You have a dream in your back pocket, don’t you? Over the years, that dream has taken on many different names in your mind: Silly. Ridiculous. Hobby. Foolish. Impossible. Waste of time. You have called it that for so long, that you have never actually taken the time to consider how it got there in your pocket in the first place.

We throw trash away; we don’t put trash in our pockets. That dream is there because at one time, you saw that it had value. And so you tucked it away for safe-keeping. But doubt and fear have convinced you to keep it hidden, convinced you to rename that dream Wrong. What would it take for you to pull that dream out again, to stop taunting it with cruel names and to simply listen to what it has to say? No filters. No back talk. No eye rolls.

Dare to handle it, to hold it in your hands and consider it with kindness, with compassion, with (dare I say it?) goals. Are there tiny, itty-bitty baby steps you can take toward pursuing it? Can you at least pull it out of your pocket and hold it in your hand? Place it on the desk, maybe? Offer it up to the Dream Giver?

Three years ago, I pulled out a crumpled dream. And I put it in my suitcase and took it with me to a writing conference. At the time, I had zero ideas for a book, zero publications to my name, and zero idea what would come out of it. But the one thing I did have was the smallest shred of courage. I went to She Speaks during the summer of 2008 knowing no one and nothing. Except I had that small bean of an idea that maybe there was a possibility that I might perhaps be a writer a little bit. Maybe.

When I left the conference, I still wasn’t sure what would come of the dream. But I stopped taunting it with names. And I developed a small but respectable amount of reverence for the way God speaks to us through our desires. And I didn’t know it at the time, but She Speaks that summer was my first giant leap toward discovering my message. And the next summer at that same conference, I pitched Grace for the Good Girl to an editor, and that is why I have a book coming out in September.

And it started with a crumpled dream in my back pocket.

This summer, during the weekend of July 22 – 24, I will be back in Concord, NC at this conference I have grown to love. And I will lead a breakout session with my friend and editor, Andrea Doering. There will be opportunities for speakers and writers to develop their craft. Lysa will head the whole thing up with grace and encouragement. Mary DeMuth will talk about fiction and memoir writing and Marybeth Whalen will too, and Renee Swope will be debuting her new book, A Confident Heart. Literary agent Rachelle Gardner will talk about writing book proposals that sell, and our dear Ann Voskamp will be presenting the closing keynote. And there are so many more.

Today through April 2nd, Ann has been given the opportunity to offer a scholarship for one of you to attend She Speaks. I’ll let you visit her place for the details, but might I be a voice of courage for you today? What have you to lose by applying? The simple act of raising your hand could be the very baby step you need to take today, whether you win the scholarship or not. And while you are at it, go ahead and visit Amy Carroll at Next Step Speaker Services, as she is also offering a scholarship through April 3.

Are you feeling a little nudge? A little hope? A little excitement? I hope so. Pull that dream out of your pocket and listen to it sing.