Tag Archive | purpose

Write On: Redirecting My Focus after “Listening” to My Circumstances

People often thank me for the transparency that I express in my writing. I don’t know any other way to be— I keep it all the way REAL (sometime a little too real)—and that certainly translates into my writing. I think that anyone who writes or does any type of artistic expression needs to know that being transparent in your craft allows you to connect with your audience in a very tangible way. I enjoy connecting with people this way and I hope people enjoy reading it.

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I’ve been on a path to become a writer my whole life. I was nine years old when I wrote an award-winning essay. Since then, every choice that I’ve made has been strategic in utilizing my writing skills. I did all the right things to align my passion for writing with a fail-proof career trajectory that would (in theory) lead me to the pot of gold known as success. I majored in English, continued to strengthen my writing skills, completed writing-focused internships, graduated with a master’s in communication, and landed a job in communications.

I thought this was the path that I needed to take. When I came to D.C., I had grandiose dreams of excelling in communications. Sadly, that has not happened. I’ve actually realize that this field is not foe me: I don’t enjoy talking to reporters, I am not good at writing press releases, and it’s too stressful for words. I’m competent in communications, but certainly not exceptional. It took me along time to realize that. I tried to force it for almost five years. I had a come-to-Jesus-moment when I realized that communications may not be my calling, but there are other areas where my gifts flourish. I think it was really hard for me to accept that because I have this self-imposed pressure that I need to be good at everything. I had to realize that sometimes I’m going to be mediocre at some things and exceptional at others. Trying to be good at things that don’t come naturally is exhausting—you can’t force it. If you continue to try to force it then it will make you a very unhappy person. Trust me. 😉

So now what? After soul-searching, crying, praying, talking with friends and mentors, complaining, crying, panicking, crying (did I mention crying?) I went back to the basics: writing. I LOVE writing. I experience real joy when I write. It comes naturally to me. I’ve “stumbled upon” so many writing opportunities. I’ve randomly pitched publications and been picked up. I’ve received countless writing opportunities through social media. I never set out to be published, but it just happened.

It seems that my circumstances have been trying to tell me something all along, but I was trying to prosper and advance in something that I’m not meant to do. I’m meant to write. I love engaging topics that I’m passionate about through my writing, being analytical, spreading awareness about albinism, etc. Thankfully, I have not been neglecting my gift even though I was trying to advance in communications. I thought it was the only way to utilize my skills, but now it’s clear that there are other ways. I don’t regret my years working in communications. I’ve acquired great skills that I use often and that are transferable to other areas, but I’m definitely happy to no longer pursue opportunities in this area.

I’m still working on figuring out this “writing thing” as a profit-making career. I know I’ll probably need to work a day job as I pursue this and I’m fine with that. Along this journey, I’ve also found that I enjoy event planning. So I’m making several leaps at the same time, but I’m not scared. The good thing about this “writing thing” is that it has taught me to become fearless.

Questions to ponder: What are your circumstances telling you? Where are your gifts leading you? What dream did you abandon to realize your real purpose?

Dream Chasin’: Lessons From the Dream Giver

Phew! It’s been a busy start to 2013! I have so many things on my plate: pending transition, completing my certificate in event management, job searching, making time for friends etc. In addition to those things, I always make time to do something daily toward my dream of being a writer. I’ve written articles, entered two poetry contests, and pitched various publications. I encourage you to do the same and work toward your dream. Take little steps each day that will lead you closer to your BIG DREAM.

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My church small group just finished reading The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson (author of the Prayer of Jabez).  The first part uses an allegorical account of a Nobody named Ordinary from the land of Familiar. He breaks through his Comfort Zone in search of his Big Dream in the Promise Land. In the second half of the book, Wilkinson serves as the reader’s dream coach where he answers individual’s questions relating to their struggles as they pursue their dreams. Wow.

This book is amazing. On a general level, it really brings to light the struggle that we as humans face as we pursue our God-given dreams.   These dreams are all relative – some desire to be an activist traveling the world on behalf of a particular cause. Others desire to raise a family (both are certainly valuable and have their place in society).

Whether or not the person decides to pursue these desires or dreams is an individual choice. Many people feel trapped by their current circumstances or have families so they do what’s necessary to make ends meet. The book addresses the fear and anxiety of stepping out on faith and chasing your dream.

This book was life-changing because it allowed me to re-think how I perceive and pursue my dreams. Here are a few things that I gained from the book:

1.    The Dream Giver (God) asks for Ordinary to give his dream back to Him. I know you’re wondering why God would want us to submit our dream when He is the one who gives us the dream in the first place. It’s definitely a choice – God doesn’t pressure us. God wants us to submit our dreams to Him so He knows where we stand. Will we worship our dream or Him? I think sometimes we unintentionally make our dream an idol. It’s okay to really want to do something but ultimately God cares more about our relationship than even our dream.  Secondly, I think God wants us to submit our dream because we might think we have a dream but He surpasses the limited view of our dream. He often changes our desires along the journey and gives us back our dream and it’s better than we could ever imagine.

2.    Dreams are mostly about others rather than yourself. We all might have self-serving dreams – that’s okay. In the larger scheme of things, we are meant to have a greater purpose. Our dreams should reflect how we use our God-given talent and gifts to benefit others. We’re contributing to the lives of others and blessing others. In turn, we’re being blessed because we’re able to reach beyond our lives and circumstances. We’re meant to have “outward focusing” ministry and Jesus is the best example of that. How can your talents and gift impact the world or the world around you?

3.    Just because you know your dream doesn’t mean the road to completing it will be easy. In the book, Ordinary journeyed through many places before reaching the Promise Land. First, he broke out of his Comfort Zone. This is often time difficult to do because – well it’s comfortable! We know what to expect and that can cause us to get stuck in life. Ordinary was in search of a better life and he knew he had to start looking beyond his Comfort Zone. Then he went through the Wasteland, which is characterized by doubt and delay. This just emphasized to me that sometimes our dreams won’t instantly appear and we go through a period where we might not see it manifest. During this time, it’s crucial that you keep the faith and push through it. Nothing is a waste in our lives. Romans 8:28 says that all things work together for good for those who are called according to his glory. Then Ordinary ventured into the Sanctuary. This was truly a time of communion between him and the Dream Giver. He washed away all the remnants of the Wasteland and Ordinary set out in search of his Big Dream once again. Finally, Ordinary made it to the Promise Land where his dream manifested. It was better than he could ever imagine. In practical terms, once you set out to pursue your dream, don’t expect to fall into place at one time. It is a process. There will be times when you doubt but forge ahead in pursuit of your dream anyway.

4.    People play important roles in your dreams. On his journey, Ordinary faced different types of people including Border Bullies, which are people who challenged his dream. These Bullies were his family and best friend. They had the best intentions but they still intended to discourage Ordinary from pursuing his dream based on their fears. Ordinary encountered four types of Bullies: The Alarmist “It’s not safe!”), The Traditionalist (“It’s not the way we do it!”), The Defeatist (“It’s not possible”), and the The Antagonist (“I won’t let you”) As you pursue your dream, it’s normal to encounter people who don’t understand or even express negative thoughts about your dream. It’s especially hurtful when these sentiments come from family members. It’s important to keep your dream in mind and how much you want to pursue it in mind during these difficult times when you experience opposition from others. Keep pushing – it’s also necessary to protect your dream by sharing with people who are supportive, but who will also provide constructive criticism.

Ultimately, Ordinary makes it to the Promise Land – it truly surpassed his expectations! It was so much that occurred throughout his journey that it’s impossible to cover in just one article. The lessons learned in this book are essential as you purse your God-given dream. Happy dream chasing!