Doing the Extraordinary

Everyone has dreams. At some point we may want to be a ballerina or a firefighter. Our dreams often change with maturity or awareness of the world. For example, I used to want to walk on the rings of Saturn. How disappointed I was when one of my big brothers or sisters explained that this would be impossible because Saturn is made out of gas. But that didn’t stop me from wanting to visit the moon.

Sometimes people stop dreaming because they’re afraid. The dreams seem like a waste because they’ll never come true. But the truth is, you can make your own reality.

When you choose to do something hard, there will be more obstacles than you ever realized. When you choose to go against the status quo, there will be a thousand reasons not to go through with it. People will discourage you. Circumstances will discourage you. Change is hard. It sometimes seems impossible. The trick is to find the one reason to go through with it, the one reason why it matters, the reason that will pull you back up when the world pushes you down.

A few years ago, with the help of my uber-supportive husband, I returned to BYU. I took two years and finished my bachelor’s degree. I found something I am good at, something I enjoy, something that will enable me to support my family, and I worked and fought and did well enough to get the internships I needed to get a job outside of the student bubble. I am still in the beginning, so I don’t know how this story ends, but I know that I’m doing what I could never have done if I hadn’t taken a huge leap of faith.

There are so many other things I’ve wanted to do, things that I’ve been afraid to do or that I’ve felt incapable of doing, things that just seem too big. I’ve never had much capacity to do anything athletic. But I realized several years ago I would like to run a marathon someday. I have found that running is one thing I can do that doesn’t require the coordination I lack, such as batting a ball or catching anything or thinking as a team member on the spot (I am the one that runs in the wrong direction). And now that I’ve discovered the Couch to 5k app on my phone, I find that I can push myself to run more and harder when someone who knows what they’re doing programs my phone to tell me when to run and when to walk. There are people who think I’m weird or crazy, but when you choose to do the hard thing, to do the extraordinary, people are going to think you’re weird or crazy.

I still have plenty of things left on my bucket list that I have no idea when I’ll approach them. I would like to really get into hiking and meet some kind of crazy goal. I would like to learn to rock climb. I would like to jump out of a plane, just once, with a parachute on my back. I would like to ride in a hot air balloon. I would like to really learn to swim, well enough to learn to snorkel and scuba dive. And yes, I would still like to go to the moon. I don’t know when all this will happen. Right now it’s all I can do to raise my family, work 40 hours a week, and train to be a runner. I hope to get back into my music–not just singing on Sundays, but playing the piano and writing and arranging music. That’s another one of my dreams that I set aside to do what I’m doing now.

So how do we do everything? How do we hold on to every dream and not let go of others? I have no idea. I do know that there is a time and a season for everything and that we are mortal. The best we can do is live every day as if it were our last and trust that the Lord will lead us in the best direction for us right now. But we must also be willing to do the impossible if we really want to live our dreams, not only when we’re commanded to but also when we have a dream to make come true. As long as it’s a righteous desire, I believe the Lord will help us with that kind of impossible too. We were born to be extraordinary, after all.

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