I will be the first to say that I am a dreamer. To be an author is to dream. I wouldn’t be running this blog, writing these books, if I didn’t have dreams. I think that dreams are what drive us. But, there are different kinds of dreams. I have short-term dreams, like graduating college, and I have long-term dreams, like being a published author.
Dreaming is easy. It’s implementing those dreams that causes most to stumble and lose their way. Dreams are hard work. And, even still, after our hard work, some dreams still don’t come to fruition. I think that this is one of the hardest parts of being a dreamer. What if, when I work for my dream, it doesn’t happy. Should I even dare to dream?
One of my dreams throughout high school was to go to my dream college. I was so excited to go, and when time to apply came I was ready. In fact, I filled out my application before I even knew how to fill one out. Then came the pain, and I thought I could do it. After that came the nausea, and I began to doubt whether or not I would be able to go to college. Four days before I left for move in day, I received a botox injection that thankfully helped with the nausea. I had been riding all summer, I had prepared for my riding test, and I had even scheduled my evaluation to be placed on the Hunter/Jumper riding team at my college. It seemed like everything had fallen into place, and my dreams were coming true. I had published a book, I had a roommate, and I was going to the perfect college. This was my dream.
As I got around the morning of my evaluation, I was nervous. This was my dream, after all. I wanted to ride competitively for my college, and continue to ride horses while I pursued a degree in Bible-Theology. Everything had to be perfect. Naturally, everything was anything but perfect. I messed up my course, struggled with my horse, and ended up back in my dorm crying. I didn’t make the cut, and it was my fault. All my hard work, all my preparation, and nothing worked. I was stuck in some riding class that I didn’t even want to take, and I couldn’t join the Hunter/Jumper team. But, I kept my head up. I was still going to ride.
Now, I was determined to ride, but unfortunately this didn’t pan out well for me. I struggled to make friends. My roommate was popular, and she spread rumors about me as if we were still in high school. I didn’t know anyone at the barn, and I was ready to transfer. I put in the paperwork to transfer to my second choice school, a place that didn’t have a riding program. And then I saw a sign. Literally, there was a sign asking for people to try out for the Vaulting team at my school. Vaulting is essentially gymnastics on horseback, and although I hadn’t done vaulting since I was 5, I was pretty sure God was calling me to try out.
Tryouts were two weeks long, and during that time I loved making new friends on the team. The coach was okay, but the people on the team were unbelievably nice. I enjoyed the practices, and I really felt like I was where God wanted me. As everything came crashing down with my roommate, and the RA had to get involved, it seemed God had provided me peace in the middle of a storm. Until I got the email. The coach didn’t think that I fit the team given my Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. She didn’t think it was a good fit for me, and asked me not to come back unless I could do all the things the other girls could do. Unfortunately, I was left heartbroken in my hotel room, trying to get away from all the chaos that was my life.
To make matters worse, it was homecoming weekend, which meant it was also midterms week. On this particular Thursday, I had my midterm for the riding class I had been forced to ride in that had kept me from being on the Hunter/Jumper team. You can probably imagine the emotions I was feeling at this very moment. The last thing I wanted was to take a midterm at the barn, right before the vaulting team would practice. But, wouldn’t you know, God had a plan.
I didn’t want to take the test, but I tacked up Pepper and hoped for the best as I swung my feet into my stirrups to ride. At the very least, I loved the horse I was riding, and anyone who rides horses knows that these wonderful horses can make us feel so much better. I knew that riding him, even if I didn’t want to take my midterm, would help me tremendously. He was a hunter horse, and he rode like a dream. His canter was like riding an awkward cloud. After the test, I was feeling pretty good about my riding. And, as I was walking back from the field, I saw a blonde girl with a Harry Potter shirt on watching me. “I have those same boots.” She smiled at me. I looked down at my muddy, old Ariat boots and smiled. “You’re a good rider, I watched you on Pepper and he really looked like a hunter. Have you ever considered joining the Hunter/Jumper team here?”
I felt a pang in my stomach. “Yeah.” I sighed. “I have, but I’m in the riding class. I didn’t pass out on my test, and so I don’t qualify to join until next semester. Sorry, but maybe after Christmas.” Of course, I didn’t want to return to school after Christmas at this point. But, she didn’t need to know that.
“The coach can give you special permission.” She said. “We’d really like to have you on the team. Would you be interested in joining if I got you special permission?”
I didn’t even have to think about my answer. “Yes!”
“Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” – Mark 11:22-24
I prayed for a long time about college decisions. I prayed that I would pass my test. But, in the end, I think God wanted to remind me that my dreams aren’t accomplished because of my hard work. My work does nothing without Him. He orchestrated it perfectly so that this would happen. I am quick to pray about my plans. I know what I want, because I am a dreamer. I have a vision, and I work to make it happen. But, I often forget that God’s plan is greater than mine. God has a vision. I don’t always like His plan. In fact, I often times wonder what His plan even is. But, time and time again, I realized that His plan is far better than mine.
Had God listened to me, and let me join the team, I know I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much as I did when I joined on His terms. I would have taken it for granted. I never would have experienced new things like the Vaulting team. Even if I ultimately ended in the same place, the journey was so much different. I met more people, made different friends, and forever am thankful that I had a bit of self-discovery before finding where I fit in.
This scripture is kinda special to me, because it’s at the end of my all time favorite Bible story. Yes, this Bible story might, in fact, be considered the GOAT (greatest of all time). It’s Jesus cursing the fig tree, driving vendors out of the temple, and then the fig tree withering and dying. Jesus curses the fig tree because it’s fig season, and the tree didn’t bear fruit. Then, after driving the vendors out of the temple, Jesus and the disciples walk back and see that the fig tree withered and died. The disciples, of course, are amazed because Jesus cursed the fig tree and it died. [This story is actually symbolic of believers who don’t bear fruits despite claiming to have accepted Christ. But, that’s beside the point.] I didn’t doubt that I would be on the Hunter/Jumper team. But I did doubt that it would be God’s work for me to be on the team. I didn’t dare to dream big enough to see what God had in store for me. God wanted me to know that if He can make this happen, He can make anything happen. But I had to know that it was He and not me.
Holding On To You by Twenty One Pilots
“Before you know it I’m lost at sea,
And now that I write and think about it and the story unfolds,
You should take my life, You should take my soul.
You are surrounding all my surroundings,
Sounding down the mountain range of my life-side brain.”