What Excuses Are You Making to Not Chase Your Dreams?

Jen Jabbour

Contributing Writer
Updated May 28, 2024
What Excuses Are You Making to Not Chase Your Dreams?

... I need you to know that raising your children is not a barrier to achieving your dreams. 

What excuses are you making for not chasing your dreams? We make up a lot of reasons for why we’ve delayed accessing the desires of our hearts. As parents, we often find it easy to blame our children for not chasing after our dreams. After all, shouldn’t raising them be our first priority?

Based on my own experience, I venture to guess that if you’ve placed your dreams on hold, it’s actually because you’ve allowed one or more of the following to hold you back: unrealistic expectations, unhealthy motivations, doubt and fear, and/or limiting beliefs. The truth is that we often don’t take steps forward to achieving our dreams because we lack clarity and confidence. 

Maybe being a parent is your dream come true, and you’re living your dream as we speak. If so, that’s great and I’m so happy for you! 

But if you have additional life aspirations, I need you to know that raising your children is not a barrier to achieving your dreams. You don’t have to wait until they’re grown to chase your dreams. I wish someone would have told me this twenty years ago.

For me, being a mom was just one of my dreams. My other dream was to write books. The whirlwind of early years of motherhood zapped the dreams right out of me, and I couldn’t see beyond the nights of midnight feedings and passing out each evening as I rocked my baby to sleep. As the kids grew older, my schedule was inundated with playdates, ceremonies, and dance recitals. 

I distinctly remember the moment I knew I would be a writer and made the commitment to God that I would write Christian books. I was still in college and had no plans other than to graduate and start my career. I had no idea how writing would fit into that plan, only that I loved to write and had a degree in communications that I was ready to put to good use.

A few weeks after graduating, I met this guy. He was cute, funny, and different than anyone I’d ever dated before. Falling in love with him was completely unexpected. I wasn’t even looking for a relationship. Initially, I told him I wasn’t interested in anything serious. Ironically, five months later we went down to the county clerk’s office and tied the knot. 

I was attracted to my husband’s desire to do big things in life, to go far, and to retire by the age of 40. He’s always had an untameable drive and a passion to provide for his family; and as his wife, I’m his co-pilot. 

Despite our success and the abundant blessings God gave us, I often found myself wondering when it would be my turn to chase after my dreams. Not that I mind being the supportive wife, but the desire from my college days was still nothing more than an ember. 

As the years went by, I kind of gave up on my dreams. Instead, we grew our family and our business because, well, to be honest, it made good money, and my dreams started to look more and more like hobbies that could pay for themselves. 

Little by little, my dreams just slipped away until I practically forgot what they were. Somewhere between my college graduation and my 40th birthday, I lost track of what it was that God had called me to do.

A few years ago, a friend of mine posed the question to me, “What does Jen want to do?” I didn’t even know how to answer her. Thus began my journey to awaken my buried dreams and finally take steps toward fulfilling them.    

Although I waited over twenty years to pursue my dreams, I don’t regret it. Instead, I’ve come to embrace what King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV), “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

We go through many seasons in our lives, and each season has a purpose. God doesn’t let anything go to waste. Romans 8:28 (NIV) says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Even though God placed the ember of desire in my heart when I was only 20, I still had a lot of growing up to do. It would take me getting married very young, raising two kids, working in a corporate environment for 11 years for an overbearing boss, learning how to run a business with my husband, stretching myself beyond my comfort zone, and building up my confidence to be prepared for what God had called me to. And all the while, I discovered that true fulfillment in anything could only be found by seeking after God with all of my heart. 

If you’re like me, and the days have turned into weeks, the weeks into months, and the months into years, you are definitely not alone. I’ve met a lot of men and women who have put their dreams on hold for the sake of their families. 

If you’re ready to follow the beckoning of your heart and take bold steps forward into your calling, here are some simple steps to help get you started on the path to achieving your dreams:

1. Move Out of Your Way

The first step to becoming the person we are called to be is realizing and accepting (rather than ignoring and denying) that we are often our own obstacles. I have told myself a million times that I am finally going to reach my goals. I take off, like in a race, with momentum, only to fizzle out at the first sign of resistance. I say I’m going to write every day, and two days in, I get so busy that I don’t have time to write, and another month passes before I write again. I am my own worst enemy. Being a mom and a wife will always keep me busy, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find time to focus on my personal dreams while helping my husband and children achieve theirs too.

2. Forgive Yourself

When we don’t reach our goals as fast as we’d like, it’s easy to fall into a state of self-loathing. When we finally start taking steps in the right direction and realize that we’re the only thing that held us back all this time, it’s easy to play the guilt and shame game. We start to wonder how far could we have gone if we had only chased after our dreams sooner. I urge you to not do this. Instead, forgive yourself and give yourself grace. The longer you resent yourself, the longer it will take to reach your dreams. I like to remind myself that God is not upset with me, so why should I be?

3. Take the Next Step When You Can

Each day, just do one thing that is in the direction that you want to go. Don’t stress when a day gets so busy that you don’t have time. Just pick up where you left off as soon as possible. But whatever you do, keep taking steps toward your dreams. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get there, as long as you keep moving forward. You will have times in your life when you move slowly and other times when everything comes together perfectly. Enjoy it all in stride.

It’s never too late to chase your dreams, Mama!

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/jacoblund

Jennifer Jabbour resides in the scenic San Diego countryside with her husband, adult son, and teen daughter, and their hilarious English Bulldog. Jennifer has a B.A. in Integrated Business Communications, and is a Go + Tell Gals licensed life coach. Jennifer hopes to use her calling of writing, coaching, and speaking to equip and empower women to clarify their vision and to boldly step forward in response to God's calling on their life, as well as educate and encourage others to experience the abundance of God's goodness when they seek Him first in all that they do. Jennifer is also a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a photographer, and an avid outdoors-woman. She loves camping, hiking, running, and playing the piano in her free time.

You can keep up with Jennifer on her website https://www.jenniferjabbour.com.