Did you forget that the hardest work in life is what you do to fulfill your dreams? I did. Earlier this week, I broke down and screamed to the heavens. In that moment, I believed the lie that I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was so tired of fighting that all I wanted to do was lay down and give up. Instead I prayed. Finally, after all of that poisonous frustration had leaked out of my pores, I crawled off of the floor and started working anew. In performing that last resolute act, I remembered that it isn’t the talented who succeed in life. Success is seen only by those dedicated enough to persevere through the hardships.
To “strive for a goal” isn’t just a cute cliché, it’s the truth.
Fulfilled dreams are hard-fought and even harder-won things. Such dreams—if they’re worth attaining—don’t arrive in pretty little packages dropped conveniently on our doorsteps. Instead, they are revealed in the breathtaking sunrise views seen only on the summits of mountains. In order to experience them, we first must scramble bruised, bloody, and half-blind up the dark, ragged peaks of our life’s journey. In the end, it isn’t the attainment of the dream that gives us confidence; our confidence comes from knowing that we conquered the mountain.
Every morning when I get ready to write, I strap on a mental combat helmet because I know that I have to war against myself in order to attain that precious dream that I so desire. Even as I prepare to write yet another book’s rough draft, I am reminded that I have already succeeded in writing a book. In fact, I’ve written several of them. Yet, even after writing multiple books, I have come to realize that the process of writing itself doesn’t get any easier. I doubt that it ever will. Even so, the confidence I have because I have already climbed a mountain helps me persevere. My motivation to push through the grind and achieve another victory gets stronger with each word that I write and each sentence that I finish.
Small victories pave the way for big success.
I didn’t always have this confidence. Like every other human being on this planet, I began life illiterate. Unlike most others, I stayed that way far longer than I should have. Through no small sacrifice of time, money, and mentorship, my parents and teachers helped me learned to read and write. Through large amounts of effort, I learned—and am still learning—to write well. The thing about dreams is that they are not accomplished alone. It usually takes a dedicated militia armed with a puddle-full of miracles and an ocean’s worth of encouragement to help one person achieve her dreams. This is why it is so important that each of us dreamers also encourage and mentor other dreamers toward success. All of us can dream solo, but none of us can achieve solo.
If dream-fulfillment was easy, everyone would do it.
Of course, there is an alternative to dream-fulfillment. The more-level roads of Giving Up and Getting By snake around those rugged summits with seeming ease. It was on one of these roads that my gaze lingered upon a little too long this week. Such roads look far safer and far more tempting than the jagged height I’m currently scaling. But be warned: such winding roads are a trap.
These roads will distract you with false promises of safety, comfort, and convenience. They will try to lure you away from your God-given purpose with easy pleasures. Make no mistake, these pretty distractions are those colorful packages dropped on our doorsteps for our convenience. And, yes, they will satisfy for a time. Even so, their half-spoiled goods can never provide true fulfillment. In the end, they will only shrink your heart and sour your soul.
Even the narrow path up the mountainside will tear at your faith and trample your courage. The twisted roots and the sharp rocks you encounter along the way will try to trip you up with worries or bludgeon you with fears. Foul winds of discouragement will whip around you, whispering that you should just lie down and give in. You are not that valuable, and so your dreams are not that important. Don’t listen to the lies. Don’t ever forget that you are so valuable that God gave His own son’s life to save you. Push yourself off of your face and keep going. If you don’t have the strength to walk, then crawl.
Better to crawl up a mountain of adversity, than to stroll along a road of convenience.
Remember that all of those distractions and discouragements are Satan’s way of keeping you from finding and following your God-given purpose for living. God has a plan for you and it’s an even better plan than yours. Fighting for your dreams is part of that purpose because it strengthens you to be able to withstand the storms of life when they rage around you. If you stand on the easy road when the storms come, the floods of hardship will wash you away along with the rest of the frail and feeble. However, if you’re anchored to the rock of the mountain, you will endure and you will succeed.
You can do this and so can I. Together we rededicate our hearts and minds to the noble ascent—knowing as we push forward that we will not stop until we reach that magnificent, sunlit dream. Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better.
The SCRAWLS blog is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with vivid fiction, deep love, and epic art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!