Do you want to hear my dot story? I’m going to tell it in a nutshell, kind of like Olaf does in Frozen 2 as he recaps the first film. Ready?
My first dot began with my Aunt Karla, who told my mom about a ballet studio near us. Then, I started dancing. After a decade of ballet training at this studio, I began teaching dance my senior year. Because of this high school job, I realized I liked teaching kids. The same year, I started dual enrolling at a college. There, I met my husband. Once meeting him, I started volunteering at the preschool ministry in the church he was working. At that church, I met some pretty influential people that poured into my life. After that, I went to college for education where I later became a teacher. While living life as a new wife with a new job, I walked through some exciting, heart-breaking, and interesting events. These dots would later help me connect with someone else’s dots. So I began writing and started this blog.
A dot story is a map of the important events in your life that have led you to where you are today. Your dot story makes up your entire life, bringing success, failure, and everything in between.
I’m proud of my dot story. I’m grateful for it. However, there are many dots that haven’t come to fruition yet. People I haven’t met. Things I haven’t done. Milestones I haven’t crossed. Perhaps like me, you’re living in-between dots right now.
The dream you have isn’t reality yet.
The career you want hasn’t opened up.
The cure doesn’t exist yet.
The check hasn’t come in.
The test is still negative.
The days are still long.
Life in-between dots can feel as defeating and pointless as decaf coffee. How are we supposed to live our dreams when they aren’t available to us yet? I am learning with every passing day that life in-between the dots is where your dreams brew. It’s where you’re built. It’s where future dots form.
Ways to Live Your Dream Between the Dots
You don’t have to hurry the dots. You don’t have to hurry your dream.
That slow ticking of the clock gets louder and louder in your head when you have a big dream. Each day that passes, you become one of two people. A husher or a rusher.
Hushers silence the hopeful voice inside that says there’s beauty coming from this dot. As a result, they give up on the dream to protect their expectations.
In contrast, rushers live with a frazzled urgency to make their dreams a reality. They grasp at anything that might help bring the dream to fruition. With each passing day in-between dots, a rusher’s tendency is to hurry or it will never happen.
However, there is peace in believing that your story is already written – that each dot was laid out before you were even born. As Bobby Schueller writes in his Creed of the Beloved, “I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry.” These are two affirmations I repeat to myself daily as a reminder that I don’t have to hurry the dots, but trust that they’re already laid out for me.
There’s no such thing as a dead end dot.
Relationships end. Minds change. People leave. Ideas fall through. Seasons end.
The tempting thing to believe when your dot ends is to believe it’s a dead end. That it was for nothing but heartbreak.
When I stopped dancing, I figured that all those years and energy I put in was a waste. In reality, those years not only gifted me some of my closest, life-long friends, but they also blessed me with an intense determination and work ethic that carry me in pursuing my dreams today. While those years of dancing finally ended for me, they also built me.
The doors that close in your life are not for your end, but for the formation of better dots in your story.
Remember that every dot is an essential step to your dream.
Like a seed being planted in the ground, you are being built up and grown with each and every dot…even the ones that make it seem like your story is over forever.
I remember a particular moment during our third year of marriage that made me wonder if my story was over. I was sitting in the empty bathtub in my PJs. Ben and I were working through some heavy issues that had a major impact on our marriage. In the year following, it felt like this dot in my story would never lead to anything. In fact, it felt like an ending more than a beginning.
However, that moment in the empty bathtub is the single most treasured moment I have in my marriage. That dot in my story was absolutely essential to the creation of a new dream – writing. Through journaling, I discovered a love of writing and connecting with people who feel like they’re living life in-between dots alone. I’m positive God put that dot in my life for this purpose. And He’s doing that for you, too. Never forget that in-between, you’re being built.
Connect the Dots
Through every dot, my hope is when you make it through and look back, you’ll see that this messy web of connected dots formed you. It built you. It tells your unique story. Steve Jobs shared his dot story at a commencement ceremony and mentioned how to connect the dots.
You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.Steve Jobs
Whether the dots are so boring you think you might die…Whether the dots take you in a different direction than you originally planned…keep pursuing that unique call God has put on your heart. Go for the next dot. Find purpose in the in-between.
And one day, I hope you revel at the beautiful web that formed in your wake.