You can be whatever you want to be. Dream big." When is the last time you heard those words? The chances are you were a kid. We don't say that to adults.
People who believe that are naive and just downright unrealistic. I mean, not everyone can be the President of the United States. Not just anyone can find the cure to cancer, right?
In fact, if we're honest most people don't like other people who are dreamers. We don't always like people who combat the status quo or infringe on our comfort zones. Why? Because quite honestly we probably have dreams that we've already given up on and we feel guilty.
We live in a world where people start out with big dreams but they're soon derailed by problems, pain, broken relationships, life, etc. Our dreams turn into unrealistic fantasies and the pursuit of what can be is traded for the reality of the "right now." Our dreams get shelved for another time, another day, and another place never to be picked up again.
Get to know someone really well and then ask them about their dream. It's hard to find someone who doesn't have one. Ask the girl who waitresses at your favorite restaurant and you will more than likely hear a story with the following components: this is where I am right now, this is how I'm preparing myself, this is where I want to go. Most of us, by nature, are dreamers.
There is something deep in our heart that pulls at us. If you don't know what those things are then ask yourself these questions: What would you do if money were not a factor? What would you pursue if you knew you couldn't fail? What is that cause, people group, or idea that you always think, "Why hasn't anyone done something about that?" More than likely what emerges is a God-given dream.
How many people today get the opportunity to see even a glimpse of their dream become a reality? I would argue very few, but why?
The Bible is full of dreamers, individuals who set out on a course only to face detours, distractions and disillusionment along the way. My favorite example comes from the life of Joseph. He was an individual whose dream sent him on a rollercoaster journey of deception, promotion, scandal, neglect and compassion before he even got a glimpse of his dream becoming reality.
Using his life as an example it becomes glaringly obvious why dreams are sacrificed or abandoned along the way. I've yet to meet an individual whose dream was linear. We go into the equation believing that if I accomplish point C then I will move to point D, which will bring me one step closer to the fulfillment of my dream. Along the path pain, opposition and life takes us on unforeseen detours; it's pretty much inevitable. Unfortunately, many never find their way back to their original route.
The following are principles taken from the story of Joseph found in Genesis 37-50. More than likely if you are to ever see your dream become a reality you will navigate through one, if not all, of these dream assassins. Be careful because anyone of these could kill your dream.
Dream Assassin No. 1: Tell your dream to whoever will listen.
I learned this the hard way. I grew up loving to write. Eventually I thought I might even pursue this writing gig one day. I had written something I was particularly proud of and decided to give it to an acquaintance who was both an editor and well-respected writer. She read it and returned it to me with corrections and comments that might have well said, "Just stop writing and wasting your time." It was neither constructive nor beneficial criticism.
I learned my lesson. Don't just share your dream with anyone and especially with someone who doesn't truly care about your growth and development. I probably questioned my abilities for at least a year after than encounter. If you share it too early or with the wrong person it could potentially sabotage or derail your dream forever.
Dream Assassin No. 2: Wait until everything is perfect.
Guess what? If you're waiting around for the stars align before pursuing your dream then you better get comfortable. So many people fail to step out and begin the pursuit because they need one more degree, they need to get past a certain stage in life, or all the pieces aren't in the perfect order. More than likely even if your dream is years from reality there is something you can pursue or prepare for today.
Dream Assassin No. 3: Pursue your dream alone.
Maybe it's possible but I don't think I've ever seen it done. When I think back to the greatest innovators and leaders of our era there were always key individuals that surrounded them. The late Steve Jobs, who will go down as one of the greatest innovators of our time, may have actually been best at getting the right people around the table than he was at actually developing amazing products.
Who will partner with you to see your dream become a reality? In the trials and opposition that you will inevitably face who will be a source of strength and encouragement in your life? Seek out individuals, partners, mentors, colleagues who are committed to you and your dream.
Dream Assassin No. 4: Interpret roadblocks as a sign.
This sounds pretty simple but it's by far the number one reason why dreams are never realized. We face roadblocks or a series of obstacles and think to ourselves, "I guess it just wasn't meant to be." Quite the contrary, instead, you should think to yourself "this dream must be something special."
We know obstacles will come but for some reason we don't prepare ourselves to persevere through them. Any runner in a marathon knows that the dreaded "runner's wall" will hit them at some time during the race. It may be mile 19 or 20 but regardless it is downright agonizing. You have to grit your teeth, endure the pain, and just persevere. Our dreams are no different.
I have no idea what you're dream may be. It may be for your family, your career, for a non-profit, or to tackle a social justice issue. Regardless, it will take you navigating these assassins and developing a personal resolve to persevere regardless of the circumstances. I pray that you dream big and that you never settle.
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