Why I Stopped Chasing My Dream

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If you haven’t noticed, we long for meaning in our lives. We strive to find significance and to live with a purpose more now than arguably ever before. Paradigms have shifted and the tides have turned. The white picket fence and the American dream are no longer a viable solution to the pulsating ache deep within that we are all too familiar with.

For many of us, the attractive life is now centered on digging water wells deep in the bush of Africa and fighting for the freedom of the 21 million modern day slaves. Attractive is now finding your voice and using it to expose the deeply rooted and prejudicial systematic injustices that we face everyday. Attractive is now living life from your most authentic self—free from the bondage and self–imprisoned thoughts of what others think.

Without question, we are a people made in the image of God and subsequently made for purpose.

While many are in full pursuit of finding it, there are the masses who don’t know where to start or how to even begin. Riddled with disappointments that have suffocated the life out of any hope of a future, we believe that this is the hand of cards we have been dealt—or worst yet, the hand of cards we deserve.

Before you know it, our child–like dreams and desires have bowed to the world and have been sacrificed on the altar of just getting by.

This is just the way life is,”  we tell ourselves. 

Then there are those who want to desperately believe that they are well on their way but living under the weighty bondage of believing that achievement and fulfillment are synonymous. If I can just accomplish this, we think to ourselves. Doing everything that we can during the moments of solitude where the void begins to scream, we hide behind our busy schedules, late nights at the office, or manipulating and controlling behavior.

We refuse to believe or accept that we’ve been conned. After all, what would that say about us then?

Finding meaning and living out our purpose is unquestionably what we were created for. But, why does it seem that only a select few actually find it?

What If.

What if the purpose you’re looking for isn’t found through an external pursuit? What if the need to be important was stunting your personal growth more than it was empowering it? What if your deep desire to be accepted was only amplifying the rejection?

What if the passion fueled by those haunting childhood moments was promising you a life it can never deliver?

More specifically, what if meaning and purpose weren’t found by stepping into an external reality that we spend our lives chasing after, but revolved around an internal reality birthed only by examining and exposing the driving forces behind our lives?

Would you stop, just for a moment?

Three years ago, I found myself at a place in life where something had to change, and change quickly. I knew that if I continued as things presently were, I would end up as another statistic on the evening news. Up to this point in my life, I had done everything that the world told me to do in order to discover a fulfilled life.

The joke was on me.

Looking back, life for me was less about a discovery and more about a proving. Gifted with size and speed and armed with one-too-many childhood experiences laced with fear and rejection, I determined it within myself to make things happen at whatever cost.

Unfortunately at the time, I wasn’t aware that at whatever cost would result in soul suicide—leaving me gasping for air while aimlessly wandering through the perceived promise land of milk and honey that turned out to be nothing more than a desert of mirages.

That’s when I made the decision to stop. And I mean, stop everything.

Several months earlier, I had visited a church in Fort Erie, Ontario. Walking out of that church on that day, I had the strange sense that I would be back—I just didn’t expect to be back that soon.

In one quick moment, I went from wearing a jersey with my last name written across the back to mopping floors and serving that church—all in a desperate hope that I could for the first time in my life discover who I was without a name written across my back.

If you had told me three years ago that this is where I would be and the route that I would take, I would have had a hard time believing you. More specifically, if you would have told me three years ago that I would soon walk away from chasing my dream and in return find something worth living for, I would have laughed in your face.

But, that’s exactly what happened.

I stopped chasing my dream and the life that I thought I wanted and I’ve since found something worth living for.

I have so much more to say, but it would be easier if I could send you an email from time to time. I promise not to overwhelm you.

What do you say?

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