by Piper Punches
These are the days I hate the most. The days when I move through the sludge. The days when I feel like I’m carrying a thousand pounds on my back through a muddy obstacle course and cannot move freely. I know these days will pass because I’ve become used to their rhythm. I recognize their slightly off-key melody. For a long time, I loathed these days and felt ashamed of the way they made me feel—worthless, lonely, anxious, angry. But, lately, I’ve made peace with them because even though they may be a part of me, they are not the whole shape of me. These days—these heavy, long-winded days—are fear in disguise. Fear that I’m doing it all wrong and that everyone else does life so much better than me.
Do you feel this way too?
Can we talk about fear and dreams and destiny? Because I believe these three things have a deep impact on how freely we live. Dreams and destiny conjure lovely thoughts, don’t you think? They invoke feelings of fanciful elation, beauty and romance, passion and light. Dreams and destiny make us feel like we are moving freely, yet still with purpose.
Fear is the black hole that stops us from living our lives boldly and without shame. So how can dreams and destiny have any sort of symbiotic relationship with fear? Oh, my dears, dreams and destiny and fear are fierce lovers, tangled and twisted together in ways that make it hard for us to figure out our truths and what trajectory our lives are meant to take. Separately they each have a purpose. Together they create the sludge that holds us back. They prevent us from moving freely.
“There are only two lives we must live: our dream and our destiny. Sometimes they are one in the same, and sometimes they’re not.” —Glennon Doyle Melton
A few months ago, I read Carry On, Warrior—The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton. In her book of personal essays, Melton states, “There are only two lives we must live: our dream and our destiny. Sometimes they are one in the same, and sometimes they’re not.”
What? At first, I was confused because I always believed that dreams and destiny were the same. That by creating and fulfilling my passions I was directing my destiny. But then I started thinking. If my dreams were all coming true—having a nice home, publishing my fiction, raising decent people, creating a successful life—then how come I didn’t feel happy or fulfilled. Why was I still feeling like I was moving through the sludge? Could destiny be so cruel and unfulfilling?
No. No it’s not. But fear is.
Fear stops us from reaching our truest potential and living the life we were meant to live. When we accept its song as truth, we lose the ability to move freely.
Fear is cruel and unfulfilling and lonely—incredibly lonely. Fear by itself can protect you from making bad choices like driving too fast in the rain or from standing too close to the edge of a mountain to get that perfect selfie. It’s when fear starts messing with your dreams that problems arise because then there’s no way to know your destiny. Fear chokes the life out of ambition and it tosses stones in your path, causing you to stumble along the way.
Here are some things I’ve come to learn. Dreams are fluid. As we grow and move along life’s path, the things we want will be different. The dreams we have when we’re twenty-five will not be the same dreams we have when we’re fifty. Destiny is different. It’s already defined. It’s something that we intuitively flow toward and not always something we recognize right away. Why don’t we recognize it?
You guessed it. Fear.
Fear makes us hold onto the reigns of our lives with white-knuckles and a clenched jaw. It strangles our intuition, refusing to allow us to flow with our life’s energy. It stops us from reaching our truest potential and living the life we were meant to live. It stops us from taking chances in our relationships, our careers, our artistic endeavors. It stops us from living a vibrant life and growing from new experiences. When we allow fear to sing to us and we accept its song as truth, we lose the ability to move freely.
So, what should we do with those heavy days? My wish for you, my dears, today and every day is to be brave enough to walk through fear. Don’t let it squelch your passion or dampen your intuitive flow. Walk with courage and strength through the sludge so that you can move freely toward who you’re meant to be.
An author of fiction and truth, Piper Punches likes to write about anything that peaks her interest. She writes mainstream fiction, but also enjoys writing about the creative process, mindful living, traveling, and the writing life. Connect with Piper on her blog, and be sure to sign up for her newsletter.
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