Have you ever had a dream that you believed in so much that you just knew there was no option for it to not happen? I remember laying in my bed at about 15 or 16 years old and dreaming about college. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted my bachelor's degree. And I wanted my to attend ORU in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
I laid there many nights just thinking about it. There was simply no other option but for this to happen. There was no Plan B. It was going to happen. I met with the guidance counselor. I applied for scholarships. And when the time was right, I applied to the school of my dreams. I was accepted, with a scholarship!
And the rest of the story of course, I went to Tulsa for one year. I got engaged and came back home - happily. I had followed my dream to Tulsa; and a new dream brought me back. And I made a lifetime of memories in Oklahoma. My first journalism class made it obvious to me that a career in journalism was not my calling. Back home though, I did get that bachelor's degree. I was satisfied with accomplishing the things I had dreamed about for years, even if they ended a little differently than I had first thought!
I've had this same kind of concrete dream lately. I was talking to a friend the other day and I made a statement that pretty much summed up what I'm after.
See, when I talk about Dave Ramsey and following his plan (with our own modified goals); it sounds like it is all about money. It isn't. I'm not after a dollar sign with all this. I don't particularly care what number we end up with at any given time. I'm after freedom.
That is what I told my friend. I was talking about working so much. Because I do work excessively. I see those neat little signs that remind a person that there is more to life than working. This is true, but sometimes working goes along with quality of life. And I'm not working, just for the money.
I used to work excessively for survival. There was a time several years ago when we needed all the extra that we could get. And I worked every chance I could because my job allows me to work like that and still be here for my family. So why wouldn't I? I admit, I had way too many nights of sleeping not near enough hours. But it helped our family and a very bad situation turned around monumentally faster than the course normally takes.
So when I was chatting the other day and I said, "I used to work so much for survival. Now I work so much for freedom." That is it. That is my new dream. I don't want to worry about missing a paycheck or receiving a huge bill from an injury (i.e. a torn PCL . . . no surgery, but still not cheap!) I want to have enough to bless someone who needs it. If I hear of a family that needs groceries or propane or anything; I want to be able to write a blank check (well, you know what I mean).
I want freedom. "The borrower is servant to the lender". It used to sound like an unattainable goal to not live that way. It doesn't seem that way anymore. The big thing that has changed is me. I used to limit myself in my thinking that only millionaires lived free from debt.
Strangely my job first started me thinking differently after I appraised a few foreclosured homes worth over a half million dollars each, in gated communities, with imported materials, etc. The key is not in how much you make. The key is in what you do with it. The idea started as a seed. Then little by little the door to this thing opened a little more and a little more and a little more, until I finally got it.
This is so real that I can taste it. So when we sit down and talk about the upcoming summer. Well, we aren't traveling the country. We may splurge on one hotel night some time . . maybe. But we'll go to the beach. We'll go hiking. We'll make many memories. And we'll keep working our butts off. Because the dream is set. It is real. It is a family venture. And changing the family legacy. We will be free. And I hope to instill this lifestyle choice in to my children so that they may never know the crushing stress, anxiety, and depression that can come from being a servant to a lender.
Tonight I am thankful once more for learning a different way to live, for believing that it is attainable; and for being able to articulate what it is exactly that we are after. To some it sounds like it is all about the dollars. It isn't. Not at all. It is about the freedom. The dollars play a part. But the dollars could never bring about freedom all by themselves!