At the beginning of every year people throw around the concept of new year resolutions, and truth be told, hearing it gets a bit old after a while. In reality we can make changes any time we desire, and often do.
Maybe it is different for you, but for me those resolutions somehow taste of previous failures – diets, exercise, changing bad habits, etc. They do not motivate me to really change, but focus on regrets instead.
So this year I want to challenge myself as well as you to focus on dreams.
Yes, I know that dreams without a plan will remain a fantasy. But I do not want to discount the value of dreaming. But I do want to make a distinction. When our dreams are not aligned with God’s guidance, we may end up in pain or discouragement or regret. This is the message of Proverbs 29:18.
Yes, we can have very selfish dreams. But even from those places of selfish desire can come the roots of co-creating with God. When we admit and submit those places of yearning to God, beautiful plans can emerge. Will God modify our plans? Yes, most certainly at times. Will He destroy our dreams? If we are headed for destruction I think He might out of love and care for us. But God loves to give good gifts to His children.
I would submit to you that most regrets that people confess as they grow older are not about the things that they did that they are not proud of, but rather the things they might have done, but didn’t. Those are the stuff of dreams not pursued.
I am not going to confess all my regrets here, but simply encourage you to consider some of the dreams that you have buried or put aside for “later”. Later comes much faster than you can imagine. If you want to learn to play an instrument, start now. If you want to try your hand at writing, write now. If you want to volunteer for something meaningful, make a call and check it out. Whatever is at the back of your mind, bring it forward. Play with it. Journal about it. Share it with another safe person.
Some of these dreams comes as a burden on your heart. You see what isn’t but could be. For others you see something that exists but could be better or bigger or more and want to lend your expertise or energy. A lot depends on your personality, your resources and your skills. When dreaming, optimism is helpful when it stays within the confines of reality. And skepticism is helpful when it keeps us anchored to reality but has broken free from the bonds of fear.
Whenever Nan & I took a huge step towards our future we were scared, but excited. We bought a home. She entered graduate school and changed professions. I quit a job and pursued a music career. I changed careers. We bought a business. We sold a business. We bought a retreat home. Each one started as a dream and felt risky. But each one was worth our effort because our motives were positive, or at least neutral. Evil can also dream and take risks. Even if there is a temporary payoff there is an ultimate cost.
So, what do you want to do about your dreams? Or do you even allow yourself to dream? Or maybe you need to release your dreams to God and see what happens? And lastly maybe you need to pray and ask God to show you possibilities that He sees for you.