Dreams. Do you have any? Did you dream big dreams when you were young, but now you’ve put those dreams aside?
I had forgotten how to dream. Then one day I began to dream again. It changed my life.
I attended a conference several years ago where the keynote speaker asked us a question. “Are you a dream maker or a dream breaker?” I thought I was a dream maker. I encouraged my husband in his dreams. I encouraged my children in their dreams. But I had stopped dreaming for myself. Not consciously, of course. I worked full time as a teacher. I had three children still at home. I was the wife of a pastor of a small, but growing church. I was busy. Very busy. Probably too busy. I often found myself feeling tired, overwhelmed, and uninspired. My life had settled into a pattern of doing what I needed to do, not necessarily what I wanted to do.
So, here I was at this conference listening to a man challenge me to write down my dreams. Anything that I thought, “Hmmm, one day I’d like to……”, “I’ve always wanted to……..”, “If I could do anything I wanted to do I’d……………..”. I was to write them down, look over my list, and choose one or two to begin implementing.
I was excited to begin as soon as I got home. Once my list was complete I noticed that I had lots of creative things written down. I realized that I’d been suppressing my creative talents in order to focus on the tasks at hand. The immediate things. The daily things. The boring, almost brainless things. No wonder I was feeling so uninspired!
My quest to become a dream maker in my own life had begun! My husband was initially a bit terrified by the idea, I think. It’s not that he didn’t want my dreams to come true, he did. He just didn’t know the direction my quest would take me. I was rocking the boat a bit.
I want to address this issue for a minute. Rocking the boat. It is my assertion that women are very good at supporting and encouraging other people’s dreams and suppressing their own. We consciously choose to put our dreams aside so that we can concentrate on our husbands or our children. Years may pass without any thought to our own hopes and dreams, even as we encourage our children to try out for the soccer team or our husbands to go back to college to pursue their Masters Degree.
I had always wanted to act in a community theatre production. With much fear and trembling I auditioned for a local theatre and much to my amazement I landed a lead role! Yay me!
I was over the moon. My husband not so much. His fears were that over the course of those next 10 weeks (6 weeks of rehearsals and 4 weeks of performances) I would abdicate all of my responsibilities at home and he would not only have to do his job, but pick up my slack as well. He was also afraid that I would come home exhausted since I would work all day, rush home to fix a quick dinner for the him and the kids, and then rush back out to rehearsals till late in the evening. He thought that meant he would be forced into a state of unwanted celibacy for 10 long weeks because all of my energies would be used up on everything else but him.
I can understand his fears. He wasn’t being selfish (well, maybe a bit). He just liked things the way they were, and had always been. He didn’t want his boat rocked.
Much to his surprised delight I came home from rehearsals energized and excited rather than worn out. I was enthusiastic. I was full of the joy of accomplishing a long held dream. My zest for life was overflowing and he became the recipient of a lot of that zest, if you catch my drift. He quickly realized his fears were unfounded. He now is my biggest dream maker. I’ve been steadily working my way through my list. He is working his way through his own list, too.
So husbands. Listen up. Support your wife in her dreams. Make it your goal to become her cheerleader, her dream maker. Encourage her to dream. Big dreams. Small dreams. It doesn’t matter. Watch the spark return to her eyes. Watch the spring return to her step. Listen to the easy laughter bubbling up from the joy that comes from feeling fulfilled and inspired.
You may find you share common dreams. Be bold. Dream together. Then go out and make those dreams come true!