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This one is for the dreamers. Could it be that the painful, confusing dissatisfaction we experience in our comfort zone of common sense, is meant to send us running through the doorway of hapless dreaming, shouting like a lunatic, trampling down every terrifying giant that stands in the way of our destiny?!
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Letter from the Editor:
Getting Out of the Shire

I'll never forget the first time I saw a sea of sparkling glow-sticks waving in the dark at a Taylor Swift concert. Illuminated like electric jellyfish, every excited fan held high an emblem of light in the ocean of excitement. 

I felt my stomach do several flip-flops, as I realized I was gnawing on my fingernails. I was so nervous for her! I imagined what it might be like to step solo onto a stage, where thousands of twinkling eyes watched your every move...and I was so anxious! 

The roar of bottled-up energy exploded when Taylor walked onstage, burst through my television set, and made me feel as if I were there.  In that moment, I knew my story would be similar to Taylor's. The tale of an unsuspecting underdog who takes over the world. 

Just like Miss Swift, I have always been a dreamer. 

If you're not familiar with Taylor's story, and all you see is her sparkly dresses and armloads of CMA awards, it may be easy to roll your eyes and think, “What did she do to reach such success?” Maybe a better question to ask yourself is, "What didn't she do?"

She sacrificed precious social time to attend songwriting classes, knocked on every door in Music Row, played guitar for unthinkable hours, and perhaps most importantly...she believed. The vision of playing her music to sold out stadiums consumed her thoughts until they had no choice but to turn into reality.  She believed she was a superstar long before anyone else did. 

In the same way, my imagination daily carries me to far off, radical scenarios. My heart travels and lingers in such glorious places, in which practical common sense would scold and arrest me for thinking so BIG.  

My toughest critics (doubt, fear, and the opinions of those around me) attempt to shoot fiery darts at my wildest dreams.  Doubt says it will never happen, fear whispers all the ways I could fail, and worrying about what other people think can keep my mouth shut tight. If I'm not careful, I could let these dreams lie dormant for years, locked in a cage, the doors sealed together with an icy layer of frozen insecurity. 

There was a time in my life, a few years ago, when I was afraid to open my mouth and speak about my dreams. Sure, I would tell people the realistic things, the un-laughable, practical things...but I kept my deepest desires to myself, pretty confident that my friends would think I was NUTS. 

I never told anyone that I wanted my life to influence millions,  tostart my own magazine and TV show, record an album, go on tour, write books, build orphanages, take busloads of underprivileged kids to Disney World, own a library and an ice cream parlor, and open a school.   

When extended family members asked me what I planned on doing after graduating high school, my eyes grew wide with fear. What in the world was I going to tell them?! 

After seeing Joseph's example in the Bible, I figured I should keep my lips zipped. (When Joseph told his brothers about his prophetic dream, that he would one day be their ruler, they “despised Joseph, and hated him all the more.”) 

I had a choice to make. 

If I refused to confront fear and embrace my impossible dreams, I might have ended up like those folks who wait until retirement to do what they've wanted to do their whole lives. 

If I ignored my dreams and never let them blossom, for fear of what might happen if they burst out of control...my heart might have become ill. 

Proverbs says, “A desire fulfilled is a tree of life, but hope deferred makes the heart sick.” 

There are too many sick, depressed hearts walking around, wishing they could make a move and pursue the life they've always hoped for, but are too afraid to do it. 

Imagine the horror if Cinderella never left her home, for fear that she wasn't good enough to be a royal. What a tragic ending to her story. What if Walt Disney never sketched his first mouse, despising such meager beginnings? 
What if Bethany Hamilton (a pro surfer whose arm got ripped off by a shark) never got back in the water because of fear that something horrible might happen again? If any of these dreamers had ignored what their hearts longed to do, settled down and got a “regular” job, their spirits would have been crushed. 

Every human has a choice. We can choose to pursue our dreams, set out on wild and wonderful adventures, slay giants, conquer fear, and fulfill our destines. OR, we can hide, tucked away; sitting in our little house of tiny mindsets, clinging to our hankies of control and obsessing over our mother's fine dish set, insisting on the old way of life. Like The Hobbit, sometimes we are afraid to step out the front door of our comfort zone, expand our territory, and set out on a real adventure. 

Someone once said, “You can either fall off the couch and die. Or, you can go mountain climbing and die.” 

A little dramatic, I know, but the case is made. 

Isaiah 54:2-3 says: “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left...” 

In 1 Chron 4:10 Jabez cried out to the Lord, “Oh that you would bless me and expand my territory!” 

Jabez was counted among the crazy dreamers. He wasn't going to settle for life in a hobbit hole, living a small, average existence. Jabez knew he needed to be stretched out, expanded, lengthened, and strengthened....like every dreamer does. And so, he prayed for mental enlargement. He prayed for courage to get out of the Shire.   

“Ptsh, well that's a selfish prayer.” One might say, “We need to be content with our lives, and where God has placed us. Don't go asking for more. Maybe God doesn't want your dreams to come true at all.” 

Hmm...does that sound like our Heavenly Father? Why would He place a desire so deeply within us, something that is woven into our very DNA, then deny us the fulfillment of it? 

 A good Father doesn't show his daughter her Christmas presents all wrapped up, then throw them in the trash. That would be twisted and evil, and we know that there is no darkness or shifting shadow in God. If our blazing heart's desires are interpreted as evil selfishness that needs to be quenched, and foolishness to be thrown away, then it's no wonder so many people are miserable in this world.   

Have we ever paused to ask, "Who gives us these dreams?"

What causes the painter to paint, the singer to sing, and the doctor to heal?  Who is the Author of these wild notions? 

It is God who works and wills in us, to do good works, which He prepared in advance for us to do. If God is the One who causes our hearts to wake in the morning, and gifts our hearts with the energy to write a book, record an album, feed the hungry, clothe orphans, create new jewelry designs...doesn't He have something to do with it?

Could it be that our dreams are actually His dreams? 

Could it be, that just like in the Hobbit, our comfy little homes of ho-hum life, have been bombarded by a calling to go explore? Could it be that the painful, confusing dissatisfaction we experience in our comfort zone of common sense, is meant to send us running through the doorway of hapless dreaming, shouting like a lunatic, trampling down every terrifying giant that stands in the way of our destiny?!

Nothing we have is our own. Everything about us comes from our Creator...every good idea, every brilliant invention, and every tender thought of love to make someone else's life better.

He is the Author of Love, and the Author of our childhood dreams.   

Sister, it's time we get out of the Shire. Adventure is out there. 

Don't allow big ugly monsters of doubt, or fire breathing dragons of man's opinion, keep you locked up. There is a whole land of adventures, whimsical dreams, and courageous moments awaiting you. 

So be brave, and take heart my valiant sister! Take up your heavenly weapons, and lift high the shield of radical faith. Take the fearless stance of Joshua and remind yourself of these words spoken from Heaven. 

“Be strong and very courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be terrified. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” 

 A land of promise is spread out before you. Are you ready to leave the Shire? 








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