In Others’ Word: Looking for Proof

Dream Temptation Holley Gerth 2014

I may have mentioned this  before, so forgive me if I’m repeating myself.

Back when my first book released — my nonfiction book about late-in-life motherhood, not my debut novel — I had this thought: Maybe, just maybe, this will prove my value to them.

Now you don’t need to know who made up “them.” All you need to know is that I turned my dream into some sort of virtual measuring stick — and offered it to someone and asked, “Do I measure up now?”

I didn’t ask the question out loud — I wasn’t that desperate. But I did wait to see what “they” said — or didn’t say –about my book because they’re reactions were going to validate me.

But God doesn’t grant our dreams only to stand back and watch us sacrifice them on some altar dedicated to others’ approval.

Dreams, as Holley Gerth so wisely says, aren’t about us. God doesn’t birth a dream inside of me or you and say, “Here, I hope you feel better about yourself now.”

No.

God wants us to steep ourselves in his love so that we know that we are accepted, we are valued, we are loved — dream come true or not.

The challenge? Knowing who you are — and the value of your dream — no matter what they say … or don’t say.

In Your Words: How do you keep your dreams from becoming a virtual measuring stick, using your successes to evaluate your worth? Any tips for not letting dreams become about us?

 

 

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14 Comments

  1. June 18, 2014, 12:45 am   /  Reply

    I have a way, but I wouldn’t recommend it. (And I apologize in advance for the length of this comment.)

    Fairly early in life, I decided – consciously – to be an iconoclast. If I could get away with something guaranteed to irritate both my peers and those in authority, I did it. High school chem lab was NOT a safe place while I was in residence.

    I wanted to not care what anyone thought, and that’s what happened. It helped that I was physically imposing and somewhat unpredictable; no one really crossed me. But they didn’t like me, either.

    But that had a downside, as well, because it wedged me, slowly but surely, away from my own humanity. I didn’t care what anyone thought…and I didn’t care what I thought, either. I didn’t have a ‘compass of community’, and in the isolation thus engendered I sought activities (like free-climbing 400-ft shale beach cliffs) that could kill me.

    One almost did. I cut powerlines carrying 250,000 volts with a low-flying airplane. It was an interesting experience, as the impact left the airplane still flying – but it cut my throat. Landing was a challenge.

    So, yeah, don’t try that at home. Please.

    A better way is to build a small community of like-minded individuals around your dream. If you write romances, don’t try to sell that dream to guys and gals who begin the day with Barron’s and end it with the WSJ. Don’t try to ‘prove’ your dream through evangelization. Let it drift to its own level.

    Do this, and you’ll have a place to go to refresh your soul when things seem doubtful…while refreshing other souls with the clarity of your dream.

    • June 18, 2014, 6:57 am   /  Reply

      Andrew, Andrew, Andrew …
      the more I glimpse your story, the more I think, “Who is this guy?”
      (and I think that in a good way)

      Favorite part of your post:
      ” … build a small community of like-minded individuals around your dream.”
      I call this my “safety net.”
      We all need this because, as you say, we all need a place to go “to refresh [our souls] when things seem doubtful …”

    • June 18, 2014, 9:05 am   /  Reply

      Ditto what Beth said, Andrew! You’ve led such an interesting life and have perspectives that make me stop and think. And I loved what you said about building a community with like minded individuals. Such good words there.

  2. June 18, 2014, 8:35 am   /  Reply

    This is a difficult one! One of the mantras I’ve been repeating to myself this year is, I am enough. I also love what Andrew wrote above, “Let it drift to its own level.”
    🙂

    • June 18, 2014, 2:53 pm   /  Reply

      Some things–some truths–have to be repeated often.
      One of mine is: God is for me.

  3. June 18, 2014, 9:07 am   /  Reply

    Beth, I loved this post. I’ve struggled with trying to be enough for others, people who would always find me lacking. When God really kindled a flame under my dream to write, He opened my eyes about dreams. This particular dream, more than any other, has pushed me into greater dependence on Him. Learning to look to Him for affirmation as I pursue this dream has been challenging, but it’s also given me great peace about who He’s created me to be.

    • June 18, 2014, 2:54 pm   /  Reply

      Agreed, Jeanne. The writing dream demands that we put ourselves out there for public evaluation — at times it feels like public consumption.
      All the more reason to abandon the virtual measuring stick.

  4. June 18, 2014, 9:17 am   /  Reply

    It’s really hard not to have those feelings, especially when it’s someone you can never please. But it’s also a waste of time, because you can’t change who they are. And they are going to continue to be unpleasable. (if that’s a word) I have a few (and only a few) people like that in my life, and now that I can, I steer clear of them. God calls us to love those who hate us, but he doesn’t call us to be around them. 🙂

    • June 18, 2014, 2:55 pm   /  Reply

      Sometimes “steering clear” is the only wise choose, Pat.

  5. June 18, 2014, 11:32 am   /  Reply

    Your posts are always inspiring, Beth. Thank you for the reminder that ‘our dreams aren’t about us — and that we’re loved, dream come true or not.’ Praise God.

    • June 18, 2014, 2:55 pm   /  Reply

      Thank you for those encoring words, Kathy.
      🙂

  6. Terri Tiffany
    June 19, 2014, 6:30 am   /  Reply

    such timely advice for me. I have been feeling the same way as my book comes out. thank you.

    • June 19, 2014, 4:29 pm   /  Reply

      So glad you were encouraged, Terri! Excited for you!

  7. Colleen Thorsen
    June 19, 2014, 3:33 pm   /  Reply

    What a great reflection! I just had a conversation about this topic this morning (with Steve as we move like a bullet train towards military retirement). How do we glorify God in moving forward towards our dreams of the future? We move forward remembering who we are in Christ, and resting in the confidence that he plants dreams in our hearts. Thanks for the wonderful post.

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