The One Thing You Must Do To Start Living The Dream

What’s the ONE thing you’ve always wanted to do? The dream that’s so deep it may freak you out if you actually admitted it out loud?

As someone who grew up a few miles from the biotech epicenter of California, I lived in a neighborhood where nobody became a writer. A researcher, a doctor, or a biotech software programmer, maybe, but definitely not a writer.

Somehow, though, I didn’t get that memo. Maybe it was because my favorite teacher in high school told me I didn’t stink at writing like the slackers who gave him grey hair. Or maybe it was because words didn’t stain my clothes like the chemicals in my first lab job.

Whatever it was, no amount of “I should choose the paying, respectable science career” stuck.

Because it was never science that I loved. God’s mind-boggling creation? The way He designed you and me? I do love that. But it’s the communicating about it—it’s the words—that makes science amazing. It’s always been the words.

So a few days ago, when I read the email saying my SECOND book is going to be published (one month after learning the first one is getting published!), I did what any self-respecting person would do when they open the door and see their dream standing 2 feet in front of them:

I hid in the bathroom and freaked out.

And then spent a full 24 hours to un-freak out.

You know what pulled me through? What helped me see the dream face-to-face, suddenly be accountable for it, and breathe anyway? It’s the same thing that helps every one of us in that “Oh my gosh. I can’t do it!” phase:

I realized that “Oh my gosh. I CAN’T do it!”

As in, I can’t do it:

  • in my own strength.
  • the way my life is currently structured.

I can’t squeeze two books—with manuscript deadlines and launches—into 18 months without letting other things go first. And even when it’s all rearranged, I can’t do it alone.

You can’t do it, either.

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but in case you haven’t already discovered it, the whole part of the women’s lib mantra that “you can do everything whenever you want” is complete crap. My friend Holley Gerth agrees, and in her new e-book, The “Do What You Can” Plan, she writes

“Because we have limited resources like time and energy, saying yes to one thing always means saying no to something else.”

Sorry, Gloria Steinem, but that’s life.

So what CAN we do? And how do we decide what stays and what goes?

To start living the dream, we must make a hard choice.

Which begins with questions like:

  • What would most honor God and the people I love?
  • Which commitments or activities best use my strengths and giftings?
  • Which time investments give me energy and joy?
  • What is the most natural next step toward the dream God’s put in my heart?

For me, the answers are leading me to step down from commitments I love—some for a season, and some indefinitely. They’re giving me the strength to say a swift “no” to new opportunities, too.

These and other questions help us peel away the layers of what we’ve felt obligated to do, what we’ve let ourselves fall in to, and what we’ve chosen that doesn’t line up with the deep calling of our hearts.

Asking these questions is the first thing we must do to start living the dream.

As Holley goes on to say in her  e-book,

“Change isn’t easy, no matter how badly you want it or how committed you are to seeing it happen. It requires focus and attention. In other words, it takes saying some difficult “nos” to get to the big “yes” that matters most.”

Let’s take that first step toward the big “yes” today, shall we?


{This post is part of a series on living our dreams as part of the launch of Holley Gerth’s upcoming book, You’re Made For A God-Sized Dream.}

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  1. says

    {Kathy} Wow! I think I would have a total freak out moment too. That said, God is preparing you for something incredible. We will pray for you during this time…for focus, energy and blessings for being so obedient to His calling in your life.

  2. mrsmarieosborne says

    OH MY GOODNESS!!! So incredibly excited for you! Can wait to see what God has in store. Praying for you every step of the way, sister!

  3. cathyhorning says

    Laurie, I am so excited for you! And, I love this message! We Can’t Do It! But, in, through and for Jesus we can bear the abundant good fruit her created us to produce! Love you dear friend! You inspire me!

  4. Diane Bailey says

    YEAH, LAURIE!!!!!!!! I’m so excited for you. I am putting you on my prayer list, for God to show you where he has prepared times of great progress in writing. I am so. Very. Excited. For YOU! Love You, Girl!!