Do you remember when you were a child and you would play make believe games involving your favorite fantasy characters? Or maybe it was just playing “doctor”. The first step in the game is to choose who each person wants to be. That is, of course, unless you have a true mind for fantasy and you allow yourself to be all the characters. (If you fit in that category, please know you are in good company!). As we continue to grow in life our fantasies change and, then, one day, we are just who we are. No more pretending to be Bart Starr (or Aaron Rogers) in the backyard; no more acting out the life of Princess Di (or Princess Kate) at a royal tea. So, what happens?
Laurence Boldt identifies the problem as the “Voice of Conformity.” He writes, “it’s the one that tells you that you must stay in line and follow the …pattern for your life…It’s the one that tells you that you must spend your life doing what you ‘should’ do instead of what you really want to do. It’s the one that tells you not to expect too much—that you will only be disappointed if you try to follow your dreams.” This captures the essence of the problem for me. I recognize that adults need to do what they need to do in order to meet the obligations of life, that we need to be responsible partners, parents and co-workers. But does that mean that we no longer get to choose who we will be? Is it all set out for us, the path we must follow? Or do we still get to decide who we want to be?
Kayla McClurg writes that Martin Luther King, Jr. “didn’t start out to be who he ended up being….His identity emerged gradually from within as he yielded to the guidance of the community and listened and prayed and read and participated and took risks of creativity.” She describes Rev. King’s journey of discovery, from being a church pastor delivering well-prepared and well-received sermons to a local church, to a civil rights leader delivering stirring, world-changing speeches. And it all started because he saw in the story of Rosa Parks a serious societal problem he wanted to help solve. King’s dream for his life: “preacher…father…citizen…would be fulfilled far beyond his imagination. What about us? Are we still becoming ourselves? Are our deepest callings still unfolding, beyond our imagination?...”
Is there someone inside of you waiting to be revealed, to live the dream beyond your dreams? Speak your dream to your faith community: Who do you want to be?
*quotes taken from inward/outward, Church of the Savior
Minister of Word and Sacrament
Hope Church, Sheboygan, WI