My last post talked about longings that we can’t quite explain and thus often disregard as irrational and unimportant. This post is about an excellent tool to help us recover those crucial, disregarded desires: a 30-day guided journal called Chasing Your Dream.
It so happens that one of the dreams that runs in my family is the dream of writing and becoming a published author. And it also happens that this journal is a product of my mother’s chasing that very dream. This is her first published book, released by Shadow River Books just this week! And what a gorgeous book it is. So gorgeous, in fact, that I was at first reluctant to sully it by writing in it in my own hand. (What does that say about my psychology? That my perfectionism is the enemy of my creativity, probably.)
Thankfully, I overcame my fear of marking up that first page, because I had a very revealing insight on my first day of using the journal. Each day begins with a quote, elegantly written on the lefthand page, and then on the righthand page are three prompts that draw out your own thoughts related to the quote. The first day’s quote was from Schiller: “Keep true to the dreams of your youth.” And then the first prompt asked me to finish the sentence, “When I was younger I wanted to….” The first thing that came to my mind was my desire as a child and young adult to live abroad. That wasn’t so surprising to me, and is something I’ve done a fair amount of. But then I wrote down what I had wanted to do abroad when I was a child: “to be a missionary and share God’s love with people.”
Being a missionary is a dream I haven’t thought about for some time, probably since I became an atheist at age 20. Or when I did think about it after that, it was simply as a relic of my conservative Christian past. How quaint that I once wanted to tell other people about Jesus! But I realized, in writing this down in Chasing Your Dream, that there is a kernel of that dream that is still there, a kernel that has perhaps been swelling of late, about to germinate.
In the last six years, I’ve had some very spiritual experiences, experiences that have convinced me that there is way more to this world than my mechanistic, atheistic view of the world ever allowed. These experiences have filled my life with an awe and a joy that I have found it very hard not to share with other people. And I wonder: isn’t that the kind of love that as a child I envisioned sharing as a missionary? Am I perhaps living in the beginnings of the fulfillment of that dream: getting to share with others the amazing hope that comes from a real live encounter with the divine?
All that to say I am finding this journal incredibly helpful in drawing out the insights and intuitions that have been lying dormant in my heart. And I highly recommend it to anyone who could use a little more clarity about their purpose and meaning in life–all of us, I imagine!
Let me leave you with a line from the author’s introduction to Section 1 of the journal. It’s an observation that I, too, have found to be true, and my mother puts it very well: “whatever makes your heart race has the potential to change your life.” This journal is an excellent tool for finding those heart-racing moments.