My dreams are not up for debate

This past month I've been watching the Olympics, or at least catching a few minutes of it while I'm at the gym. Watching strong, competitive, and fierce athletes doing what they love (and being pretty darn good at it), is so inspiring. I wonder if people ever told them they can't become a professional athlete, or that they'll never make it to the Olympics. And if there were such people, what would have happened if they believed them. Can you imagine? 

This thought has made me reflect on my own dreams. 

During my sophomore year in college, I thought about pursuing law. I purchased LSAT study guides and would study on my free time. It was hard, without a doubt and the questions gave me headaches from thinking so hard. But defending people who are unable to defend themselves sounded awesome. When I told someone that I was interested in pursuing law, they said they couldn't see me becoming a lawyer. In their eyes, I wasn't aggressive enough. I was too nice.

I started doubting myself. And eventually, I stopped studying for the LSATs all together. By no means am I saying I want to be a lawyer, or that it was a lifelong dream of mine. However, it was a dream and for a short moment, I believed in myself.

On a different occasion, I called myself a runner. I was running every day and my endurance grew a lot. When I told someone "I'm a runner," they sort of laughed at me. Like "You? A runner? Ha." Again, I believed them. I thought "Yeah, I'm not a runner. I don't run ten miles a day. Who am I kidding? I simply enjoy running." 

If I could go back in time and speak to my younger self, this is what I'd say: 

"Sarah. Stop believing every word that comes out of people's mouths. If you have a dream, pursue it. Fight for it. And don't let anyone stop you. Some people will always doubt you. And one person's opinion can change everything. You may begin to doubt your abilities, strengths, and purpose, and a little voice will tell you you can't do something. If or when this happens, shut it down. Because your dreams aren't up for debate."


Philippians 4:13:

I can do all through Him who gives me strength.

Embracing Loneliness

 

As I reflect on past relationships and friendships, I entered and stayed in a lot of them out of fear that I'd have no one. No one to go out with on Friday nights, no Fourth of July plans, no kiss on New Years. Until recently, I've never been comfortable with loneliness. Going to the movie theater by myself? Love it. A million times yes. But loneliness? Meh. 

I've come to learn and accept that loneliness is a part of life, and it's okay. It takes time to develop authentic friendships, and I'm no longer forcing them. My mentality with friendship is becoming "Quality over quantity," and I'm intentional with who I spend my time with (The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. - Proverbs 12:26). This has become so important.

God places us in seasons for a specific reason. And a season of loneliness can produce fruit in our lives. I'm learning to embrace this season rather than fear it. If and when I feel lonely, I have faith that I'll be okay, because God is my refuge.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.
— Ecclesiastes 3:1