because I was giving my desires to Lord and waiting for Him to bring the right man into my life. While that isn’t entirely incorrect, it also hasn’t been the only or primary reason. Now, that I’ve really thought about it and also talked about relationships and the future with a couple friends for the first time in a while, I’ve realized the truth. Sometimes, dreams change. Sometimes, we dream about something and when the circumstances change or our glasses change from pink to jade, or in my case, jade to pink, we realize the dreams we thought we had aren’t the dreams we really have.
Today, marriage and kids aren’t something I don’t want, but they’re also something I genuinely think I can happily live without. I love kids and I love love, but I don’t have to have an up-close and personal experience with them. I work with kids for a living and I know if I had my own, then I’d be happy, but I also know I much prefer being able to give the kids back when they’re crazy or I’m stressed. And, yeah, I’d like to experience love, but I’m also totally content with just reading love stories, listening to love songs, and writing about love triangles. And, I’m even more content having my own room, my own bed, and my own bathroom that I don’t have to share with anyone else! So, if I never get married and have kids, then that’s fine, because unlike I and everyone else has always thought, mostly because I’ve said and talked about it, marriage and babies are no longer my dream or goal. I’m sure they’d make me happy if I got them, but I’m also sure I don’t have to have them and to me, that’s what a dream is. A dream is something you have to have or you won’t be satisfied (outside of being fulfilled and satisfied through Jesus Christ).
In addition to thinking about love and babies, I’ve thought about a lot of my other dreams and goals as well. I’ve thought about what I want to make priorities in my life and what I’m okay with having as hobbies. These thoughts all came to a head a few weeks ago when I was listening to the podcast “Just Between Us” with Bailee Madison and Kaitlin Vilasuso. On this episode, they had former teen heartthrob, Chad Michael Murray, as a guest, and yes, my fangirl heart did skip a few beats and scream in excitement! While on the show, CMM said something so simple, it felt profound.
The girls asked him the typical showbusiness question, “What advice would you give someone starting off in the business, or anywhere really?”
Chad answered, “Dedicate at least two hours of every day into your craft.” He went on to say that it doesn’t have to specifically be doing that thing. It could be studying other people’s work, it could be listening to podcasts for inspiration, or it could be doing the thing. He also encouraged that if you can’t do two hours, then just start with a simple daily goal and build from there.
Since then, I’ve tried my own version of that advice. Because I’m such a passionate and intense person, I have A LOT of things I want to do with my life, so I’ve tried to dedicated at least two hours of every day into anything I want to prioritize. Most days those two hours are broken down into varying time slots for different things.
One of the things I’ve really been wanting to prioritize has been reading. Not only is it fun to do while giving me an escape from the stresses of life, it also has the added bonus of giving me inspiration for my own writing which is a major dream of mine. Now that I’ve published one book, my most daunting dream in life is the finish the three fiction series’ I’ve been writing since high school and continue from there. Most of the time, I write the most for these books when I’ve been spending time reading, because reading opens up the floodgates of my creative mind.
Three other things I’ve wanted to prioritize have been writing and recording music, recording and posting podcast episodes, and regularly posting blog entries. My biggest dream, and the reason why I write, is to inspire and influence other people for the kingdom of God. I know the best way for me to do that is by sharing my story, because when I do, then I can share and show how awesome God is. I shared my story in my book The Mask; Her Aid, but it only shared bits and pieces of my vulnerable past. With my music and podcast, I can continue to transparently share about my broken and beautiful present. When I write songs, I’m at my most vulnerable. My songs are my heart’s cry to the Lord for myself or for others. When I speak, my tongue has free reign to use its full power. When I harness that power and use it through sources like a podcast, then I can share the Light and Love of Jesus Christ with others by being transparent and vulnerable about where I am in the moment. Even if no one else hears it, then at least I know I’ve been honest with myself and with God. As I’ve worked out the kinks in starting a podcast, I’ve realized that I can use it not only to share my story, but also to share my music and as I share my music, I can use my podcast as a way to improve my skills as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist. If I never become famous or record an album, then that will be fine, but if I never improve the skills and talents and desires God has given me, then that won’t be fine. So, I plan to use my podcast and my YouTube channel to force myself to improve on singing, songwriting, and playing instruments. Otherwise, I might as well get rid of my instruments and stop singing all together, because I don’t use them when I feel like I’m not improving. The same of my podcast is true of my blog, I can use my words to positively impact the world with the Light and Love of Jesus Christ. That’s why I plan to make weekly posts for each one. Podcasts on Sundays, music on Mondays, and blog posts on Wednesdays!
In the past several months, I’ve worked on checking off dreams from my bucket list by either doing or planning to do the things I’ve wanted for so long to do. As a kid, it was a dream of mine, and still sort of secretly is, to ride dirt bikes and drive a motorcycle. So, I’ve been planning and budgeting for the necessary training and equipment to safely drive and own a motorcycle or dirt bike.
Another dream of mine, for as long as I can remember, has been to own and use a bow and arrow. From Queen Susan the Gentle of Narnia to Princess Mia of The Princess Diaries 2, and from Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games to Oliver Queen as The Green Arrow, I’ve also thought it seemed so cool to shoot a bow and arrows. Last month, I found out it doesn’t cost much to rent equipment and a lane at a range near my house, so I went and did it and it was awesome! I plan to do it every month if not every week until I can afford to buy my own and use it as often as possible!
In middle school, I learned that I love rock climbing when our school went to a place called the Main Event in Austin. Since then, I’ve wanted to join a rock climbing club. I recently found out that I can for so much cheaper than I ever imagined, so I’m saving for that as well.
And, another dream of mine has not only been to be a talented singer, but also to be a talented dancer and actress. If not talented, than at least average. So, I’ve looked up places and prices for lessons and fully intend to take lessons as early as this summer, or whenever I’ve saved the money to do so.
And, finally, a goal of mine for the past few years has been to eat healthy and get in shape so I can wear my old high school t-shirts again. Between pure laziness, various injuries, and the fear of getting hurt again, I’ve spent more time not getting in shape than I’ve spent getting in shape. Then, there’s been the added difficulty of suddenly becoming gluten intolerant a couple years ago and trying to figure out how to navigate my new diet while being low on cash. This year, I’ve finally started eating better, and in only a couple weeks I’m already fitting into half of my old high school shirts again! My waste has shrunk as I’ve been eating healthier and that’s without working out or losing much weight! It’s a dream come true and I haven’t even had to do much to make it happen! I can’t imagine what will happen in the next few weeks and months if I keep up with my new diet and add in some working out once my sprained ankle is completely healed!
Wow! This has been a long post and if you’ve read it all, then I appreciate you so much! I’ve said it all to say that sometimes the desires of our hearts change based on circumstances and revelations, while other times the desires of our hearts stick with us for twenty years and never go away. Sometimes, the desires of our hearts seem too hard to reach until we do reach them and then nothing seems impossible. But most of the time, all the time really, God knows the desires of our hearts and will grant them if they are according to His will! (Psalm 37:4) This means if He hasn’t granted the desires of our hearts, then they’re things we think we want but will one day realize we don’t want, they’re things we’re not quite ready for, or they’re things against God’s will. Whatever the case, we should do our best to be aware that if we’re not getting the desires of our hearts, then there’s a really good reason for it, (or a really bad excuse like laziness) and we need to just let God do His thing so we can live our very best lives without stressing out and blowing up!