Learning to Have Big, Audacious Dreams

Call me a slow learner, but confession time: I’ve always been afraid to dream big. There’s something raw and real about saying, “This is what I want.” I’ve been afraid other people will hear me and think to themselves, “Oh, isn’t she cute. She thinks she can have THAT. Bless her heart.” Even worse, they may say it. And, worst of all, they might be right.

I’m changing my tune from now on. Here’s the lesson in real time, in real life…

A couple of weeks ago, I finally picked up the book, “Love Warrior” by Glennon Doyle Melton. Oh my goodness! Her story, save the alcoholic/drug addict part, is MY story. Eating disorder, check. Defining myself based on anything other than who I am, check. Married to a man who finds his solace in porn, check (This IS NOT Randy Cook, my true love. This was my first marriage).

I listened with big gulps of relief as Glennon told her story and I felt known. As soon as I finished the book, I asked Randy to listen to it. After 13 years of marriage, he knows my story, but Glennon so eloquently describes her feelings that I just knew Randy would “get me” more deeply. And he listened voraciously too! He asked me questions. He described my experience at a much more gut wrenching level. YES! He gets me!

After I finished the book, I immediately Googled Glennon to see what other books she’s written, to find her blog, and to find out where she is now. I saw a link on her website outlining her upcoming speaking engagements. I scrolled through to see if any were near me. Not anytime soon. Then my eyes landed on an appearance at the International Women’s Summit. Why did this catch my eye?

Well, not only is Glennon speaking, but so I Elizabeth Gilbert. I was almost salivating with longing. Guys, there are only 2 books I’ve ever listened to and immediately gone back to the beginning to listen again. Guess who the authors are? This would be a dream come true. But, c’mon, it was only a few weeks away, in Phoenix, at a high end hotel. You know…expensive. And I left my job in corporate America 14 months ago. My inside voice told me I couldn’t go, I didn’t deserve it. I resignedly closed the browser and didn’t think another thing about it. But here’s the deal. For just a few moments, I allowed myself to dream a GREAT BIG DREAM. I wanted to meet these ladies. I wanted to go to the Summit and be surrounded by other women seeking bigger lives.

A few days later, I was spending time with my dearly loved aunt and friend, MaryJo Brown. We were on a mission to clean out some of her closets. Decluttering for her, eBay inventory for me. Double win! As I was going through a pile of her books, I came across Liz Gilbert’s, “Eat, Pray, Love.” I fairly shrieked, “I don’t want to sell this one. Can I have it, PLEASE!” Of course she said yes.

Another few days later, MJ and I found ourselves sitting side by side, markers in hand as we colored in our race bibs for The Color Run. There was a space on the bib that said, “My dream is…” I shrunk into myself just a little as I thought about my dream but felt afraid to write it. But, who in the hell cares if it may be too big, too unrealistic? And who gets to be the judge of that anyway? So I took out my marker, and in big, bold letters I wrote, “My dream is to be on the Oprah Super Soul 100 list.” It’s not the recognition that I want (though I am a geek for some big, bright limelight!); it’s more the idea that I might create something with such an amazing impact.

Fast forward a week or 2. Yesterday I get a text from Randy asking if I’m free next weekend. I look at my calendar and see that we have guests in our #SanctuaryatShenandoah Airbnb so, no, I need to be around. He tells me he will stay home but I need to hold the dates for a surprise trip. Totally gigged! Will I fly or drive? FLY. He asks if I want to know what he has up his sleeve. YES! He proceeds to launch into a bit of a lecture about how he will tell me but only if I promise not to try to talk him out of it because of money. Ok, ok. Guilty as charged. I’m the one who has historically stopped a dream due to financial insecurity. I take a deep breath because God knows what sort of expensive adventure he has in his head. This man of mine is so incredibly generous! So he then tells me that after reading Glennon’s book, he went to her website to see what other books she’s published. He saw a link for her tour dates and wanted to see when she would be in Nashville. Sound familiar?

Then he saw the Summit in Phoenix and saw Liz Gilbert’s name too. His immediate reaction was, “Sarah Joy HAS to go to this. I am going to make it happen!” I literally began to sob as he told me this. I am known.

Now 24 hours later, I have a flight, a hotel room and a ticket. I am going to meet Liz and Glennon. I am going to be surrounded by other women seeking bigger lives!

I dreamed a little. I didn’t even verbalize my dream, but I still set the wheels in motion. I have a BIG God. This BIG God of mine delights in the journey I’m on. This BIG God of mine wants me to be exuberant. This BIG God of mine wants me to be inspired by strong, brave, bold, outrageous women.

Watch out world, the dreaming has just begun! Will any of you dream with me? I guarantee it’ll be a thrilling ride!

About the Author: Sarah Joy Cook is the founder of Project Restore Joy. She partners with people on their healing journeys, whether that be through reiki, yoga, nutrition, life coaching, or her blog. You can contact Sarah Joy at sarahjoycook@oulook.com and read more about her divorce experience at www.projectrestorejoy.com.