I’m in New Zealand at the moment, drinking a Flat White, eating a lemon-blueberry muffin, with my camera on my right, my journal and book in front of me, and my sweets on the left. There are conversations happening all around me, and the sweet waitresses are serving us to the best of their ability with a smile and timeliness. Behind all this is a lake so blue my heart leaps when I look at it. Hugging the lake are mountains so green that I could have stared at the pair for hours. The green, the blues, the sailboats that I forgot to mention, and then there’s me, and my heart, and it’s filled with joy, but it also is stirred with sadness. And this is the reality of the other side. This is what most people don’t see. This is what I constantly know but typically hide. This is my day to day life of being halfway across the world trusting in my living dream.
You would think that living on the other side of the world would be this huge self-discovery of the purpose you have in life, especially when it’s in Sydney, Australia. What a dream! But here’s the thing, here’s the truth, it’s not so easy. Yes I love new people, I love new places, and I love adventures. But I also deeply love what I have left behind. And also.. I kind of am not besties with change. I miss my best friends every day. I wish I could drive over to Hope’s and have her prepare me a delicious latte again. I wish I could have a sleepover again with Nat and Abs talking about girly stuff while laughing uncontrollably. I wish I could eat at Gabby’s kitchen again the delicious chocolate chip banana bread that was to die for. I wish I could have an encouraging, but let’s be real, super challenging talk with Emily while we people watched every single person. Or to go do something fun and spontaneous with Katie. Or to be in Washington with my childhood best friend, Beth, and her beautiful daughter. To show Brendan every song I write, to jump on trains with Alexx, to thrift shop with Hil, to do Pinteresty things with Linds, to eat cupcakes with Becky, to go to Sephora with my momma. What I’m saying is, I have a lot of best friends that I miss every single day, and I’m thousand of miles away from them all. Yes I’ve made new friends. Yes I’ve made new memories. But it is still different, and it still somewhat sucks sometimes.
I wake up every day so blessed. I serve at the most incredible church in the world, aka Hillsong, I have a job as a lifeguard that is super HOT, and I have lived with some of the most incredible housemates for the past 5 months. To say I’m blessed is an understatement, but it doesn’t mean that my heart hasn’t moved on just yet. People often see the beautiful side of chasing your dream- you see a picture and fill in the gaps of how awesome my life must be comparing it to what your life may be like. But what you don’t see are the nights that I want to cry missing my friends, the days where I’m wondering what in the world am I doing, the moments where I sit down and face myself- alone. It’s uncomfortable being away from the security of your family, the support of your friends, and the possibility of sight-pleasing jobs that could’ve been yours. Let me say, it IS worth it all, chasing your dream and going after what God has placed in your heart. But it also is hard. It may look easy in a picture, but it is risky and vulnerable at its best.
Going after what God has placed within you doesn’t make much sense to the practical thinkers, sounds incredible to the big dreamers, and feels pretty lonely at times to the destiny chasers. Because it doesn’t just fall in your lap when you land on the runway of your dream. It’s almost like you left a book of your life behind in the country you left and have a fresh new one before you with new characters, new scenery, and well, no influence. Who knows me in this new season? Like really knows me? Jesus. That’s about it at the moment. And so this is what I’ve learned in wandering the wilderness of my dreams:
- In the confusion, keep being faithful. // I just keep going after what I’m passionate about in my heart when my reality mocks my sight. But God is good, and He is faithful, so I will continually be faithful for his goodness pursues me.
- God is as purposeful when He speaks as intentional with who He speaks to.// It’s not like He whispered to the wrong person at the wrong time. It’s just that when it comes to trusting with what He has spoken, I also have to trust the timing of when I’ll see it start to come to pass, which may be a distance away from what is expected.
- As nobility cannot be given until nobility is received, so it is the same with grace, kindness, and love. // Wandering after my dreams in the wild means it’s easy for my thoughts to run wild. In the wilderness it’s easy to act on your flesh, to listen to selfish thoughts, to stay in isolation, to have self-pity parties every so often when you’re tired. But that has nothing to do with others. In the wilderness, I’m not alone. I must look to Jesus constantly, be kind to myself when my thoughts aren’t so pretty, and then with that be kind to others who are in the same hard journey as myself.
- Those who are the most afraid become the boldest. // Fear is a real thing when you’re deep in the forest. I have all the what if’s and impossible doubts accompanying me. That’s where I realize and take hold of the authority God has given me to quiet them, which often involves taking boldness to stand up against them.
- You can rest because He is king and you are royal. // The wandering isn’t always about the going. Rest is actually required. We can so easily try to rush into our own wills rather than trusting His will for us. But because He is king, I still have His authority to use in the wilderness, but I also must break the mindset that I’m doing it all alone. I often remind myself I can rest because He is still acting on my behalf, watching over me, and going before me, even if I can’t see it.
It is a dream being on the other side, but the things about dreams is that usually you wake up to your comfort. When the reality of living a dream is that I don’t wake up to that, I wake up to the reality of my risk that I chose. And I don’t regret it, but sometimes it’s hard grasping everything that’s happening. So I’ve stopped. I’ve stopped trying to understand everything that’s happening, and I choose to trust Jesus– with everything, holding nothing back. I trust Him with my family and friends back home that I can’t comfort, I trust Him with the longing in my heart of marrying the prince of my dreams that didn’t greet me at the airport, I trust Him with the money that is in tight supply when I have rent and food to pay for in the chasing. (Who would have thought there was baggage you needed to carry on a dream chase? It’s a minor detail to consider.) But here I am. Giving Australia a chance, because it may become my home. But it could also be a temporary dream? The thing about chasing is that I never know what could happen next. I just have to keep being faithful with where I am trusting that Jesus has me where I am at for a purpose and that the purpose will be way way beyond me for His glory.