I was a late bloomer. Late to learn to drive. Late to receive an invite to the party. Ok, I was never invited to high school parties. Late to dream. Definitely late to dream. In fact, in the very literal since of the word, dreaming has never been a constant reality in my life. I rarely “recall” dreams. I go to sleep. I wake up. Repeat. Metaphorically, I’ve lived most of my life without a real consideration of the need for dreaming. I figured. I have shelter. I’m employed. I’m in good health. I have healthy relationships. A family that loves and supports me. I spent the early part of my career ignoring the deeper ache to work in an industry where I would no longer be linked to the golden handcuffs of corporate. That was eight years ago. The second half of my career has been in the non-profit sector and has brought me great joy. Yet, an ache persisted. Three months ago I took another step of faith. I decided that I would actively move in the direction of a dream I believe that God put in my heart. If you’ve been following my blogs, you know I moved to South Africa contingent upon landing a job.
What am I to now do when the dream doesn’t look like what I imagined? I never imagined I would be back home and living with family at 38. I never imagined that I would be without a vehicle at this phase of life. When I decided to move to South Africa by faith, it was all or nothing. Either I trust God or I don’t, right? I gave my car away along with other things. There was incredible freedom in being able to give generously without regret. Let me be clear, there is still no regret in giving away any of the items that I did. There was something scary and beautiful about trusting God in this new land.
Now, I am back in my homeland. Orlando, FL. There’s something scary and beautiful about trusting God with my future. This feels different because it is different. Wouldn’t you know that God continues to write my incredible story without much of my input regarding timing, but always considering my heart’s cry? God knows me. He knows me well. He knows me best. I always take comfort in this truth. Is this what dreaming feels like? Because I’m a late dreamer…
Our society has romanticized the idea of “going after one’s dream” just as it has racial reconciliation. Or the idea of justice. All take longer than 3 months to achieve. Honestly speaking, I bought into the lie of this microwave production of my future. Never before had I been so public in taking a risk. Never before had so many people publicly provided support. Never before have I felt like such a failure. And never before have I wanted to conjure up a response to the question, “When are you going back?” Is this what dreaming feels like? Because, you know, I’m a late dreamer…
To make this journey a little less romantic, I’ve spent my first 2 weeks back in America reminding myself that most of what I am currently experiencing are inconveniences. Having a car was convenient because there’s public transportation in this city. Having my own place is convenient, but I am thankful for shelter with family. Having a plan work out perfectly is convenient, but most dreams take years to realize. Some days depression comes in like a wave and other days, I soar above my circumstance. Is this what dreaming feels like? You already know, I’m a late dreamer…
Dreaming has been hard, but going after my dream has been even harder.
I’m not chasing after this dream with debt and zero savings. I don’t know that faith and wisdom have to compete with one another. To prepare for this adventure, I have saved money because I expected some bumps along the way. The 3 months I spent in South Africa were incredible, but also freeing because I did not have the stress that comes with debt.
I’m not chasing after this dream to prove anything. I’m chasing after this dream because I now know my worth. I didn’t believe I was worthy of a dream. Knowing differently changes everything. Is this what dreaming feels like? Because, you know, I’m a late dreamer…
There are days that I hate that I spent three months in South Africa because of what I witnessed and yet I love South Africa because of what I witnessed. It is impossible to un-see what I have seen. This past Sunday I wept as I worshiped with other believers here in America I could only think of some of the conversations, connections, and complexities encountered during my time there. I must return.
South Africa provided a small taste of freedom. It fuels the dream.
Although I was frustrated with the number of closed doors in South Africa during my time there, it could have been a much worse experience. Such rich experiences there and beautiful memories found in the midst of rejection. Thank you to everyone that supported me in prayer, finances, and otherwise. For the dreamers that have gone before me. Thank you. Enkosi.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,
‘therefore I will hope in him.’” – Lamentations 3:22-24