I love watching American Idol auditions. If I had to choose between The Voice and Idol, I would choose The Voice, but last night as I watched young, hopeful artists live out their dream, bravely laying their art out there, I felt inspired. I cried with those who cried as they listened to words of affirmation of their gift. 

I watched Jennifer Lopez tip toe around rejecting their art while matter-of-fact Harry Connick Jr. shot straight. She would say “yes”, Harry would say “no”, then the decision was left in the hands of Keith Urban. In one of those situations, while one vulnerable 15-year-old stood waiting for the validation he had dreamed of, Lopez said to Keith, “his dream is in your hands. Don’t kill his dream.” His response came quickly, “if it’s his true dream, nobody can kill it.” 

I totally agree. I remember telling my son with an injured knee that if long jumping was in God’s plan for him, this one season of injury would not end it all. It it’s his “true dream, nobody can kill it.”  Actually, I don’t totally agree.

I think that 15-year-old boy could go home and bury his dream because he did not receive the ticket to Hollywood, validation from the judges. He could choose to let his dream die. It comes down to what he believes about himself, his dream, and the one who put it there.

What we believe about ourselves and about God will determine, in many ways, the direction of our lives. For example, if I believe that God is expecting something from me, judging my every move, disappointed and angry with me, I will live in fear, frustration, and performance. If, however, I live in the freedom of his grace, believing he has placed a dream in me; a way that I can display his glory in a way that only I can, then I will live joyfully, confidently, and in dependence on him.

There will always be those who say, “no” to us and our dreams. Whether I am displaying God’s glory as a full-time wife and mommy or as a writer, there will be critics. Am I living the dream that God placed in me for the critics or for him? If I am living in the truth of who God says I am, then the opinions of those watching will not kill me. 

I’m reading a great book called A Milllion Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman. She also wrote a book that had a huge impact on my journey to freedom, called Grace for the Good Girl. In this book, she shares eight statements we say to ourselves that keep us from showing up fully to our dream, our calling. If some of these ring true to you, maybe you could be changed by pursuing your identity in Christ, understanding who he is and who he has made you to be.

1. I’m not cut out for this.
2. Someone else could do it better.
3. People might not like it.
4. I have nothing to offer.
5. I hate my calling.
6. It’s a waste of time.
7. It’s too much work.
8. Who do you think you are?

If you are waiting for the golden ticket, the praise of others, the applause of the world, stop. Stop waiting and start a journey to freedom. Seek to find out your true identity, affirmation from the one who created you. He had a dream of you and he has a dream for you. You may be right in the middle of it, you just don’t recognize it. Though you may not see it as his dream, your whole perspective could change when you know who you are. 

No one can kill our dream, but we can surely let it die. This world does not hold the answers. Go to the one who does.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. 
Proverbs 3:5-6