Life doesn’t always have a happy ending. We don’t always get what we want. Childhood dreams don’t become a reality. Idealistic collegiate dreams don’t always work out in the real world. Goals and plans sometimes never materialize. Life entails hoping and hurting, trying and failing, wanting but not always receiving, dreaming but not always having our dreams come true.
Most of us have hopes and dreams. We may dream of building a business, creating a respected work of art, writing a great novel, or curing a disease. We long for our lives to be significant. But, what if our dreams and hopes crash on the rocks of disappointment. What then?
As difficult as it may sound, some dreams die. Some deaths are unavoidable, some unnecessary. Some dreams are best unfulfilled. Some dreams remain broken as a part of God’s will.
As painful as it may be to admit, there are times when my dreams die. When I choose to dream outside of God’s will, my dreams may die. I need to understand that—
- When my dreams are all passion and no wisdom, then they will die.
I ought to embrace passion without neglecting wisdom. A successful businessman who owns a chain of Christian bookstores reported a sad case. A husband and wife started a Christian bookstore in a small community because they felt “called” to this ministry. Despite warning signals, they were sure the Lord would bless their efforts. The businessman tried to educate them with facts; he saw that the population base was far too small to support a full-scale store. But they reasoned the Lord would override that limitation. After all, God is bigger than marketing statistics. So they invested heavily in their dream and lost it all.
I need to know and understand that careful research, study, strategy, and planning are necessary for dream building.
2. When my dreams are all pride and not in harmony with my giftedness, then they die.
While I may want to run a mile in world class record setting time, and while I may want to be a million-dollar salesman, and while I may want to be a country and western singer, it’s just not going to happen. Not that there is anything wrong with these dreams, but none mesh with my talents and gifts. I can dream them, but they are pride-filled dreams, empty and destitute. Tragedy will always befall me when I reach for the unreachable. Through ignorance or blind pride, when I try to become someone else instead of myself, I violate the person God made me to be.
3. When my dreams are all pleasure and no maturity, then they should die.
How often I have impetuously dreamed of driving around in a BMW, living in an exclusive neighborhood, having my face grace the cover of Time magazine, and having a condo on a Florida beach. I have to remind myself that God does not grant my greed, but my needs. His desire is not to make me more comfortable, but to build my character.
4. When my dreams are all personal and not for Christ’s kingdom, they may die.
Scripture says, “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). This is my chief aim. If my dream glorifies God, I should pursue it. If it doesn’t, I should not.
Without wisdom, knowing my gifts and talents, desiring spiritual maturity, and seeking God’s kingdom my dream will become a nightmare. If my dream is wrapped, covered, and dripping with simply passion, pride, pleasure, and personal interests it is the wrong dream. It will die.
Such was the case of Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Willy’s dream was to be the number one salesman in his company. As his family reflected on his life after his funeral, they realized that he had the wrong dream. He was a great carpenter who loved working with his hands, not a salesman. One of his sons said, “There were a lot of nice days. When he’d come home from a trip; or on Sundays, making the stoop; finishing the cellar; putting on the new porch; when he built the extra bathroom; and put up the garage. You know something, . . . , there’s more of him in that front stoop than in all the sales he ever made. . . . He had the wrong dreams. All, all, wrong. . . . He never knew who he was.”
The wrong dreams die.