But to find your voice can be dangerous because you have to choose things and take risks and speak.
Kathy Khang, Morethanservingtea.com
Let’s get real for a second.
All of this “follow your dreams” stuff looks really easy on paper.
“Own your voice,” I chirp like Mary Poppins. “Write down your goals, and pursue them! The world needs your gifts! So get going: spit spot!”
But talking about dreams without acknowledging how colossally hard pursuing them is does us all a disservice.
If it were as easy as writing down a goal and following through, all of us would be out there already, using our gifts.
Let me be clear: I think owning your voice and calling is important. I think you can do it.
But I need to be honest about the roadblocks. I think we need to be prepared for the pushback.
Because if I know anything about this world, it’s that there always be pushback on any important, compassionate, God-called work.
Stephan Pressfield calls it resistance. A therapist might call it self-sabotage or undermining. A preacher might call it the powers of darkness.
I call it inevitable.
Kathy Khang wrote the quote I led with last year. She was speaking about secret ambition. She’d wanted to be a speaker at conference for years, but kept that ambition (mostly) secret to herself and others. When given the opportunity to speak, she felt both thrilled and terrified.
Kathy Khang is a leader in Intervarsity, out in public about about the difficult issue of racial reconciliation. She gives interviews on difficult topics. She’s written a book, for God’s sake.
And she has trouble speaking her dreams aloud?
Please, don’t shame yourself for being afraid. You’re not the only one. We all are. Every. One. Of. Us.
We all have dreams we’re secretly imagining. A book contract. A catering business. Freedom from addiction, brokenness, bad habits. A trip to Madagascar. A job serving the homeless. A renewed relationship. We all feel too big for our britches when we dream these things. And the longing just kills us.
Here’s what I hate about New Year’s resolutions. They’re too easy. They’re too easy to say, and not do. It’s too easy to think vague thoughts and not follow through.
I think it’s healthier and saner to avoid making promises we won’t keep.
Better to not do it, if you’re not sure you want to take it seriously. Better to let it go and know that you won’t look back on them knowing you let yourself down.
Let yourself off from the hook if you’re not ready. If you’re not ready to do something, then admit it, own it, and give thanks for the freedom that no brings. That itself has more power than any amount of half-hearted resolving.
It is dangerous to start following through. It is dangerous—exhilarating—powerful—to own up to the things you’d really like to do with your life.
But if you’re not ready, it’s okay.
It’s worth the risk. But it’s not worth shaming yourself. And I believe this: eventually, you will be ready. And you’ll be ready sooner if you’re kind to yourself, always and forever.