Several years ago I started a blog.
It was my personal attempt to make a step toward my higher purpose in life, or rather search for it.
Blogging offered me an outlet to dust of my dreams that had laid hidden in the recesses of my mind and start taking steps toward achieving them.
By the time I graduated high school I realized I grew up a lot.
My entrée into adulthood, a.k.a. “adulting”, meant getting a job, having a relationship, paying bills, furthering my education and spending whatever time I had left over with friends and family.
Notice, however, that my carefully curated to-do list of adulting didn’t mention anything about chasing my dreams. Instead, that stuff fell off the wagon when I walked across the stage to receive my high school diploma.
Musings of a professional dreamer
I spent the majority of my high school career as a professional dreamer. I was always wishing I could be somewhere else, some magical place with super inspirational people, doing inspirational things, and living a great life.
I spent time blogging pictures of lavish travel destinations. I wrote music and lyrics, daily. I even attempted to write stories and books. I also managed to play my guitar at a local pizza parlor on Friday nights, and participate in talent shows. I listened to music as if it gave me breath.
My friends and I would drive through town blasting Mayday Parade and sticking our heads out of the sunroof. We dedicated our Summers to concerts, the beach and exploration.
That was my life.
A life without responsibility or the need to “adult”. No pressure. No heartache. No setbacks. Freedom to dream and find inspiration in everything. It was a very happy time.
What happened to those dreams?
Fast forward to graduation (a year or so ago) I decided to paint a drastically different picture.
I worked full-time in a job I liked, but didn’t love. I sat through night classes to build a career I wasn’t passionate about. I also was in a relationship that completely drained me.
My friends were pushed aside to the curb of my busy life. My family would briefly see me for 30 minutes each night before I went to sleep. And I barely scraped by paying bills.
I painfully realized that I had no time or money for anything exciting. And to top it all off, I became an expert at making excuses. I allowed my busy, yet non-purposeful life, to dictate my thoughts and my motivation.
I was miserable. And I let myself get that way. I was stuck in a daily routine of busyness, without effectiveness. My days were filled completely to the brim with stuff, but I wondered: How much of that stuff really contributed to me as a person? As a Christian? As a human being, set apart, and put on this earth for a divine reason, created with gifts and talents and desires to be used and shared with the world?
I’ll tell you: None of it!
Friends, it’s so easy to get sucked in to the mundane. To get to a point where your only purpose is to get up, go to work, and go to sleep.
And sometimes you do it for so long, it’s all you know. And maybe you feel okay with it, but you never stop long enough to ask yourself, “Am I happy?”
God pulled me out of that thinking real quick once I realized what I had been doing with my life. I can’t tell you how many times I turned down something out of fear. The number of times I bailed on a trip, or sat out on something fun, just “because”.
The fast track to a life without purpose
I used to complain incessantly about my life, with no intention of doing anything about it!
When I realized who I had been … the giver-uper, the bailer, the unreliable, boring, excuse-making person — I got angry. I didn’t want to be remembered this way!
If I die tomorrow, I want to be able to say with confidence that I did something that mattered.
I loved people.
I took that trip.
I talked to that person.
I wrote that book.
I sang that song.
I poured my heart out on a regular basis.
I never quit on myself, my dreams, and most importantly, on God.
If I die tomorrow, I want God to say He’s proud of me. I want my friends and family to remember me as someone who made an impact. Someone not easily forgotten.
I don’t want to go another day wasting my time on the things that don’t matter (thanks, Lara Casey).
I don’t want to go another second living a life that brings me no joy and no intentional living. I’m done.
I’m mad at fear. I’m mad at stagnancy. I hate the lies that we let ourselves believe — the very lies that rip our dreams from our fingertips.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
It’s time to take your dreams back
I decided to take my dreams back. I’m going full force from here on out (and you should too)!
There will be weak days. There will be days I can’t stand myself, where I am or what I’m doing (or not doing). I will fall. I will cry. But there’s one thing that won’t change in the midst of my own fears and weaknesses, and that’s my purpose.
Not my perfection, but my purpose. The purpose God planted deep into me long ago. The one I’m watering now. And every day I’m closer and closer.
Living a life of purpose is more than a cheesy saying. It’s the difference between misery and joy, heartache and revelation and mundane living vs. living a life that matters … doing things that impact others.
That is what brings happiness and fulfillment, even on the down days. I’m taking on this life, and I’ve learned I can make it happen.
If you’re reading this from your NYC apartment, a cafe in Europe, or as you sit in your office staring out at the streets of Missouri, your purpose is inside of you.
Don’t give up on that life. It’s waiting for you.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Sydne Acton is a 23-year-old lover, laugher and God-chaser. California born and raised. Administrative Assistant by day and dream-pursuer by night. Learning to throw her fears out of the window a day at a time.