My dreams woke me up this morning.
Yes, I have had some neat dreams lately. Like (1) I dreamed that N and I bought a new house and the old owners gave us their dog as part of the deal as well, and (2) I dreamed I was helping someone shop for a Hawaiian button-up shirt.
As fun as those dreams are though, they aren’t the ones I’m referencing. I’m talking about dreams for my life. For years I’ve heard people ask the question: what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? The words have honestly never registered with me. I never saw that I had a choice.
Core Values & Choices
I’ve been learning a lot about choices the past few months—choices that have hurt me; choices that have hurt people who have hurt me; and yes, choices I’ve made that have wounded many, including myself. The fact is, the choices I have made in the past 10+ years have been driven more by fear and legalism than by my core values.
So, understandably, the idea of making my own choices is daunting. And it’s something I’m learning to do each day in recovery. I’m learning how to stand strong in conviction of what I believe—not narratives from childhood, not what will please other people, and not what an eating disorder says will keep me safe. I’m making real, authentic, Hannah choices…. For the first time ever.
It is exciting. It’s terrifying.
And whether you have similar struggles to mine or not, I’d wager that you have fought or will fight a similar battle of desires. The question for all of us is: Will we live according to our values or according to something (or someone!) else?
I’ve made many choices during my life that I’d deem responsible. Responsibility is a worthy value to ascribe to, but not in isolation. Not in fear.
See how values can get twisted? Mine certainly have. Since I was a child, I’ve made all decisions on the basis of: “what is expected of me?” and “how can I protect myself?”
Will we live according to our values or according to something (or someone) else?
Obviously, many of those choices have been in relation to nourishing my body, but the problem goes deeper than food. “Safe” choices have been my default—a default for many of us, I suspect—for years. I have wrongly believed that, if I can make the “right choices,” then I can avoid pain.
Have you bought into the same lies? They come in many disguises, aimed at making us believe that the only real choice is to hide—from people, our bodies, our past, or the world entirely.
Here’s a thought: let’s not.
I’m a firm believer that each person on earth is created with God-ordained dreams, gifts, and passions. They align with our values—the things we chiefly believe in—and they help us carve out our unique niche in the world.
I’ve tiptoed around mine for years. My dreams and I are just “too weird,” “too impossible,” or “accomplished much better through someone else.” That is what I’ve believed.
What if we stop letting fear drive our dreams?
But intense therapy is teaching me that “better” is a very subjective gauge of success. Maybe “success” means world fame. Most likely, it doesn’t. Maybe success will come immediately; maybe it’ll take time. And maybe, just maybe, we won’t give a crap once we actually take the leap toward where we’ve been called.
Your Choices Won’t Protect You, But They Can Grow You
It’s scarier than I imagined, this crossroad of legalism and living, but it’s feeling more thrilling each day. Why? Because I’m learning more and more that you and I are broken. We are going to make unwise decisions in life and we are going to make excellent decisions that will still not protect us.
What then do we do? We trust not in ourselves but in the Lord and how He has uniquely wired us to run our race.
I have many choices ahead of me. So do you. What if we stop letting fear drive our dreams? That’s my aim, and I would love it if you pursue that with me.
I’m here for you and excited to be on this journey with you.