Almost a year ago, I was caught in the endless maze of “following my dreams.” I wanted to be a famous singer/songwriter, and many of my friends told me, “Follow your heart,” “Do it while you’re young!,” and “Take a leap of faith!” Everytime I heard one of these well-meaning motivational quotes, I’d nod my head and think, “Yeah! I got this.” The problem was… I didn’t have it.
For over a year, my wife and I were barely getting by. I made some money, but I wasn’t super proud of my four figure salary. We had car repair bills looming on our Visa and a stack of late cell phone bills.
I hate debt, and I knew that God promises to give wisdom to anyone who asks.
So I started asking.
When Wisdom Hurts
Shortly after my quest for wisdom began, three things happened in rapid succession. 1) I was prompted to read a chapter of Proverbs for 60 days straight. 2) In all of my prayer times, the only phrase that came to me while I listened to the Lord was, “Get a job!” 3) My best friend, Gabe, had the guts to tell me, “God is good. He’s our Provider. If he’s not providing through music right now, maybe it’s time to try something else.”
Ouch! I was receptive to advice, but “maybe it’s time to try something else” knocked the wind out of me. During that conversation with Gabe, I remember forcing myself to intentionally smile and maintain eye contact to give off a vibe of teachability. The truth is I didn’t want his advice, and my thoughts were racing. “How can I give up songwriting? I’m good at it. It’s the only thing I’m good at. What else would I do if I could do something else? I’m not good at anything else. I don’t have any other skills. I’ve been doing it for so long. I was born to do it. No, that can’t be right… It feels like I’m… trapped.”
At that moment, I began to realize that my dream of being a full-time songwriter had evolved into a nightmare. I had made an unspoken vow to follow my dream regardless of the cost to my health, my finances, or my family. The scottish trust deed I had set up to repay the loan was going according to plan as I was paying a small amount monthly to the lenders and I could see that I was getting back into handling my finances. It was my god, plain and simple.
How to Own Your Dreams
After this devastating realization, I didn’t wake up the next day and get everything right. In fact, I struggled some days. But eventually, after months of prayer and searching for more wisdom, God gave me a great job – two great jobs actually. And my wife and I are two months away from being debt free. We’re pumped!
I heard a quote on Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership Podcast a couple of months ago. The guest on the show said, “Don’t follow your passion. Take it with you wherever you go.” I’m still writing songs, but now I write them because I love to write. I’m no longer trapped by my dream. I rule it, and I take it with me wherever I choose to go.
James 1 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” When I started asking God for wisdom, I thought that He was going to give me a quick way to start making money with music. Instead, he highlighted some principles that I’d love to share with you.
When You Stop Following Your Dreams…
God’s wisdom for me wasn’t an instantly tweetable quote. In fact, it felt more like a wound, and the scar from it is still tender. I didn’t post a quick status update when I found wisdom, because at first, it wasn’t encouraging. As time goes on, His wisdom becomes deeper and more satisfying than anything I can express in a social media summary. God’s wisdom doesn’t always sound good. But, no matter how I feel, I know it is good.
He showed me, if I follow my dreams, eventually, they’ll become my nightmares. If I follow my passion, eventually it’ll become my tyrant. If I just do what feels right, eventually I’ll start sacrificing what I know is right.
But if I follow God and trust His Word, He’ll always give me the passion to serve Him and others. He’ll give me dreams that are bigger than myself and my own success. And He’ll give me the wisdom to know what’s right in any situation.
More from Rob at flashmafiamusic.com.
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(Photo by Craig Pennington)