A Facebook Post About How To Create Your Dreams
There are moments in our lives when someone succinctly verbalizes our beliefs and understanding in a clear and perfect fashion, and we say “Yes! That is exactly what I have come to know,” or “Yes, that is exactly what I think.” This happened to me this week. My son is on an LDS mission where he is out serving others and teaching them about Christ. While he is doing this he has very limited contact with family. Once a week the missionaries get a chance to write home, but other than that they stay focused on their work. Recently, the LDS church allowed the missionaries to have Facebook pages where they post inspiring messages and thoughts. It’s a real treat when I’m on Facebook and something pops up from my son, but today was especially interesting because his words were the exact encapsulation of everything I had been working on over the last year. Let me share them and then I’ll tell you my story. Stay tuned for the rest of the tale…
Stories are our lives in language. Welcome to the Love Your Story podcast. I’m Lori Lee, and I’m excited for our future together of telling stories, evaluating our own stories, and lifting ourselves and others to greater places because of our control over our stories. This podcast is about empowerment and giving you, the listener, ideas to work with in making your stories work for you. Power serves you best when you know how to use it.
Here is his post:
“A thought I had recently was that if we allow them, dreams can be so much more than just happy thoughts and wishful thinking. They can be more than pleasant imaginings left for a world more perfect than this. If we let it, the act of dreaming and then working with determination and courage can be one of the most powerful demonstrations of faith possible to man. As we team up with the Lord and “do many things of [our] own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness” (D&C [58:27]) then, by the grace of God, will we be able to develop the competency and ability we need to steadily overcome the obstacles we find that are placed in our way. As we grow to trust the promise that “all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark [9:23]) the Lord will enable us according to the faith that we exercise in him, and we may achieve that which we have determined to be our goal. So dream big, work hard, trust much, and then enjoy watching the miracles come to pass.”
That’s the end of his post. When I read that my first thought was, “Yay! – I needed to read that today, all of my daily struggle put into such a clear and organized paragraph.” My second thought was, “I wondered if he really knew what that meant. I have been working on this for the last year, and I’m still working with it every day, how does he just suddenly have this thought and ‘bam’ there it all is.” Maybe I’m a little slower than my son, but let me share my journey – that I’m still on, by the way – of coming to understand and live this principle. And I share it, because it may serve as a model of how to make your dreams happen.
“Dreams can be more than just a wish or a happy thought” – When I was in my early 20’s I had a conversation with God. I wanted three things more than anything in my life, and I felt like, in this particular conversation, that I’d been given the right to ask for them. The first was that I would have an extraordinary relationship and connection with the right man. That I’d have a husband who was my other half – the right fit. The right guy. The second was that my children would be watched over, protected and upheld. The third was that I would be able to use my talents, gifts, and abilities to give back to the world, to create something that would inspire and lift other people. In my mind, because I was/am a writer, I pictured that being an inspirational book that was successful in reaching a broad audience. That was it. Everything else I wanted, my career, my schooling, my fun was all a huge part of my life and way of living, but the foundational aspects of a meaningful life for me were found in those three things. I suspect, these basic components are universal for many people. The desire to love and be loved, to have the best for your children, and to give back to the world, these are not new ideas, just meaningful ones.
So, of the three only the second one, the protection, and amplification of my beautiful children, has been given to me. And, to be honest, if I had to have only one, I would sacrifice everything else for that, so thank God for his tender mercies. But that being said, let’s look at the other two for a moment.
The first, to find the right man, has been the largest and longest struggle of my life. When we open ourselves to love we also open ourselves to heartbreak – the two go hand-in-hand, so there has been a lot of pain and disappointment. For those of you who are regular listeners to this podcast you already have a lot of background information about this area of my life, because my three marriages and all the heartbreak and struggle involved along the way has been the major part of my story that had to be reframed. I had to find the purpose behind all the broken dreams and broken hearts, because the emotional reality of it, before the reframe, was just a messy life of what felt like tremendous hurt and accumulating failure. I have loved well, and I have loved deeply, but the depth to which we love is usually equal to the pain in which we feel upon the loss of or betrayal of that love. Let’s just say no one can ever say I didn’t try. I’m not sure how I keep standing back up, but by the grace of God.
The third item is the real story today. Last spring I had an impression that really stuck out to me. “Be it unto you according to your faith.” Now, this is a common expression, it comes from scripture, so it’s not new, but it stood out to me enough at that moment that I held on to it. I carved out a space to find out what this was about. About this same time my friend Sally returned from a Next Level Discovery workshop. She pulled me into her office one day, told me about it and said, not in these exact words, but something along the lines of, “Lori, this workshop was extremely powerful and you need it. I really think in order to move forward you’re going to need to get past all your accumulated resentment toward men, and this can be a tool to help you do it.” I trust Sally, so I told her I’d think about it. And I did, and I went, even though it meant flying across the United States. I knew I was stuck in my life and I didn’t know how to get unstuck. I felt myself banging my head against this wall that never moved, and I didn’t have the understanding or skills to get past it. So, what did I have to lose? Worst case scenario I’d have a weekend away in Columbus, Ohio, and I got my best friend to go with me, so we’d make a week of it.
Well, I found myself in the workshop remembering item #3. I found myself opening up the old dreams that had been shoved to the bottom of the pile, given up on, covered in the musty t-shirts and dirty socks of time, and before I knew it I was standing in front of the workshop group, 100-people strong, declaring that I would write my New York Times Best Selling book that would influence and inspire. I imagined it so vividly while I sat in that room that I literally felt it happening – I felt the feelings that I would feel when the things I wanted most manifested and for the first time it had teeth, I believed. What I didn’t know at the time was how much incredible work lay ahead. I also didn’t know how the project would morph into a podcast and the other things that have taken shape because of it. Most of all what I didn’t know was how much faith it would take every day to get out of bed and work on a project when I’m not clear on where it’s going. I can see one step ahead at a time, and only one. It’s like a mist. I feel God’s support, I feel my own desire to contribute and add value to the world, I have my vision, but so much of the day-to-day effort unfolds completely on faith. Without faith in a desired outcome, we do not engage in anything. We do not apply for a job we know we have no chance of getting, or ask someone out who is way out of our league, or try out for the Major Leagues unless we think we have a shot at it. Without faith in a course of action, we do not embark upon that course. So, getting up every day and trusting that I’ll be led, that the path I am headed down is going somewhere, that in the end I’ll actually make some type of impact in a fun and loving way as I intend, this is a path of tremendous faith for me.
So, back to my son’s words.
He goes on to say, “Working with determination and courage can be one of the most powerful demonstrations of faith possible to man. This is what he said, that 20-year-old kid just throws that out there, while his 47-year-old mother is living it, feeling it every day. But then I realized, he is doing the same thing in his life. Every day he wakes up at [6:00] and works with determination and courage as he goes into the community to serve and share the love of Christ. His efforts are not always met with acceptance, as you can imagine, but doing it every day is definitely one of the most powerful demonstrations of faith possible to man. We show faith when we move our feet. When we use our hearts and minds and actions to pursue a course of action. Faith without works is dead. But to get to the point where we will act we have to overcome fears – that’s a plural. Fear of failure, fear of wasted time, fear of looking stupid, fear of fill in the blank. Faith is the opposite of fear.
Then he said, “Team up with the Lord and do many things of our own free will.” A few years ago I came up with a three-tiered approach to living well that I felt encapsulated all the directive God had given us and made sense to me in an applicable way. For me, it was an attempt to simplify a lot of commandments and expectations. The three tiers were as follows: First – virtuous living is required in order to live a life that is clean and clear so one has the greatest chance of inspiration and guidance. All those commandments about keeping your mind and your heart and your body clean are all toward the end result of virtue, and virtue is power through a greater connection with God. It is god-like. No unclean thing can enter into the presence of God, and while we are all mortal and messy, the more virtue with which we live, the clearer the channel of communication with God.
The second tier encompasses all the Love. This tier is about our relationships and the importance of loving each other, forgiving, serving and truly coming to a space of win/win with our fellow man. Coming to understand our connectedness and power with one another.
The third tier then transitions into creation. This is where we start taking mini steps toward being like our father, who is a creator, and we start creating things ourselves. We take action and we create. I know from God’s perspective my little bitty creations and my struggle every day to do this is minuscule. Almost laughable, but I think about watching my children grow up and how hard they had to work to walk, and dress themselves, and clean their rooms, and do their homework, and as they learn and grow we watch them and cheer them on. And I’m sure God is doing the same thing with me. The other day I was attending a temple service and suddenly there was a clarity about the small but miraculous serendipitous and positive steps forward, answers to prayers, and blessings that had shown up in my life. Because they happen one day at a time the small successes often get clumped together as part of the process of moving forward, but I felt the Lord pointing out that these were his way of supporting me, and reminding me of them was his way of letting me know he was walking along side me. That he was there, he was aware, and he was supporting my efforts. So, back to Christian’s thought, “Team up with the Lord and do many things of our own free will.” That third tier of using our agency to create good, of our own free will, using our agency to make things happen, I feel we have a responsibility to do so, and that God will expect us to account for our time and what we did with it. That’s why tier three is important – agency, action, and faith to create things, but we are not alone in our efforts. Teaming up with the Lord to create positive creation in the world is a powerful level to live on.
My son’s next sentence was, “By the grace of God we will be able to develop the competency and ability needed to steadily overcome the obstacles we find in front of us.” There is not one part of that sentence that does not resonate with me. Each day I pray that my brain will connect the dots. That the Lord will give me clarity in pulling ideas together. I fall terribly short more often than not, but I certainly ask for his help and through the grace of God, occasionally I am given an increased competency and ability to do what I’m doing, and more often than not it IS indeed overcoming an obstacle. That’s another thing I didn’t realize starting out on the Love Your Story adventure. I had no idea how many obstacles there would be, and how often that obstacle would be me. How often I would have to actively override the fear or apathy circuits and flush them with faith and sometimes just motion. Just because we are creating and in motion with a desire to do good, create value in the world, does not mean that obstacles, fear, money, exhaustion, diversion, lack-of-focus, etc. will not be our companions. I believe that third tier about creation and action provides a whole different level of learning and spiritual growth. It requires discipline, faith, hope, persistence, vision and a host of other spiritual muscles that get flexed and worked out on a daily basis.
My son’s next line, “All things are possible to him that believeth (Mark [9:23]). The Lord will enable us according to the faith we exercise in him.” This brings us full circle to the beginning of my story, the time last spring where I felt the impression of “Be it unto you according to your faith.” I understand much better now why that thought was impressed upon my mind right before I embarked on this journey that I had no idea I was embarking on. One thing for certain in my story, I can only see one or two steps ahead of me at any given time. Mostly it’s a wing and a prayer, but the promise that all things are possible to him that believeth is a powerful promise. Each day I say, “help thou my unbelief,” and then I start walking forward. Can I just say, if nothing else, I am flexing some spiritual muscle and some days it’s more successful than others, but in the end of all this, no one can say I didn’t try for my number three wish either. And, because I believe, in the words of Yoda, “there is no try, only do,” therefore, I will go forth, and as my son said in his concluding remarks, “Dream big, work hard, trust much, and then enjoy watching the miracles!”
Thank you for listening to the Love Your Story podcast and indulging me in telling so much of my own personal story. Your challenge for this week is to think about your own story. Where could you use a little more belief in yourself? A little more faith to propel you forward? What fear story can you shut down today so you can take one more step forward in faith? Please share this podcast, subscribe, rate and leave us a review. Unless you don’t like it, then skip the review part. Also, a freebie for you – go to our website, www.loveyourstorypodcast.com and get the free mini-ebook for 5 Steps to Reframing the Parts of Your Story that Feel Broken. It will come straight to your inbox, no strings. Have a great week creating your stories.