When we’re young, we love to dream and are fearless with them. They seem to have no bounds. Yet, the older we get, many of these dreams fade away and are replaced with more “realistic” goals. An unfortunate result of this fading was confirmed by a recent study of those in their twilight years. They were asked to share the top regrets of their life now that it was coming to an end. Failing to pursue their dreams, financial or otherwise, ranked among the highest. For instead of pursuing them, they kept them locked away in their hearts and minds and never planted their seeds of potential.
Clearly, some dreams are more imagination, but there are those that have true merit. In fact, they may be seeds God has planted in our hearts He desires us to pursue. Why then would so many of us let them fade into obscurity? Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be. Additionally, we don’t have to go to the other extreme and sacrifice all other priorities in pursuit of achieving our dreams. For the risk in pursuing dreams is that if they aren’t surrendered to God and balanced with Godly perspective, they can become a god and an unhealthy obsession that spirals us into a self-centered lifestyle that sacrifices all in pursuit of one self-focused passion.
So, what is the balance and how can we protect our dreams from withering away, while at the same time keep them from consuming us completely? The answer of course is our faith in Jesus Christ and keeping Him and His purposes first and foremost in all we do and dream:
Plant: We know the power of a seed. It is amazing to see how something so small, when planted and nurtured can grow into something both beautiful and bountiful. These are like our dreams. We all have dream seeds that we can either choose to plant, or keep locked away. When we pray, God will sometimes reveal these dreams to us (Psalm 37:4). They may seem unrealistic, but when surrendered in prayer, and if from Him, He will guide us into which ones He wants us to plant. Obviously, with God, we know anything He does is for the benefit of others and brings Him glory. So, consider and pray about which dreams benefit others and His Kingdom, and which ones are solely to benefit ourselves?
Provide: Now that we have prioritized our dreams and began the courageous steps in planting them, we must now provide for and nourish them. Perhaps one of our dreams was to write a book. One that serves to encourage others and honor God. The problem is we don’t know where to begin. This is where we pursue gaining the skills and steps necessary to get the process started. Just like planting a seed we never grew before, we need to know how much sunlight, water and nutrients help it grow best, we need to do the same study in nourishing and providing for our dreams’ maturity (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
Protect: We all have seen gardens and plants destroyed by weeds and insects. Thus, we take steps to protect them by regularly weeding and tending to our garden by adding select pesticides, either organic or otherwise. Likewise, we must protect the development of our dreams. Distractions and discouragements will surely arise. Therefore, being disciplined to set aside specific amounts of time is important. We may even decide to join a club or an accountability group of some kind to help keep us motivated. The important thing is staying in prayer and remembering that growing our dreams in a balanced and healthy way requires patience, planning and proactivity to reach full maturity (Proverbs 25:28).
Application: “Little By Little” – Proverbs 13:11
There are various verses in the Bible where God reminds us to the benefits, value and purpose of gaining new ground little by little. There is a maturity that develops when we acquire slowly over time. For we learn the value of patience, persistence, perseverance and prayer. So many have squandered and wasted what has come too fast, or too soon, and God inspired dreams and visions are too precious to be wasted like that. So, we must remember, they take time and to trust and rely on God to help us pursue them for His glory. However, we must first choose to pursue them and that is a vital step so many fail to take. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be true for us.