You have to look for it.
It’s in that split second when you’re listening, really listening, to someone talk. Their gaze shifts to the side. They laugh, or cough, or shuffle, and in an instant the spark is gone.
Ask someone in college what they’re passionate about.
Most of the people I’ve talked to tell me what their major is. They tell me what their plans are. They tell me what’s most practical. They talk about the economy. And then they mumble something at the end, a half-hearted sentence about something else.
That’s what you’ve been watching for, a hint of a dream.
For a second there’s a spark behind their eyes. A half-smile plays on the corners of their lips. The mumble at the end about wanting to own a business, be a teacher, open a bookstore, or have a family–
That’s what you want to pay attention to.
That quiet dream is a seed for something bigger.
Usually after that half-spoken sentence, something comes up.
But that’s never going to happen.
It’s a pipe dream.
I don’t think that’s realistic.
They shift and fidget with their phone. “Reality” invades; the spark is gone. But beneath would and should are unique desires from our Creator that were designed to bloom. Yet so often we forget about them or bury them in the rush of life.
Rewind. Rewind. Rewind. Go back.
I want to hear more about the last part of what you said. You know, that thing at the end. Except this time, say it louder.
Say it like it’s possible, because I think it is. And I think you know it is too, but you’re afraid to say so.
Say you want to be a doctor for the sick.
Say you want to open an art gallery.
Say you want to have a family.
Say you want to make an album.
Say you want to go to the corners of the world.
Say the last part again.
Say it loud, because it deserves to be heard.
And this time, look right into my eyes when you do, because I want to see the spark when it’s on. I want to see the reason you get up in the morning. I want to see light through your eyes.
The true reality is that God places dreams in us with purpose and passion. So often, that spark we so quickly shut off is an idea that could spread life like wildfire to hearts that need it.
Your dreams are needed.
So pull up a chair, sweet friend.
Know that when you open your heart, you get no judgment from me; I am fantastically flawed and still learning about grace. Take off the weight of what you should do and shake the dust of things that other people have said.
I think that deep under the responsibilities of everyday life lives a God-sized dream that this world desperately needs to come true.
Don’t be afraid to remember all of your dreams and oddball wishes and impossible ideas that have no place of their own to fit. Your dreams exist for a reason. In fact, they were meant to be there. Maybe even for such a time as this.
The penny wishing-well wishes.
The birthday candle dreams.
The staring at your ceiling half-asleep daydreams.
They matter more than you know.
I really believe that.
Fast forward. Pause. Let’s start again.
When you speak, know that He’s listening with every syllable, every silence, every spark.
What are you passionate about?
by Elizabeth Ann, Dear Friend