I sat cross legged in the floor of our rental house in Nashville and tried not to cry.
Maybe the wine was making me weepy.
Or maybe it was the fact that I felt like quitting again. A dull ache had been gnawing at the corners of my confidence longer than I cared to get clear about.
I’d failed to hit every online “goal” the coach had set for me the past year.
I’d done my best to keep feelings of defeat at bay. To keep pushing onward. But I had to face the reality of it.
I’d been pursuing the Purpose Dweller gig for a few years.
It started out as a 9-week course designed to help people heal from religious drama and find daily purpose. I was using it locally with my counseling clients and friends.
The decision to take it online was a big one. It came through lots of time, prayer, discussion, and discernment.
When I finally said, “yes,” I felt like I was setting out to fulfill a dream. I hired a web developer and went to work with great expectations. I paid coaches and marketing experts to help me along the way.
I did everything “by the book” to set the dream up for success, but things didn’t go as planned.
In hindsight, if I had known up front how demanding the process would be, I might have skipped it. (I might have sat down in a lawn chair, popped a top, propped my feet up on a cooler and read a good book instead.)
Here’s the thing I’ve learned about dreams-
They are not full grown vegetation of a specific kind. There is no picture on the outer package promising what they will mature into.
They come as seeds.
Dream seeds sprout over time- after we agree to dig the hole.
While we commit to…
Churn the soil.
Work through the shit to add ample fertilizer…
…Which brings me back to the hardwood floor of a rental house in Nashville, trying not to cry.
Wondering why my dream has been woolly and hard to weed. Wondering why, the methods and rules that seem to work for other dream gardeners, don’t work the same for me.
I felt so stuck.
My friends were worried about me leaving without clarity. Without a plan.
But I had grown used to this feeling of failing. I assured them the windshield time on the nine hour drive home would help clear my head.
I spent many of the miles spinning in the same circles, but somewhere around exit 83, it hit me.
I’ve followed the rules and tried fitting in all my life. But honestly, “fitting in” suffocates and constricts me, like wearing clothes three sizes too small.
What “should be” by traditional standards and expectations rarely “is,” in my personal experience.
The truth is- I am a misfit.
An oddball. An outlier.
But also a strange sort of maverick at times.
On the drive that day, I finally said, “That’s okay.”
And I can mostly see that it’s better than “okay.”
Because the BIG win in pursuing a dream that didn’t go as planned the last two years is-
YOU. You are the success.
Others who feel misfitty and maverick-ish too.
Unsure the world is ready for us to engage with our honest observations and provocative questions.
I know you by your emails.
Your insights. Your questions. Your comments. Your stories. Your hearts. Your dreams.
And through getting to know you, I’ve come to see and know and trust Jesus, the Master Maverick and Chief Misfit, even more deeply.
Which brings to my mind and causes me to remember, that everything will be okay for us.
The world needs us to be the mavericks and misfits we really are.
There is a necessary place for those of us who feel called to walk in the way of the maverick and the misfit.
It’s a path marked by Love. Transparency. Humility. Courage. Kindness. Compassion. Open-mindedness. It’s a path also marked by angst, anxiety, contradiction, criticism, doubt, disappointment, fear, and failure at times.
And still… in all of that… we keep walking. Keep pushing. Keep serving. Keep believing. Keep becoming.
Many of us in the Purpose Dweller community feel like mavericks and misfits for a gazillion reasons, in umpteen thousand different ways. Yet, it’s not our differences that define us a tribe, rather it’s our spirit of power, love and self-discipline.
The real deal- not the dream.
Life is more complicated than most people care to admit.
You and I know it’s hard. And we’ve made our peace with that, I think. We are ready to do whatever is necessary, because we understand a life well-lived is marked by the road less traveled.
So we keep making our misfitty and maverick-ish choices-
Listening longer and deeper to the stories of others when the world says we should judge and react already.
Building bridges where the world expects us to take sides.
Placing relationships way above being “right.”
Maintaining safe spaces for the hard questions inherent in being human.
Stopping, breathing, and asking, “What is the most loving thing I can do next?” One situation at a time.
And for me, this is what the dream is growing into.
Thank you for tending it with me.
There are new buds on the dream and I look forward to watching it bloom with you!
If you’re reading along for the first time, you can request to join our private Facebook group- The Purpose Dweller Family Table here.
Also published on Medium.