Ready to Dream Again

Passion and Promise

An open schedule can paralyze me. Instead of pursuing all the personal projects I’ve been putting off, I usually just watch TV, take naps, and generally waste time. I lose my sense of direction. I have been putting off a lot of things lately: Moving preparations, applying for my new visa, buying a keyboard, finding piano students…the list goes on.

Instead of taking hold of this next season of my life, I have been dragging my feet.

But on Friday night, I got shaken awake. It was during one of those powerful Friday night prayer meetings I am always mentioning. After the message that night, the speaker asked us to recall promises God has spoken to us, and I suddenly remembered how God spoke to me over 6 months ago and told me I was going to be a piano teacher in Korea. It was during a morning subway ride to language class, and God’s voice, though not audible, was unmistakable.

You are going to be a piano teacher in Korea, and your students are going to love you.

It was before I knew for sure I was staying here, it was while dreams and ideas were just floating around in my head and I wasn’t sure what to make of them. And yes, I cried.

I don’t know how I had forgotten about that, but I guess now that I knew for sure that my plan was to teach piano here, I had started to think of it as just that: my plan. The part about it being God’s promise completely slipped my mind.

So that reminder was powerful. But then it got even better.

Blessing and Anointing

Near the end of the night, my pastor called two groups up to the altar for prayer: people who work in the business world and people who have aspirations in the entertainment industry. I briefly wondered whether I belonged up there with the entertainment people, but I quickly told myself, “No, you’re just a teacher, your focus is education.”

But as my pastor began praying for entertainment industry people, proclaiming a powerful prayer over the group that made me double over in my seat, I asked myself again, “Do I belong up there?”

I thought about the secret song-writing dreams that have been stirring in my heart recently. I thought about the way God keeps telling me not to just assume my performance career is over. I thought about the picture a woman in my Sunday School class drew for me last week of me performing an original composition, composed by me, on the piano. And I asked God, “Should I go up there?”

I felt God answer, You may not be sure of what your future holds or have a concrete plan to enter the entertainment industry, but if you want to receive blessing and anointing for these dreams in your heart, go up.

So I went. I was scared, afraid I didn’t belong up there, afraid I was being presumptuous or ridiculous. But I went.

As I stood up on the stage, waiting for my pastor to come bless me, the lies came.

You don’t belong up here. Just look at the other people on stage with you. Look at how ugly you are compared to them. Your pastor isn’t going to have anything to pray over you. When he sees you, he is going to wonder why in the world you are here. 

I was shaking with fear. I felt ugly, confused, and afraid I was making a fool of myself. But then 1 John 4:8 cut through the lies:

There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.

I clung to that verse. I told myself, “Even if I made a mistake in coming up here, I have nothing to fear.” I repeated it over and over to myself. “There is nothing fear, there is nothing to fear.”

And then I remembered that it hadn’t been my idea to come up here in the first place. I had come to the front because I felt prompted to by God. In that moment, I realized how quick I am to put myself down, to shut down my ideas for the future, to assume I wasn’t made for anything great. I realized that the swiftness with which I say, “I’m not a performer, just a teacher. I never wanted to be a performer,” was me making myself small. My habit of saying, “No, I don’t write music, that just isn’t me,” was me putting limitations on myself. And in that moment, something broke inside me.

I told God, “I’ll do whatever you call me to. Even if it means being in the spotlight, even if it’s bigger and more public than I ever imagined, even if it’s something I’ve never done before or never thought I could do. I will be obedient to you.” And then I burst into tears.

When my pastor finally reached me, I was still a little worried about what he would say, but he immediately declared:

“The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I come that you may have life and have it to the full!” John 10:10

Wow. That was exactly what had been happening up on that stage and in my life. The enemy was trying to steal my passions, kill my hope, and destroy who I was.

My pastor didn’t pray for increased creativity or inspiration for song-writing (which he prayed over me several months ago and which I half-expected him to repeat), he released life over me, something I didn’t expect, but exactly what I needed. He declared I was filled with life and meant to release life into the entertainment industry.

When I had just finished recovering from that prayer, his wife prayed for me too. “It’s time to dream big again,” she said.

Daring to Dream

By this point, everyone else had returned to their seats. Closing words were being given. We were the only two people still on stage. So when she whispered in my ear, “No more limitations, no more boundaries, it’s time to dream big. This is going to be a time of moving forward for you,” everyone could see my face scrunch up in emotion, but I didn’t care.

I was completely absorbed in receiving.

Do I think I’m destined to be a famous singer/song-writer or concert pianist? I don’t know. But I am no longer dismissing those kind of ideas from the realm of possibility. I am done limiting myself, confining myself to ideas that seem reasonable or safe. I am done succumbing to fear or smallness, done succumbing to the voice that says hiding is better than taking a risk. I am ready to dream big. I am ready to explore my creative potential. And I am ready to be used by God however God desires to use me.

First step: Buy a keyboard this week.

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Elizabeth walks by faith in a complex world. She values the beauty of the everyday and strives for vulnerability with other imperfect humans. Amidst her frequent bouts of laughter, tears, and adventures in nature, she is constantly learning, growing, pondering, and finding herself in awe of grace.

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