Birthing the Dream

Dreams are easy to talk about, but they’re more difficult to do.

A dream must be birthed, then cultivated, cared for. Like a seed in the ground, it needs nourishment—from multiple sources—to break free of the tough dirt and sprout above the earth. A dream needs roots, roots that reach deep and anchor it, no matter the storms. It needs a caretaker, a gardener—someone who will take proactive measures to ensure it doesn’t die, but rather buds, grows, and flourishes.

Deciding to Dream

Ally in Reno snow

Northern Nevada: in my element

In January, I chose “Dream” to be my theme for the year. I’d tossed around ideas like Move, Simplify, and Hope. But Dream was the most daunting. That would require work, and through it, all other ideas would be achieved.

So I decided to dream.

Pretty soon, life began to change. Anthony and I felt our time as residents of Reno, Nevada, would be ending soon. I’d been in that town for seven years. We were involved in volunteer activities, loved our church family and local friends, and even considered buying a house.

But something in the back of our minds—rather in the corners of our hearts—rustled. We prayed and prayed and prayed. And we felt it—we are going to leave Reno.

Succumbing to Fear

Anthony and I debated our initial inklings. I continued to write articles about everything from cocktails to curtain designs to bring in money for bills and keep my freelance writing clients. Anthony continued to come home from his biomedical lab work distraught and drained.

Walden's latteOne Sunday afternoon, we sat across the table from a good friend, Ronnie, in one of our favorite Reno spots, Walden’s Coffeehouse. We’re not moving, we told him. There’s just too much on the line. Anthony has a stable job with good benefits. I can just keep flying to Las Vegas on weekends for work. We like it here. We’ll be fine.

Eyes wide, Ronnie missed his mouth and caught his chin in the milky foam of his tea. He plunked the ceramic mug to the tabletop.

“What I’m hearing right now is just a lot of fear.” He paused, wiped the edge of his short beard, then continued. Wherever you go, he said, whether you stay in Reno or move someplace else, God exists and He’s with you.

Discerning Safety Versus Security

Good friends’ words have a way of sticking with you. It was the challenge we needed. Several Sundays later, confirmation came.

4x4 trip with friends

To follow your dreams, be in community. Here’s part of ours: Ronnie, Colby, Anthony, me, and Claire. Snowballs help too.

An artistic fellow and friend, Colby, spoke with us after church. “I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between safety and security,” he said. Sometimes we choose what’s safe over what we’re intended to do and who we’re designed to become. That sets us upon a trajectory in a certain direction. When you choose safety over security, where does that path lead you?

Anthony and I thought about these words long and hard. It was time to go big or go home, we decided. We’d been going home for far too long. We opted to stop playing it safe.

Dreams Rewritten and Realized

When we chose to dream and we knew it was time for that dream to be realized, we discovered dreams pursued are not easy. They often don’t resemble the dynamics you expected. The framework shifts. The details are rewritten. But the core remains the same.

Los Angeles downtown skyline

Welcome to the downtown LA city skyline.

We dreamt of a place where I could work for a magazine and be surrounded by people to encourage. We wanted an opportunity that also would extract Anthony from a job that was killing him, to instead be in a place that would let him claim his dreams of being a writer—a fantasy novelist, to be exact.

We have found that place. Through a zany series of events, we pit-stopped in my hometown Las Vegas for three weeks, then landed full-time in Los Angeles, California.

It’s different, and sometimes it’s difficult when I think of the people we left behind in Nevada. But as my friend Natalie Rose wrote to me: “Change is hard. God is good.”

Now It’s Your Turn: Pans and Pickpockets Challenge

marigold sprouting

A dream must be birthed, then cultivated, cared for. Then, like a seed in the ground, it will bud, grow, and flourish.

Our dreams are becoming reality. I’d like to encourage you to determine your dreams too.

Start by seeking God with your whole heart. Determine your natural talents, and weigh if your dream is supported by these skills. Become prepared: in your emotional state, your developed talents, and amid a supportive community.

Then, be willing to wait for the right moment when God tells you it’s time at last.

Because the right dream, friends, it’s worth waiting for.

Leave a Comment: Scroll down and leave me a comment below.  I’d like to hear your dream. 

Words: Ally Siwajian

Photos: Ally Siwajian; group photo by Claire Stephens  © 2013

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14 thoughts on “Birthing the Dream

  1. Dream big and be stretched. That’s where your mom and I are as we get ready for an adventure that a month ago we couldn’t have imagined, much less dreamed! Love, Dad

  2. I can tell you that my dream is to be in Oregon – and I feel that I am getting closer to getting there, however, it is going to be a ways out yet – probably another year or 4. I was wanting to get to 5 years with the State of Nevada so I would vest in PERS (the retirement system), however, I feel that my mom and I are being called to eventually move to Oregon at the same time.

    • That’s so awesome, Bryce, that you’ve identified your dream! I like that you’re thinking about what it might take to get there and who shares your dream too. It would be amazing to move and still be with your family too! Excited for you and your mom as you explore with God what’s next in your journeys to Oregon.

  3. This is so wonderful to read, Ally! Totally agree with your last statement that it’s worth waiting for… I feel like we are at the starting point of living our dream, too. It took over a year (almost 2 years, actually) of dreaming, articulating, waiting, and praying before we jumped in down here in South Reno. To me, the funny thing about once you start living your dream is that you find it FUN. I love it. I cannot imagine ever possibly going back to the way things were. Even though I’m sure there’re plenty of people who think we are weird or crazy or whatever, it’s what we have dreamed about and we love it so much! The dream is still unraveling (at a much slower pace than I would have chosen), but I know God has a plan within our dream, too, so I’ll trust in his timing.

    • This is fantastic, Jessica! I love hearing about how you’re seeing a long-awaited dream come to fruition for you and Ben! Keep enjoying it and soaking in all the FUN of it. It’s inspiring to see how you have waited for the right moments and how you continue to trust God’s timing. I’m so excited for you!

  4. My dream is insane, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    I want to break the stereotype of Las Vegas being known as “Sin City” and bring a revolutionary revival by invading people’s hearts with God’s true, pure, love.

    How the heck am I going to do this? Notta clue. But that’s just the way God wants it, so it’s up to Him to do it. He’s the musician, I’m the guitar.

    • I can’t wait for your dream to become a radical reality in our hometown. Bring on the real love revolution! I’m rooting for you and what God will do through your willingness to follow however He calls!

  5. When we try to live a dream and control it at the same time if seems to fall short. However, when we let go of all control, give the whole thing to God, then we will live a dream beyond anything we could have imagined. Definitions of faith and trust seem to be the same thing in my mind. Still living the adventure!

    • Yeah! Keep living that adventure, Willie!

      I also like your note that we need to give all control to God. I’ve noticed in living my dream here in LA how easy it is to try to take control when the dream becomes tough. But you’ve really nailed it: Faith and trust need to be present. I’m going to aim to remember that, and let Him guide the next steps just as He led to get us here. Thanks for this awesome reminder!

  6. What a good blog this was, Ally! I am grateful that Willie and I got to meet and love you and Anthony in Reno as we pursued our dream before you guys left to pursue yours in LA. I know we will stay in touch over the future years. Keep blogging!

    • Yes, I am so glad we had the opportunity to get to know you both too in Reno! And I look forward to many more years to come! Thank you, Diane, for being such a source of encouragement and inspiration. I love you and Willie’s stories of the things you’ve seen God do all over the world, and I’m so grateful for your encouraging words to keep writing. Thank you, and enjoy your awesome dream!

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