When you stop merely wishing

There are some really innocent things that we do in our childhoods that we don’t necessarily think can hurt us later in life.

Like making wishes.

I went to see Wicked in Hollywood with my good friend Amanda and her mom last week. It was such a great play, and the lead roles have incredible voices that I like to pretend I have when I’m singing in the car or the shower. There was a line from one of the songs that really hit me and got me thinking, though.

Wishing only wounds the heart.

As a girl so full of hopes and dreams that I actually believe are possible, this pierced my heart to hear those words. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that wishing truly can wound the heart—a reality that Disney never taught me long ago.

I think that wishing is a lot different than hoping and dreaming. When you have hope, you back it with faith and trust. There’s an anticipation, and you let your confident expectation drown out doubt. You have an optimistic outlook, and you might even put some patient endurance behind that positivity. A dream is a vision you have of something wonderful that doesn’t exist yet but will in the future. You work toward it—you strive with everything you have to make that dream come true. There’s a need for perseverance and faith as you continue through your journey to get that desired outcome.

A wish, on the other hand, is a desire that you toss out into the air (often silently), and you don’t necessarily do anything about it. Why is it that, when you make a wish on birthday candles or after you get the bigger end of the wishbone, you aren’t allowed to tell anyone what you wished if you actually want it to come true? You can tell people your dreams, and they can support you as you chase them down. You can tell people your hopes, and they can pray for you and alongside you as your hopeful expectations begin to grow.

But wishes are different.

I’ve made a lot of wishes in my life, and I frequently find myself wishing each time I witness a shooting star, see 11:11 on the clock, and get my hands on a dandelion. Maybe that’s because it’s sometimes fun to take part in childlike activities like that—the innocence of it all reminds you of how simple life was before you knew all of the things you wish you didn’t. If I’m being perfectly honest, though, a lot of the wishes I make are for realities that I don’t always believe in my heart are going to happen.

Which, like the song says, only wounds the heart.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick because you believe so positively that what you desire will happen. The actual hoping part itself doesn’t hurt—it actually fills the heart with joy and excitement. But wishing only wounds the heart because there isn’t always much confidence behind a wish.

I don’t want to be a wisher—I want to be a dreamer and a hoper. I want to go after the dreams I have and fully trust in what the future holds and Who holds it regarding the hopes in my heart. I know that’s not always easy, but there are quite a few things in this world that I’ve faced that have been more challenging, and I’ve lived through them. I just have to remind myself that I CAN DO HARD THINGS.

During the last year and a half (well, it’s almost been that long) since I’ve been in California, God’s been doing a lot of work in my heart and grown my faith in more ways that I can describe. Moving out here and knowing zero people made it much more apparent to me just how sufficient He is—how He truly is all we need in life. At the same time, though, He’s surrounded me with amazing people and more love than I ever knew possible. That’s not something I ever wished for, but it’s certainly something that I hoped for with all of my heart.

I’m going to change my wishing tactics so that the things I wish don’t just stay wishes but, instead, become hopes and dreams. I’ve spent too many years letting wishing wound my heart, and a heart wasn’t made to hurt so much. It wasn’t made to break when you’re reminded of what you don’t have. It wasn’t made to ache each time the dandelion particles flying through the air as a result of your breath scatter in every direction. It was made to love and love well.

Don’t let wishing diminish your hope—wishing may wound the heart, but hope will fill it with love.

Wishing upon stars

There are some parts of childhood that I refuse to let go, and I’m perfectly fine with admitting that.

Because I don’t believe in not believing.

As kids, many of us allowed innocence to play an integral role in influencing the things we believed and didn’t believe. We believed some magical fairy sneaked money under our pillows while we were sleeping when we lost teeth; we sometimes believed actual monsters hid under our beds; we believed a hefty man in a red suit could fly around the world in a sleigh to deliver presents to all of the good kids all in a night’s work; we believed superheroes were real; we perhaps believed that if we ate appleseeds then apple trees would grow inside of us; we believed that we were kept safe from so many dangers in this world simply by holding our parents’ hands; we didn’t believe so many bad things in this world could not only exist but also integrate their ways into our lives somehow; we didn’t believe we might one day have to worry about struggling with health or finances or relationships; we didn’t believe that we wouldn’t live happily ever after.

But, somewhere along the lines, many of us grew up and lost not only innocence but also that childlike faith that makes people believe dreams can actually come true.

And I refuse to be one of those people.

One night last week while my sister and I were in Florida, we walked down to the beach and after a while sat back and stared up at the peaceful sky above us. We each picked out our own star and said out loud to each other what we wished upon that star. I don’t care how childish or naive it sounds–I believe with all of my heart that those two wishes will come true.

Keep wishing

Whenever I see a dandelion, I pick it up, make a wish as I blow it into the wind and believe it will come true. When I blow out candles, I believe whatever it is my heart wishes will be reality. When I see a shooting star or cast up a wish into the night above me, I fully believe those wishes I make will one day happen. I don’t believe in some magic power in the way the dandelion blows or behind the fire of the candles or the might of the stars. I do believe, though, that you have to have hope that the things your heart desires will be more than empty wishes that disappear the moment they leave your lips.

Sure, not every wish you make is going to happen. I mean, I didn’t win those *NSYNC tickets on the radio station like I wished for when I was in the eighth grade. But I certainly spent way too much time on that phone hitting the redial button than I probably should have simply because I truly believed it was possible for me to be the whatever number caller it was I needed to be to win. Regardless of if the wish will ever be, the belief has to be there for it even to be likely.

I know we all have to grow up in various aspects of life, because we have to become more mature and live in the world of adulthood–that’s just one of the facts of life. But that doesn’t mean we have to give up every part of childhood. Some of the things we need to hold onto the most are the ones that kept us believing in things that weren’t necessarily even true.

I think it can become dangerous to let go of wishing upon things, because it can lead to hopelessness. I am 29 years old and have never even been on a date, but I still believe in love. For as long as I can remember, I wished that my first kiss would be in a gazebo in some romantic setting–maybe even with Christmas lights all around and perfect music playing in the background–but it didn’t happen that way. And I didn’t end up marrying (or even dating) the guy who gave me my first kiss like I had always wished. But you know what? I do believe I will someday get my gazebo kiss like I’ve always dreamed. I won’t give up on that wish, because you have to pursue wishes–not necessarily with some distinct actions but simply with keeping hope alive.

I think sometimes wishes are just prayers in disguise. God already knows the desires of our hearts, and we shouldn’t be afraid to believe they will come true. There’s no shame in having faith. None.

And if you need Journey to offer you some inspiration about believing, there’s nothing wrong with that, either.