Sometimes I feel like all motivation, drive and will-power have been sucked from my very bones. I feel lethargic and exhausted when I think about how difficult the tasks before me will be to ever accomplish. I become discouraged by the looming mountain that is my dream, and, to ward off feelings of panic and depression, decide to do absolutely nothing about said mountain.
But, just as a mountain can’t be climbed by simply staring at it hopefully, neither can a dream be accomplished without action. One of my biggest fears in life is that I will lose all motivation, forget my vision, and lose sight of my dreams. That I’ll become so far removed from what I desire most to accomplish, that I no longer care about the outcome. This fear activates a level of panic inside of me that few other things can reach.
If you know anything about Lord of the Rings, then you will be familiar with J.R.R. Tolkien’s character, Eowyn. While not necessarily a main character, she is one of my favorites, and one I find to be extremely relatable. During a particular scene in Return of the King, Eowyn is asked what she most fears – this is her response:
“A cage,” she said. “To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.”
While Eowyn was referring to her desire to break away from the traditional female role and ride into battle with the rest of the army, there is a large part of me that can relate to what she must have been going through.
I may not necessarily want to ride out to fight the dark lord at Mt. Doom, but I do want to accomplish things – things that seem far away and lofty from where I sit, but nonetheless dreams that need fulfilling. My fear, like Eowyn, is that I will wait so long to pursue what I am most passionate about, that I will no longer care about much at all. My motivation will be lost, my vision gone, my passion extinguished. I don’t ever want to reach that point of no return.
I don’t ever want to accept the bars of the cage of self-doubt and disbelief that I have built for myself.
I don’t ever want to build that cage to begin with.
With all this in mind, the Lord led me to a particular scripture in Proverbs 24 –
“I went past the field of a sluggard,
past the vineyard of someone who has no sense;
thorns had come up everywhere,
the ground was covered with weeds,
and the stone wall was in ruins.
I applied my heart to what I observed
and learned a lesson from what I saw:
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.”
– Proverbs 24: 30-34
The field of the sluggard was full of weeds – untidy and abandoned. No doubt this sluggard once dreamed of having a thriving field full of good crops. Yet, somewhere along the way, he let his dream fade away. He stopped trying, lost motivation, and gave up. A little sleep, a little slumber – he felt lethargic, exhausted and unmotivated, so he decided to give it a rest. Decided to stop pursuing his dreams, quit going after what was most important. And in that moment, something died. His dream, his field, his vineyard all ceased to exist. And what was left when those things passed? Weeds. Decay. Ruin.
My dreams are too important to just die. I don’t want to reach a point where passion dies and I no longer care about finishing strong. No more sleep [not literally – sleep is important], and no more doubt. No more looking at the mountain, hoping that somehow it will just melt away. It’s time to face it head on. No more excuses.
In case you were wondering, after her little speech on fear, Eowyn went on to accomplish great feats and had many adventures along the way. She never reached the point where doing great deeds had gone beyond recall or desire. She chose not to let that happen – took things into her own hands.
Really, it’s a choice. You can choose to be passive, letting your dreams pass you by until they no longer matter much. Or, you can choose to be aggressive, going after even the loftiest of dreams with everything you’ve got. The choice is yours – what will you choose?