Realizing Your Dreams
- Cliff Young Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2008 16 Oct
If we don’t have our dreams, we have nothing.
— The Astronaut Farmer
I love the Walt Disney Park’s mystique and theme, “Where dreams come true.” My belief in dreams and miracles (prior to my relationship with Jesus) was instilled early in my childhood through trips to Disneyland. Even though I have learned several of the Disney secrets, have been frustrated professionally, and have experienced disappointment in my personal life, I am not deterred from believing that my dreams can come true.
My desire of being a husband and a father is one dream that has taken a beating over the years. In the early ‘90s, I spent five years working with a church youth group mentoring a group of young men. Along with challenging these men spiritually, we also spent a great deal of time talking about girls, dating and relationships. Fast forward fifteen years and all of these guys are married with children, while their “mentor” is writing articles for singles. Did I miss something along the way? Did I not follow some aspect of my own advice?
There are many who wonder if life has passed them by, if their best years are behind them, or if they have been robbed of their dreams. (Did I just hear an “Amen”?) However, if we spend our time lamenting over the past and what might have been instead of what actually is, we will be blind and deaf to what God has for us today.
Every new day begins with possibilities. It’s up to us to fill it with things that move us towards progress and peace. Ronald Reagan
Life can be hard and broken dreams can beat down the strongest of faiths. I see my younger friends living out their dreams and wonder about my own, but through God’s Word I find encouragement on how to maintain and progress towards my own dreams in the midst of my friends experiencing theirs.
Do Not Covet
Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife…or anything else your neighbor owns (Exodus 20:17).
Covet simply means to desire inordinately (exceeding reasonable limits).
Coveting may be the most common unspoken sin in society. It is often difficult to go through a day without, or wanting, what another has—be it large or small. However, when the desire becomes all consuming, it becomes sinful.
I watch couples enjoy an intimate dinner. I stand up for others as they exchange their wedding vows. I drive by ball fields and see parents cheer for their child. How can I maintain my desire for the same without it becoming an obsession?
My comfort comes from knowing that the God of the Universe knew and understood from the beginning the very things I would struggle with. He specifically says do not covet your neighbor’s house, wife, or anything else your neighbor owns. That’s pretty self-explanatory. It is a command for us to stop (excessively) wanting what others have, that includes relationships, and all that comes with it.
(He) has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 1:3).
I find it easy to fall into desiring what I don’t have or wanting what others have, yet Jesus has blessed me with every spiritual blessing I need in order to serve Him, bring honor to Him and live a fruitful life. My focus needs to be on utilizing those blessings for His Glory, not my own. I am here to serve, not to be served.
Be Happy (or at Least Joyful) for Others
Never seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord (Leviticus 19:18).
How can I honestly be happy for those who are experiencing the things that I desire? How do I genuinely be joyful about what others have that I long for?
My inability to be happy for others could lie deeper within my being. I may not accept myself for who I am, for whom God created me to be, or for the place I am currently at. I am not happy for others because I don’t like myself. I do not love my neighbor because I do not love myself. I am not experiencing true joy in my life because I have not put my entire faith and trust in my relationship with Jesus.
There is no easy formula for being happy while others seem to be happier. There is no easy way to accept the struggles that we face while others seem to live unscathed. However, there is one illustration that comes to mind.
If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine (Matthew 26:39).
Jesus struggled with taking the mantle of mankind on His shoulders. His willingness to follow through was based upon the love He had for His Father and what His Father desired. Many of us don’t understand God’s plan for us, we are perplexed with His timeframe, we don’t realize how God has protected us, and we have difficulty seeing how He is utilizing us.
I am guilty of thinking I know what is best for me and direct my steps accordingly. Oftentimes, I am wrong in my thinking and in my steps.
Jesus tells us if we draw closer to Him, He will draw closer. Then we will begin to hear His voice and to recognize what He has planned for us. As a result we can accept ourselves for how and for what purpose God created us. If we truly believe we are complete in the Lord, we won’t worry about what we don’t have, but more importantly, we will have genuine joy in our heart toward others.
Godliness leads to love for other Christians, and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone (2 Peter 1:5-7).
Have Faith. Do Not Be Discouraged. God Will Give More Than We Can Imagine.
When God promised Abraham that he would become the father of many nations, Abraham believed him. … .And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though he knew that he was too old to be a father at the age of one hundred … (Romans 4:18, 19).
Most singles have the dream to be married along with raising children. When our dream is not realized within the parameters and timeframe we (or society) have set for us, disappointment may set in, our hope may weaken and our faith in God doubted.
However, if we put our hope and faith in the Lord (and His timeframe), rather than ourselves (and our timeframe), we can find solace in Jeremiah 29:11:
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
A 44-year old female friend of mine never had a serious relationship. She invested her time in her work, church, family and friends. On a blind date, she was introduced to a 46-year old man, who also never had a serious relationship. Within three months they were engaged. Seven months after being married, they adopted two little girls.
Did either of them specifically plan for this? Within a year and a half a woman and a man, no different than many of us, became a wife and a husband, a mother and a father.
Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desire (Psalm 37:4).
Don’t give up on yourself or on your dreams—God has not forgotten you. His plans for you are bigger and better than anything you can dream of.
Don’t take your disappointment out on others by not being happy for them. Love God, love yourself, and love others as God commands.
A friend is always loyal (Proverbs 17:17).
Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the monthly column, He Said-She Said, in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel. An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to [email protected].