I Had a Dream… Once.

I’m currently obsessed with dreams. Scratch that. I’ve always been obsessed with dreams. I think that’s the root of my fascination with fairytales. But lately my obsession has been a little more pronounced. I’m thinking about dreams on a daily basis. And not just my own dreams. A blogger friend of mine just announced that she quit her day job to pursue a dream and I literally started bouncing up and down in excitement.

That’s how much dreams thrill me.

So, there’s this scene in Tangled (if you haven’t seen it yet, you need to) where Rapunzel asks some rough-looking guys in a tavern if they’ve ever had a dream. And one exceptionally scary-looking guy says, “I had a dream once.” And then, because it’s an animated fairytale, he bursts into song declaring that he always wanted to be a concert pianist. This opens the stage for all of the other guys to start sharing the dreams they never lived until they send Rapunzel off with an encouragement to go live her dream. It’s actually all very inspiring except… Except you realize that they’re still there. In the tavern. Not living their dreams.

So maybe I’m young and naive and yet to face any serious disappointment, but I just can’t imagine doing anything other than what I feel like I was made to do. I can’t imagine spending the rest of my life just getting by while the spark of a dream flickers in my heart. I can’t imagine just letting my dreams die.

That’s why the next book that is churning in my head has everything to do with keeping hope alive. And that’s why I’ve asked a few incredible ladies to share their stories with you in the weeks to come. Because we weren’t made to dream alone.  And sometimes all it takes to keep us pressing onward is a little bit of encouragement from someone who has been there.

So prepare for a month of dreams.

New Life

“I could go running, and racing, and dancing, and chasing, and leaping, and bounding, hair flying, heart pounding, and splashing, and reeling, and finally feeling – now’s when my life begins!”

That song from Disney’s Tangled came to my mind as I danced down the road the other night. Yes, you read that right – danced. What started out as a brisk walk on a perfect autumn evening turned into a wonder-struck worship-fest complete with singing and twirling and running and giggling… There was even a cartwheel or two thrown in there.

Anyone who may have been looking out their window at the moment probably thought I was completely insane – and maybe they’re right – but I honestly didn’t care who might be watching. When Jesus gets a hold of your heart like that, nothing else matters.

When Jesus came and walked the earth, He said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) As I danced down the road the other night, all the chaos from earlier that day fell away and I felt myself being infused with new life.

It’s amazing how easily we fall into the mundane routine of life. Incredible how easy it is to forget that we were meant for so much more than sitting in a tower like Rapunzel did for most of her life.

Then Jesus shows up again, inviting us to dance with reckless abandon. And “for like the first time ever I’m completely free… feeling now’s when my life begins.”

Life Begins Now

7 AM, the usual morning lineup:
Start on the chores and sweep ’til the floor’s all clean
Polish and wax, do laundry, and mop and shine up
Sweep again, and by then it’s like 7:15.

And so I’ll read a book
Or maybe two or three
I’ll add a few new paintings to my gallery
I’ll play guitar and knit
And cook and basically
Just wonder when will my life begin?

Thus begins Disney’s Tangled. These words launch Rapunzel into the adventure of a lifetime – the only adventure our heroine has ever experienced.

I find it interesting that Rapunzel was still waiting for her life to begin at sixteen years of age. It’s easy to assume that her life couldn’t begin until Flynn rescued her from the tower, but if you’ll look again, you’ll see that Rapunzel was the one who let herself down from the tower.

So here is the irony of Rapunzel’s opening song: she was always the one who held the power to make her life begin. It wasn’t that life couldn’t begin, but that it wouldn’t begin because it was fear that kept Rapunzel in that tower all those years.

I believe that many of us are just like Rapunzel, staring out the window at an unfamiliar world, wondering when our lives will begin. Some of us will stare out that window our entire lives, never daring to leave the prison we call home. Some of us will never take the first step, never dare to leave the tower and feel the cool grass on our toes.

I pray that you will be one who will pursue your dreams. The world is unfolding before you. The possibilities are endless. What will you choose to do with your life?

It doesn’t matter how young (or old) you are; it’s never too early (or late) for life to begin. No matter how long you’ve waited or how many mistakes you’ve made, today is a new day.

So come now, Rapunzel, let down your hair. Climb down from your tower and let the adventure begin.

Life begins now.

Tangled Dreams

The other night, I watched one of my favorite fairytales come to life. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical. There are, after all, thousands of ways to mess up a fairytale. How would the big screen convey this classic tale that is so dear to my heart? In a world that vies for true love’s kiss, what will they do with the tears that restore sight to a blind man? But Disney, much to my delight, pulled off the retelling of Rapunzel quite masterfully. While she was much different than I always imagined, I found her Disney persona to be just as endearing as the storybook heroine I fell in love with many years ago. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the entire movie, I find that one scene keeps replaying in my mind…

Rapunzel and Flynn have reached the Festival of Lights. Our heroine leans against the edge of the rowboat, stares into the sky, and confesses that she’s nervous. This moment is all she’s dreamed of for sixteen years. What if it isn’t everything she’s imagined it to be?

“It will be,” a confident Flynn replies.

This makes Rapunzel think of an even worse fate. What if it is everything she’s dreamed it to be? After tonight, her lifelong dream is over. What will she do then?

According to Flynn, the best part of the dream is the end, because you get to choose a new one.

Wise words coming from a man who claims he doesn’t have a dream, much less ever fulfilled one. But there it is. Straight from the mouth of Flynn Rider. The end of one dream is the beginning of another.

I don’t know about you, but that’s something I needed to hear lately. I’m in the same boat as Rapunzel. As I’m on the verge of completing my first novel, I’m nervous about what the end of the dream holds. On one hand, I can’t wait to see this vision fully come to life, but at the same time, the thought of closing the final cover on these characters who have been a part of my reality for the past three years almost makes me want to cry.

I feel like God has laid before my eyes thousands of possibilities. “Pick a dream,” He says. How do I choose just one? How do I determine which is worthy of the next three years of my life?

I think that, just as it was with Flynn and Rapunzel, the answer will be quite clear. When the time comes, I’ll know which one is worth the sacrifice. And so will you.

Look at the dreams God weaves between His fingertips much like He weaved the stars in the sky. Pick one out and carry it close to your heart until the time comes for it to finally be released in all of its splendor.

Don’t dread the end of one dream; embrace the start of another.