Several weeks ago we started a series on pursuing our dreams. You can read the first installment here. We are using the phrase “ATTA GIRL”—and the letters that make it up—to give us a hand in pursuing our dreams. The first “A” stood for “Acknowledge Your Dream,” the first “T” for Talk It Over with God, and the second “T” for “Take the First Step.”
Ultimately, the individual alone decides whether or not to pursue his or her dream. Only you can decide which of your dreams to pursue and which not to. That’s why this next “A” stands for “Accept Responsibility.”
Maybe you’re like my friend Leslie whose parents refused to pay for college if she chose to follow her dream to be an artist. They had practical reasons—like the lack of money-making capabilities. So Leslie is now an accountant (a job she hates) instead of the artist she dreamed of being.
But today she’s an adult, paying her own bills. Now she’s the only one keeping her from her dream. She needs to decide—is she going to spend the next 40 years doing something she despises, or is she going to work toward her dream?
You need to do the same. Oh, Mom and Dad may still disapprove, but it’s time to move past that, time for each of us to move on. Eventually, we must take responsibility for our own lives.
If we remember that our dreams are God-given, it can help us accept responsibility to work at them, and stop the excuses. God provides the dream and he also is in control of meeting our needs. In Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman, Ann Ortlund says:
The source of your money is never your job. . . . No, the source of your money is God. He owns it all; he distributes it as he pleases; and he has promised over and over to take care of the physical needs of every one of his children. . . . Now from tending the garden of Eden on, people have always been given important, meaningful things to do in life. These things are [God’s] will for us, and they may or may not cover our physical needs in reimbursement. Never mind. We’re still to do them with all our hearts.
What if your children have unusual dreams? Encourage them; let them go for it. You may have to deflect the disapproval of grandparents and friends for them. But eventually, they must take responsibility for their own lives. You cannot inspire them forever.
As parents, we also need to model accepting responsibility for our own dreams. Do your kids see you pursuing the things you’re passionate about? Or do they hear us making excuses.
Do they see you taking that step toward the future? Do they hear you talk to God about your own dreams? Yes, it can be difficult to pursue our own goals when our kids are little, but if we want to see the dream fulfilled, we do something. We are the examples that teach our children how it’s done.
Don’t let your own dreams die. Take a step; this week even. Don’t use your babies as an excuse; the responsibility is yours. Choose your own baby step toward the goal and take responsibility for completing it.
What is it God has given you to do? Will you accept responsibility for pursuing it? Tom Bradley once said,
“The only thing that will stop you
from fulfilling your dreams is you.”
And he’s right!
Are you taking responsibility or making excuses?