I am a dreamer. It’s something that I do. Often.
Do it well. Do it ridiculously. Extravagantly. Meekly. First, last, in between. Quite frankly, it’s what I do a lot of the time!
Sometimes, this is a good thing. I can while away the hours in my own imagination – great! (This habitually makes my hour long commute quite bearable. I drive to and from work in a world of southern sweet tea, sometimes an extraordinary drug-smuggling court case, sometimes an Aussie BBQ. It’s really a world of adventure in my car…) However, oftentimes, it’s bad. I regularly come crashing back down to reality with a huge bump.
To get real for a minute – I have dealt with a lot of jealousy, comparison, and feelings of inadequacy in my life. I don’t blame anyone for this or think there should be someone to take the rap. Life isn’t fair and that’s something that eventually we all have to come to terms with. It’s taken me a long time to even realise that. If you ask any member of my close family, they’ll tell you we have a bit of a family history of placing blame somewhere.
Here’s some of the things that have led me to feel the need to compare myself to others, to feeling jealous and to feeling thoroughly inadequate – again, no blame, just fact. I am a younger sibling. My sister was born two years before me, so went to the schools I went to before me, took classes before me, did everything I did, two years ahead. This meant that everybody – family, teachers, and me – had something to compare me to. How often did I measure up? Rarely. Did it make me think there was no point in even trying? Often. Has this affected me later in life? Of course. Is that anybody’s fault? No. Were there natural reactions? Yes.
These feelings of inadequacy and jealousy are only compounded by my wild imagination. I think of things that would or could never happen to me in my life, but then in my mind, it’s a sure-fire inevitability that I am then going to experience whatever stupid thing I thought up, and am woe betide to fail at whatever it is, and then have a sense of failure or whatever in my mind literally over nothing. Over something that will never happen. Trying to explain it is making my brain hurt. Maybe it can’t be explained, but I’m sure there are people reading this recognising exactly what I’m trying to communicate.
Earlier this year I saw a film in the cinema that absolutely tugged (or even yanked) on my heartstrings. I loved it, and then hated it, but hated it because I loved it so much. It made me cry. It made me laugh til I cried. It made my heart feel so full. It made me hurt inside. It literally made me feel like I was on top of the world and utter crap all within 128 minutes.
La La Land.
And now it’s out on DVD and I am so excited to be able to watch it again and again – even though I’m also dreading it because of the emotional rollercoaster it sends me on.
La La Land – the land where dreams are made. Be warned – there are spoilers after the next paragraph. If you haven’t seen the film, I recommend you watch it, then come back and continue to read on. It’s only 128 minutes!
This film honestly blew me away. I felt entrenched the whole time – gripped from start to finish. The fast-pace, the smooth action, the warm scenes, the bright colours, the light-hearted humour. It was everything I wanted from a film – music, romance, a little bit of uncomfortable reality, nostalgia, and beautifully shot to boot.
But that uncomfortable reality. Wow. There was actually a point in the film where everything within me shouted “leave now – this has got too much!!!” But I needed to see how this too-close-home story would actually pan out.
The story is of dreamers actually pursuing everything they had ever dreamt of…
The film tells the story of two people following their dreams, throwing themselves in 100%.
At the start It shows them independently bumbling along, trying to make things work, but never quite succeeding. Then they crash into one another’s worlds and inspire each other to really pursue their dreams. It then shows the truth behind what it costs to be the person you dreamed you’d be.
The reason that story was too close to home: the self-doubt; the lack of confidence; the fear of failure; the not even trying because they figured they knew the outcome.
As an audience we follow two of the most ambitious but cautious characters Hollywood has seen. I was so sold into the film, emotionally connected, and then suddenly you see their worlds falling apart. It’s still positive, and yet there’s so much negative woven in.
The point where Emma Stone’s character really begins to question whether or not her dream is actually worth chasing any more is the moment that kicked me in the gut. When my face hurt because I was clenching my teeth so hard trying not to ball my eyes out and sob uncontrollably in the cinema.
When she’s back at her parent’s house having given up on everything, and then Ryan Gosling finds her and reignites that glimmer of hope in her. She’s literally laid bare her lack. Her fear. She’s given up. But he hasn’t given up on her.
It’s the most I have ever related to a piece of media. I have listened to the raw emotion of the soundtrack countless times. I’ve cried and I’ve laughed just listening to the songs. It gets me every time!
It makes me so thankful that we have a Father in Heaven who has never and will never give up on us. There is always a glimmer of hope. There is always the promise of trying again. His arms are always open to scoop us up when we’re in a heap on the floor after trying and failing. Frankly God gives me hope, and strength and confidence to even try. Without God I would still be a trembling wreck of nerves and tainted ambition.
With God I know that my dreams can become a reality, that my strength and ability doesn’t come from me, but from Him who is able to immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine – which really says a lot – and that He wants me to do well because I am His, and as long as I am living for His Glory, He will lift my head and sustain me. What’s more, I believe my dreams are becoming so intertwined to aligning to what God wants for me that they are almost His dreams, and knowing that, I know they are incomprehensibly outlandish yet so achievable because He is at the helm.
So when I feel defeated, beaten, and downtrodden, I know that I am capable to fulfil my dreams. I am capable to do more than I could imagine, and whatever I set my hand to, He can help me achieve it.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIVUK)
Here’s the emotional follow up song to the scene mentioned above: