Conversations with Friends: On Dreams and “Settling”


Recently, a friend and I were talking about creativity and dreams. She mentioned the idea that it might be “settling” (a term we use to use) if we didn’t accomplish our dreams. While we were once taught that it was failure not to live our dreams, life just isn’t that predictable and God won’t magically make it happen. Also, sometimes unpredictable things happen in life and we can’t do anything about that. Regardless of whether we are living our “dreams” or living a different dream, we’re not settling. We’re living a beautiful life. My conversation with her inspired this (I did make some minor edits before posting it here to remove any identifying elements). 

On Dreams and “Settling”

We once were taught that if you dream it, God will provide it. The simple fact of the matter is that’s a horribly wrong way of thinking. Not a single thing will happen unless we make it happen and work our asses off until we can’t work anymore. We get ideas and dreams and goals and we should go for them…but sometimes they change (we change our minds or other times we’re given different opportunities). We have to be flexible because sometimes we’ll find that we’re really great at something we didn’t think we would be and we enjoy it. For example, I set out to be a writer and now I’m a blogger who has other opportunities in front of me. I still want to write a book but I’m going to definitely try my hand at other creative ventures because it makes me feel alive.

I get rejected all the time with writing. All writers do. Sometimes I’m deeply discouraged when my writing is rejected but that doesn’t mean I’m not a writer. I think that if you set out to achieve your dreams in any way, you definitely won’t be settling if they don’t happen the way you wanted them to. Life isn’t predictable and neither are our dreams. The world is a competitive place for creative people and things don’t always work out as planned. If I spent all my life trying to write and publish and “failed”, I wouldn’t consider it a failure. I would consider it brave that I tried.

(On a related note: A lot of my readers have children and sometimes talk to me about it being increasingly difficult to try to live their dreams. In many ways, it’s much tougher but not impossible. I know what it’s like to have to support yourself and try to be creative when you’re exhausted. It’s not easy to do but try to step back and think of little ways you can be creative. Maybe it’s something you dream about while the kids are little and can start working towards slowly when they’re a little older. Maybe you won’t get the chance until your kids move out of the house. That doesn’t mean you’re “settling” or any less creative. It just means that you’re a mom or dad right now, and as you know that’s a pretty incredible feeling. Enjoy it, but don’t be afraid to dream.)