“Do you really think that’s going to work? I mean, maybe we should just give up on this and accept that nothing’s going to change. This is just how it is.”
For a hot minute I couldn’t breathe right. She hadn’t physically punched me, but I still felt her response in my gut. (Funny enough, the same gut I’d just been talking about shrinking with my latest diet and exercise plan.)
I get it. We’ve known each other for decades – and talked about how to lose weight, build muscle, get fit, look better in our clothes for decades, too. I can understand the desire to just move on, already, to have a new conversation for once in our lives.
I get it. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. And it doesn’t mean I have to agree or fall in line.
Taking care of my body and being as healthy as I can be is important to me. Breaking bad habits and developing discipline in this area that’s plagued me for so long matters. So while I don’t know if intermittent fasting and walking on the treadmill will work, I’m not about to give up.
I thought about that conversation when I watched the season (and series) finale of Speechless. The sitcom was about a family and how they dealt with challenges, including a son with special needs, and it culminated in his graduation from high school.
As the family rallied around him and his goal to go away to college, the mom (played by the fantastic Minnie Driver) remembered all the times she’d been told her son’s dreams and goals weren’t possible. As she envisions punching through every single obstacle (aka, person who didn’t believe in her son’s determination and strength), she says with all the passion of a mama-advocate, “Don’t tell me it’s not realistic.”
Of course I cried as I watched that scene (you can watch it here). That’s a predictable response from me, but also, I believe, a reasonable one for any person who’s ever had a dream and been told it’s foolish. Any person who has the audacity to keep dreaming.
A couple weeks ago I realized I’m not finished dreaming.
After feeling exhausted and unmotivated for a couple weeks, I did the thing I know better than to do and compared my accomplishments to the reported success of someone else. Then, as if that weren’t enough, I made a stupid mistake, messing up in a big, embarrassing way. My reaction to all this was nothing short of dramatic and I declared that I would simply stop trying. At least then I wouldn’t have to feel the sting of failure!
That meltdown came on the heels of a sweet friend reassuring me that small and ordinary and unseen things are really what matter most. But that didn’t quite sit right with me. I agreed with her. But also…I still feel like maybe I’m supposed to be doing something different (additional? more? not better, but just…different?) than only the small, quiet things. I still have some dreams. And even though they seem less realistic every day that goes by, I’m not ready to give up on them. As I verbally vomited all of these feelings and more to my patient husband, he did everything but roll his eyes when I put on a show of giving up. He knows me better than that.
Though I’m brutally pragmatic when it comes to his ideas or dreams, I’m determinedly optimistic when it comes to my own. I’m not cut out for that? I can’t do that? I’ll never make it? WATCH ME.
Don’t tell me it’s not realistic!
This stubbornness doesn’t guarantee I’ll meet my goals. I may never see my dreams come true. In fact, I may fall on my face and fail spectacularly. But damned if I’m going to give up.
Do you have a dream? An idea or some goals? Do they seem, dare I say, unrealistic? Have you been called foolish for following them? Childish for still believing they’re possible? Irresponsible for pouring more into this thing you believe in? Ridiculous for trying one more time?
Friend, don’t listen to those voices. Even if some of the resistance and ridicule comes from within, block it out. Or, if you’re also that special kind of stubborn, let it fuel you! Just because your dream is a big one, just because time has gone by and obstacles have slowed you down or even pushed you off your path, you aren’t out of the game. Your story isn’t finished, and you don’t have to give up.
You don’t have to be realistic.
A dream job, your own business, a ministry, a new skill, another degree, a restored relationship, an incredible experience. Whatever you’re dreaming of, don’t let the cynicism and doubt of others (or yourself) put out that flame.
If you still want it…
If you still think it makes sense…
If you still feel called to it…
If you still feel even the smallest tremor of hope and desire for this thing…
Go for it. Fight for it. Dream it and do it. Don’t let them tell you it’s unrealistic!