I was 18 years old sitting in a recording studio in Winnipeg with my blue guitar in tow and chords and lyrics scribbled on pages in my lap.
It was almost my turn. My palms felt sweaty and I breathed deeply as I got ready to play a couple original songs for the team at the record label for a shot at being the musician for a small team of women that would travel across Canada putting on events for teenage girls.
My name was called.
I don’t know if you have ever performed music, or spoken in front of people before. But if you have, you might be able to agree with me that there is something about performing in front of a small group of people that is utterly terrifying. Put me in front of hundreds of people and bright lights and it almost feels like I can hide in plain site. Put me in front of 3 people and my knees start knocking together. It was no different at that audition.
I’m sure that my fingers were as shaky as my voice. But somehow I managed to get through the songs I prepared and I prayed fervently that the team would see my heart and my talent and that doors would swing wide open.
I had wanted to be a singer/songwriter ever since I was a little girl. My mama encouraged me to put my feelings into songs and that began my love affair with lyrics and melodies. When I have a pen in my hand and guitar in my lap the world gets quiet and I can see everything a little clearer. As a young girl I was pretty confident that if I couldn’t be the next Spice Girl then someone similar to Shania Twain would have to do. I would sing for hours to Dixie Chicks CD’s with our microphone plugged into the karaoke machine, write song lyrics, and watch ‘American Idol’ with wide eyes and seeds of hope in my heart that one day someone would see what I had to offer and would throw the doors open for me.
Only they didn’t.
I was turned down for that spot as a musician.
No real encouragement, or tips for improvement were given. It was just a no.
I was offered the position of handling merchandise and doing administrative tasks instead.
And my 18 year old, dreamer heart was crushed. And not ‘crushed’ like ‘big sighs, with tears and ice-cream’ crushed, but like ‘throw my heart on the pavement and stomp on it’ crushed.
Fast forward over a decade later and I am still picking up the last few pieces off the asphalt. ( Yes, a little bit sad, but unfortunately true.)
Can anyone else remember a moment of significant disappointment where a dream that you had felt crushed? Where you were told that you didn’t fit, weren’t good enough, or didn’t have what it took to do something? Have you ever been overlooked, picked last, or not picked at all?
How did you respond to that?
If you were like me, you may have let that experience splatter pieces of your heart in every which direction and you may still feel a bit disoriented because you haven’t been living with your whole heart intact. (Because some of it still needs to be picked up off the pavement.) Maybe, even unknowingly, you have internalized the message that you received from that moment and agreed with the “no” that was given to you.
And friends, lets not underestimate the power of our agreements. The agreements we make about ourselves, often in the midst of circumstances or words spoken over us, can have a profound impact on how we see ourselves and the choices that we make.
Somewhere along the way I believed that the “no” I received as an 18 year old meant “no” to my dream and “no” to a vital part of who I am.
As Christians, we sometimes have this strange tendency to just sit back and accept circumstances as if all things that happen to us are specifically ordained by God. The danger in this way of thinking is that we can fall into a victim mentality and we can distort who God is and actually steer away from who He made us to be. We sometimes get the idea that if God wanted us to pursue a dream, or do something specific – that all the doors should just fling wide and we should just end up there. But what if this is incredibly far from the truth?
I have been reading Bob Goff’s book “Love Does,” (which is a hilariously inspiring book and you should read it if you haven’t) and I was profoundly impacted by Bob’s story about how he got into law school. I won’t spoil the story for you, but Bob’s reflection on that experience has been stewing in my heart ever since I read his words:
“I once heard somebody say that God had closed a door on an opportunity they had hoped for. But I’ve always wondered if, when we want to do something that we know is right and good, God places that desire deep in our hearts because He wants it for us and it honors Him. Maybe there are times when we think a door has been closed and, instead of misinterpreting the circumstances, God wants us to kick it down.” (Page 44-45 of “Love Does” )
Today I want to call out dreams in you that have been sitting dormant. Dreams that have been splattered across asphalt. Dreams that have been crushed. Dreams that have been replaced. Even dreams that we assumed God had said “no” to because we ran into some closed doors.
Can I give you permission to dream again? (Goodness knows you don’t need my permission, but we tend to be quite awful at giving permission to ourselves!)
What if the very dream that is stirring within you right now, is in fact the very dream that the world needs you pursue?
The very dream that God knitted within you when He made you?
So then. Maybe that closed door didn’t mean a big “NO” to your dream.
Maybe it just meant that you need to get up, brush yourself off, and kick it down.
And friends thinking that it is too late?
Let me remind you that our God is an expert in Redeeming, Restoring, and Re-purposing.
He can redeem lost time, restore shattered hearts, and re-purpose our experiences and perceived failures. If there is a dream still stirring within us and we are brave enough to let it resurface and willing to put in the work, its never too late.
For me? I may not be the next Spice Girl (thank God for that!) but I am inviting God to speak into this dream of singing songs, speaking, and writing again. I am breaking the agreements that I made to the “no’s” that have been spoken over me and I am believing that this dream planted deep within my heart to be a “voice” in this generation – a voice of influence, hope, and invitation to know more of God as we journey through the Holy wild of the joys and pain of this beautiful life.
Lets kick down some doors shall we?
If you are willing to be brave today – I would love for you to leave a comment about a dream that you have that may be stirring within you. I would be privileged to pray for you and your dream. I believe there is power in speaking out and owning our dreams. It can be the first step in our journey to living them out!