What's Your Dream?
I don't know about you, but for me, long after watching Pretty Woman, these words resonate. Soon, I find myself asking, "What is my dream? Will it be one of the ones that come true? Or does that only happen in Hollywood?"
Friends, these are good questions (well, except for maybe the last) and it is important to have a dream. To reach for something. To keep making goals. And to work for them. It's what drives us. What makes our feet keep hitting the pavement, keeps our coffee pot brewing and makes Monday mornings manageable. So I ask of you today: "What is your dream?"
Step One: BrainstormGo on. List them. Say them out loud. Proclaim them to the world. Take your time. I'll be right here when you're ready.
Step Two: CategorizeWelcome back! It feels good knowing you have a dream. It gives us purpose and hope. And, with the wise words that end Pretty Woman I agree: I think there are two types of dreams; but instead of "some that come true," and "some that don't," I'm going to label them as "unrealistic" and "realistic". What type of dream is your dream? Let me run through a couple of my dreams, then maybe it will help you categorize yours.
Some of the dreams that I have are unrealistic. They are unrealistic because I know they will never happen, but I still find myself hoping they will. My first unrealistic dream emerges each time I sit down at the piano to play. I dream that my fingers will flawlessly find their place, the rhythms will flow perfectly and the emotions will stir the soul of every listener. This never happens. Ever. I don't care how many times I sit down at my piano, how many times I play the same piece of music, I make mistakes every single time. My fingers never flawlessly find their spot. My rhythms step on each other's toes and the emotions, well, maybe there is hope there. I'm sure listeners are moved - to close doors and put headphones on once stirred by my emotions of aggravation. Yet, I don't give up this hope. I still dream this dream.
Another unrealistic dream appears in every mirror. "When I look in the mirror," my subconscious says, "I will see a stunning, captivating, flawless woman." Shockingly, this also never happens. Instead, every time I look in the mirror, I see me. Stunning? Sure. That's my bedhead I don't care to tame. Captivating? Could be. Because of all the blemishes across my skin. Flawless? For sure. Thirty minutes with Photoshop and that's all you'll see. Nah, it's just me. Every time I look in that mirror, it's still me. Bedhead, blemishes, blubber and all. Yet, for some reason, that reflection still shocks me and I still find myself dreaming this dream.
As I am sure you can tell, unrealistic dreams are unhealthy dreams. They are unhealthy because they set unrealistic expectations. I will never just sit down and play the piano flawlessly, but I can practice daily. I will never look perfect, but I can choose to see myself as more than my reflection. Realistic dreams are dreams that can happen, but take intentional effort.
This next step requires you distinguish what type of dream it is. If it is an unrealistic dream, can you reword it into a realistic dream? If you can't, cross it off your list. It's not worth pursuing.
Go ahead and do that now. Get your list back out and categorize each dream as unrealistic or realistic. If it's unrealistic, try rewording it into a realistic dream. If you can't think of a way to reword it, cross it off. It's not worth your time; you need to find a way to let that dream go.
Step Three: Narrow the ListYou've let go of all your unrealistic dreams, but you still have work to do. You need to find dreams that are worth pursuing. Go back through your list. One-by-one, consider each dream. Say it out loud. Imagine the end goal in your head. Is it a dream that makes your spirit soar? Does it fill you with hope? Keep it on the list. If it doesn't, cross it off. We only want to take serious, life-changing, true-to-you dreams into the next step.
Step Four: Determine OriginThe next question you must ask of your dreams is this: "Is the dream from God?" This is a very important question to ask because if the dream is from God, it will stand:
The opposite applies too; if your dream is not from God, your work toward it is meaningless. So take the time. Get on your knees. Consider, "Did God put this dream in my heart?"
Even after spending time with God, asking Him this question, I often still am uncertain of my dream's origin. If that's you too, welcome to the club! To help you discern the origin, walk through these steps:
- Weigh it against Biblical truths. Do the research. Spend time in the Word. Does my dream fit with God's word? Does the purpose of my dream align with God's purpose? Does it in any way contradict? Do I feel God is equipping me to do this?
- Discuss it with wise, godly counsel. Research complete, choose a fellow Christian as your sounding board. Present them with your dream and research. See if they agree that your dream is from God; that it aligns with His purpose and your gifting. Be willing to listen, but always weigh what they say against what God says. If it aligns - consider it. If it doesn't - get rid of it.
Step Five: TrustChoose a dream that remains on your list. Look at it. Consider it. How does it make you feel? Sure, you've taken your time: racked your brain, set realistic expectations, soul-searched, submitted for peer-approval, and feel God's prompting. Yet, you're still uncertain. You're excited, but nervous; confident, yet terrified. That's normal. Any dream comes with its own set of fears.
Maybe you're wondering, "Will it be worth it?"
Will others mock you? Undoubtedly. But:
And most importantly:
See, following a dream - especially a God-given dream - requires trust. It's not going to be easy. At times it will be downright terrifying. But, we can trust Him to lead us.
You're ready. You're armed with a realistic, authentic, peer-approved, God-breathed dream. All that's left is for you to take this leap of faith, knowing that God will catch you if you fall. His arms are the most loving, His presence the most accepting, His promises the most enduring. It's a good place to be. Go on, He has you.
With Love and Prayers,
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