Do you remember when you were a kid and imagined all of the cool things you could be or do?  So many thoughts of astronauts, or lion tamers, or ballerinas, or football players; of going to the moon, or hitting a home run, or discovering a new type of animal, or inventing a great new gadget.  Once upon a time, we actually believed that we were “wonderfully and fearfully made,” that we could do anything we could imagine or dream.  Then, something tragic happens to almost every child: we’re told to stop being silly, to stop daydreaming so much, to get serious and accept our limitations.  “Only truly special or talented or lucky people can do those things that you are talking about.”  We resist, we fight, we try to hold on, until the weight of everyone’s opinions and doubts crush our dreams.  When those dreams die, a little part of us dies along with them.  And we accept it as normal, as they way things are supposed to be, and we move on into the limitations that others have placed on us, and rarely think back on what we really wanted, or think anymore about those silly little dreams.

It’s all too easy to believe the limitations.  After all, it seems like so few people are ever really happy, or spend their time doing something that they love.  Most of us dread Monday mornings because we have to go back to work.  We get excited on Wednesday because the week is half over, and we get downright giddy when Friday comes along and we get a whole weekend to do whatever we want (which too often means sitting around doing nothing).  Growing up, I never heard anyone say that they loved – or even enjoyed – their jobs.  Yet they continued to stay in that job, year after year, simply accepting that work was supposed to be just that – work.  So it’s ingrained in us that working a job is a necessary evil that one needs to do in order to survive in this world.  It’s something to be tolerated, but not something to look forward to.

Why?  Why do we allow this to happen?  We are God’s highest creation!  The human mind is amazing, and we are capable of unbelievable things.  But they should not be unbelievable.  The simple fact that one person has ever been able to successfully follow their dreams is all the proof that we need that we can achieve our dreams as well.  Maybe we can’t be a professional quarterback, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot achieve a level of success that allows us to create the kind of lives that would make professional athletes envious.  We need to “unlearn” all of the harmful, limiting beliefs that have been foisted upon us by society, and embrace the fact that we are capable of so much more.  But the first step is believing that we can be, do and have much more than we are currently allowing ourselves to believe.

My wife and I have 9 biological children, and we are in the process of adopting a teenage girl from an orphanage in China.  We have been criticized for having so many children, criticized by people we love.  I honestly can’t remember the last time people seemed genuinely excited or happy for us that we were having another child.  I’ve had people that I only casually know tell me that I needed to stop having children.  I understand that most people think that they don’t have the money, or the space, or the patience, or fill-in-the-blank-with-any-other-excuse-you-can-think-of, but just because they have chosen to limit themselves does not mean that I accept their limits for my life.  I don’t say that with an air of superiority, or that I think I’m better than anyone else, because I’m not, but I cannot live my life based on others opinions or limiting thoughts.

No one should allow others to steal their dreams.  I know we’re fighting an uphill battle on this front, because, let’s face it, we aren’t taught to think in these terms.  We’re taught limits.  But if God has not seen fit to place such limits on us, why should we let others?

I want to thrive, not just survive.

– Mark