I used to think putting dreams on the ground was easy but now I know that dreams can be costly and hard.
I wrote this story for Keith Farmer’s book Going Deeper to Go Further because I think when we know the challenges we face when trying to dream we can put things in place to help navigate the journey.
In my journey of creating a social enterprise there was a point where I got so tired.
The key contributors to my depletion were the intoxication of putting your dream on the ground.
Innovation and creativity unleashed is an intoxicating spell on my human soul.
There is no greater thrill than to pioneer and give birth to your sacred dreams.
But I soon learned that creating has its own speed and pace that casts its spell and can make you feel as if you are no longer the keeper of your soul.
Adding into this space of crowd funding, creativity, innovation, speed and pace my husband had a stroke.
The disappearing years began.
I call them the disappearing years because my very clever husband was limited in his ability to be the interconnection between the business world and the community world.
For four long years he experienced multiple mini strokes. One minute he would be the businessman and pastor I was familiar with and the next he would be sitting doodling.
Unable to feel one side of his body.
Unable to remember the pages of the books that he had just read.
Constantly fatigued as his brain sought to make new pathways.
My best friend was in a fight for well-being.
Lament and fear took up residence in my soul, but never found voice.
Today he is recovered, functioning and his old business self.
In this space determination took up residence in my soul.
The dream couldn’t be lost, it had to be fought for!
It was a holy dream.
But it was also his dream and I wanted to be a good wife.
There wasn’t time to lament, to grieve, to acknowledge loss and what might have been.
In some ways it would have been so easy to walk away from the Tailrace dream but something on the inside of me refused to give up. It was a sacred dream, a part of our soul, a whisper of our purpose together and I felt I had to hold onto it for him until he was better.
I knew I was the driving force.
Speed ramped up and I was relentless in driving it.
I knew that it wasn’t good, but the dream had to succeed.
I didn’t know how to do it differently.
My life became a life where fear became a friend.
I overworked, I stretched, I became distracted, tense, anxious, and worried.
I kept thinking I just have to push through the tension – right?
If I could just get to the next level, then things would be different, and we could ease off. A little pain now…for a goal achieved.
So, I exchanged peace for productivity.
I watched the calendar endlessly, either working towards achievement or marking off goals.
My thinking became frenetic and distracted.
I squeezed every moment of productivity that I could and became a master of time management.
My life was full, focused, and active.
I learned that there are always casualties when I live in this place of hurry, drive, and intense creativity. I wish I could turn back time and gain back the months. To have no regrets, but I can’t.
The irony is that whilst I wanted to create a space for community, where souls could flourish, my own soul was struggling. I wasn’t the person of love and joy that I wanted to be.
Peace was no longer a companion.
Hurry replaced wisdom.
I was anything but healthy.
Pace and perfection constantly whispered their taunts, “You’re not enough. You will never be enough.”
- In real time there was sufficient evidence that I wasn’t enough:
- Our Team competed within itself. Each one of us trying to prove our worth.
- Friends began to focus on themselves and their needs, shutting off from community, and togetherness.
- Isolation and anxiety become companions.
- Perfection was chosen over giving the gift of presence.
- Love, and the gift of friendship, was given second place.
- Empathy and compassion were sacrificed to emotions.
- Fights over important positions occurred.
- The joy of what we had built was lost because of the push towards the next goal, the next achievement.
- Moments of celebration happened but always within the context of moving onward and upward.
Internally for me I kept trying to prove that I was enough, I was liked, I was happy, important and in control.
All of this is contagious. It spread to team; it created a toxic culture within our community.
Lament and grief found an outlet when we got a mentor.
We were able to give voice to the fear, the anxiety, the personal situation we found ourselves in.
Being heard, having someone listen to us who understood our job; the complexity of the church in Australia and our own individual suffering was healing.
I came away feeling stronger and enough.
Being able to deconstruct theology and Christian cultural beliefs that weren’t working and to reconstruct them within a safe zone was so important. To not feel judged or shamed, to speak new thoughts out loud, without an audience judging or evaluating, was both safe and liberating.
Learning how to Be with God in the middle of anxious situations was powerful. I learned some new practices that have helped me and are now helping others in hard and stretching situations.
I see every day God sending me dandelion seeds of goodness that I have the choice of catching every day. I am loved deeply and those seeds whirl around me every day. His presence, his love, his goodness.
I love the communion table because I realise it’s the one place where I can be gluttonous where I can come and eat my fill. That God is present in every situation, that he is good. He is good and he is here for me. I am enough for Him. I can sit at the table as long as I need every day until I have enough. I love that. I don’t have to work; I simply have to be present to him.
I love inviting others to this table.
I no longer measure success by Sunday attendance or offerings or the loudness and excellence of a service or ministry.
I measure it by all the little dandelion seeds of God’s activity that I see.
I jump up and down when I see a friend who has doubted the existence of God say they believe there is a God.
I hug and laugh when a friend sees God answer a prayer that was unexpected.
I love seeing kids who once were frightened of their dad run up and hug and want to play.
I love solitude and having time to reflect, to say thank you for the dandelion seeds that I see.
I am exploring more and more what a Sabbath Day actually means and am learning that saying yes to a Sabbath means saying no to dreams and there is lament and grief involved in that… but that’s okay.
Sometimes saying yes to loving my husband has meant laying down a dream and that involves some grief, but I know that somehow God will work it all out.
I know what to do when I find myself losing my soul. I know where to head.
What’s your soul story?
How well is your soul?
Do you have a dream you are desperately trying to put on the ground?
Do you feel like you need a coffee? ☕️ Send me a message.
The enneagram is a powerful tool. It helps explain why we go into some of the spaces I found myself going into. The bad habits. If you don’t know what enneagram type you are take the test.