The Things We Bury

Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones listen to the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 37:4-6 (NLT)

“Bury the hatchet.” It is an old phrase with Native American origins referring to settling differences and coming to peace with adversaries. Burying things can be good. Bury the unhealthy, destructive patterns of the past and forge toward new beginnings; bury your plants in fertile ground so they can take root. This is not the type of burying I am referring to.

There are things we bury while they are still very much alive, things we try to hide away from ourselves and try to go about our lives as if they do not exist while we can hear them clawing at the boxes we have stuffed them in. I am talking about the dreams and desires we bury. Take a second. Think about it. I mean really, close your eyes and open the file cabinets in your mind. What have you buried in there?

My guess is if you stopped and thought about it, I mean really thought back on all the details you imagined and the expectations in those dreams you have buried, you felt that twinge on your heart. Like that little nudge of grief over something lost even though it was never yours in the first place.

For me, it was writing. I would write for hours about everything. Journaling, poetry, short stories. I hoped one day to write something big and inspiring but seeing as you are reading my blog and not my award-winning novel, you may go ahead and assume what happened with that dream. Yup. Grave dug, dream dragged, kicked, and buried.

I can still recall it clearly. Walking into Freshman English with one of my most loved stories I had ever written. I poured every bit of myself into it and read it over and over. I handed it in and anticipated the excelling grade and proud comments written in my teacher’s purple pen. Instead, it was ripped apart. Ok, maybe that is a tad extreme. But. That is exactly how it felt. Words that had so captured what I wanted to say, were the “wrong choice” and the story was “nice, needs work. B.” I was floored and I did not want to hand her anything else again. It did not matter that the story later went on to earn a scholarship or be published in the school magazine. My confidence was shattered. I put my pen down. Oh sure, there was the occasional newsletter and college paper, and every now and then something hastily jotted down in a journal but I let this woman’s rejection of my passion toss my dream into the ground.

A little over a month ago, God began shifting the soil over my hidden dream. At a retreat aimed towards writers, speakers, and artists God began nudging me, “start writing your story down.” Pfffft, yeah, ok. No thanks, God. I was there to share about Africa, not like, write anything. As I should learn by now, when God puts something in your heart and begins stirring your spirit, it is often difficult to ignore. So, I wrote it down. At this retreat where I had no intention of committing to one more thing, I wrote it down. I committed to submit it, and a month later, Encouragement Café published my story. New life was breathed into my abandoned dream and my friend, let me tell you, it was like finding a long-lost friend you never think you will see again.

Nobody – not a voice of authority, not your mama, not the foremost expert in your arena – gets to tell you how big your dreams can be… Don’t tell me you don’t have it in you to want something more for your life. Don’t tell me you have to give up because it’s difficult. This is life or death too. This is the difference between living a life you always dreamed of or sitting alongside the death of the person you were meant to become. - Rachel Hollis, Girl, Wash Your Face

Rachel Hollis (which, if you haven’t already read her book, you need to!) says it so well. You, dear one, are the only one who has the final say in whether or not you chase after the desires God has placed in you. Only you get to decide whether or not you keep fighting for them. I challenge you today to look back at the things you have buried and earnestly ask God to help you dig them back up, because believe me I needed His help (read: push) to do it. Ask Him to breathe new life into those dreams, go on an adventure with Him. Your story is not over yet.