Live Your Dreams Now
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2006 7 Dec
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Shannon and Michael Primicerio's soon-to-be-released book, Life. Now.: Overcoming the 10 Obstacles that Derail Your Dreams, (Bethany House, 2007).
What dreams lie dormant in your heart? Whatever you wish you could pursue someday isn’t really out of your reach right now. If you start making deliberate choices to pursue your dreams – without waiting for your circumstances to change – you don’t have to wait to see your dreams begin to come true.
So don’t wait for someday. Overcome obstacles standing in the way and start living your dreams now! Here’s how:
* Overcome fear. Know that, although it’s natural to feel fear about taking the risks necessary to pursue your dreams, giving into your fear will stop your progress. Realize that God will give you all the power you need to do whatever He is calling you to do. Rely on Him for help, knowing that He never fails. Don’t worry about what other people think of your dreams, since doing so will allow them to control your dreams. Feel free to seek counsel from a few trustworthy people who are close to you, but dismiss critics who don’t have your best interests at heart. Ask God to give you the courage to do what He wants you to do, no matter what others think. Make whatever changes you need to make to stop playing it safe and living in a rut. Move, change jobs, find a new church, or do anything else to get you unstuck and on the road toward where you want to go. Meet with a trusted friend, family member, or pastor to honestly express your dreams and fears, and ask that person to pray for you. Check back in with this person regularly as you make progress toward fulfilling your dreams.
* Stop trying to earn other people’s approval. Ask God to help you be comfortable with the unique person He has made you to be. Then be yourself, rather than the person others think you should be. Expect that, somewhere along the way while you pursue your dreams, you’re going to lose the approval of some people close to you. Don’t worry about asking anyone except God for permission to go after your dreams. Understand that sometimes, in order to obey God, you’ll need to disappoint other people. Ask God to give you the confidence you need to move forward with what He wants you to do, even when people you care about don’t support you. For one week, keep track of how you make your decisions (both simple ones like where to go to dinner and complicated ones like whether or not to take a certain job). As you make each decision, write down whether you did what you really wanted to do, or whether you did what you felt others wanted you to do. Then, after the week is up, study your notes to notice a pattern in your decision-making strategies. Going forward, remember to choose what you want to do instead of seeking other people’s approval.
* Be willing to leave the comforts of home. Understand that pursuing your dreams often requires venturing out beyond all that’s comfortable to you now. Don’t let a love for the familiar stand in the way of your dreams. If you live at home with your parents, set a time for leaving and stick to it. Establish true independence in your life. If you’re stuck in a dead-end job, look around for better opportunities and go after them. If a longtime friend doesn’t support your quest to fulfill your dreams, find some new friends who will support you. If your current area doesn’t offer the resources you need to pursue your dreams, move to a place that will better enable you to pursue them. Don’t be afraid to leave behind a way of life that you’ve been conditioned to think is normal so you can discover something better. Leave small thoughts behind and dream big.
* Trade average for excellent. Don’t be satisfied with halfhearted living. Recognize that in order to give your best to pursuing your dreams, you need to be at your best as a person. Decide to live a life of significance – one that makes the world a better place because you lived. Ask God to use your ordinary life to accomplish extraordinary purposes. Never stop learning. Take care of your body through good nutrition and regular exercise so it will serve you well as you go after your dreams. Remove clutter from your home, office, and car so you can think more clearly and use your time more productively. Write down your goals clearly on flash cards, and review them regularly to keep them in the forefront of your mind and stay on track. Find a photo of something that represents a goal you have (such as a photo of an island if you’re dreaming of vacationing in Hawaii one day), and place it somewhere relevant (such as by your ATM card to help you remember to save). Celebrate whenever you make accomplish something that moves you closer to your goals. Every day, spend time with God in prayer about your dreams and your progress toward them.
* Surrender a sense of control. Realize and accept the fact that you can’t control many things that happen to you. Whenever you encounter frustration and disappointment as you pursue your dreams, identify what your feelings are and face them with grace, trusting in the fact that God is still working out good purposes in your life. Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself. Know that, although you can’t always change your circumstances, you can always change your attitude in response to them. Pray for the Holy Spirit to help you grow in the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Let go of the way you think things should happen, and trust God to guide you through His best plans for your life. Resist the temptation to be jealous of others who are seeing their dreams come true while you’re still waiting. Simply remind yourself of all you do have to be thankful for, and keep moving forward toward your goals.
* Start where you are. Don’t wait for a certain time or situation to start going after your dreams. Start right now, right in your current circumstances. Be creative about maximizing your time. Know that if you invest even small amounts of time toward reaching your dreams, over the long haul your investment will pay off in a big way. Whenever you have idle time, fill it in productive ways (such as by listening to Scripture on your commute to work). Don’t let seemingly urgent things like household chores and checking e-mail distract you from what’s most important. Make sure that you’re focusing on important tasks – ones that will help your dreams come true – first, and just fit all the “urgent” tasks in as you can. Establish and grow relationships with key people who can help you fulfill your dreams. Pray for God to lead you to a mentor or two and place the right people alongside you at the right times as you go after your dreams. Don’t wait for all the pieces of a plan to make perfect sense to you before moving forward if you sense God calling you to do so; be willing to take steps of faith as He leads you.
* Use money to fund your progress. Recognize that you’ll need to spend money to pursue most of your dreams. Don’t let financial constraints prevent you from following your dreams. Instead, think and pray about a plan to make money available, over time, to fund your progress. Get and stay out of debt to free up cash to use for pursuing your dreams, such as starting your own business or going back to school to earn a certain degree. Set up a budget and stick to it so you don’t overspend. If you’re not bringing in enough income, start looking for a second job or a new primary job that pays more. Set short- and long-term financial goals. Save as much as you can, tithe faithfully, and give generously.
* Stay motivated. Remind yourself often of the reasons why you’re making sacrifices and working hard to pursue your dreams. Paint a vivid mental picture of what you want your life to be like after you’ve achieved your goals. Write out a plan for how to make your dreams realities and move forward with that plan while inviting God to edit your plan as He sees fit. Dream lavishly and expect God to do even more than you could ever imagine or ask. Ask Him to keep encouraging you as you follow His dreams for your life.
* Follow through. Be persistent when you face challenges on your way to fulfilling your dreams. Don’t grumble about difficulties; instead, be thankful that you have the gift of each new day to keep making progress. Try to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Be prepared for trials and tragedies that will inevitably threaten to derail your dreams. When you encounter them, depend on the hope that Jesus offers and keep working to make progress as you can. Don’t let your mistakes or failures cause you to give up. Stay focused on your vision, keep working hard, and continue to trust God.
* Keep seeking God’s will. Constantly check in with God to make sure your dreams align with His will for your life. Spend time with Him daily in prayer. Regularly read, study, and meditate on passages of the Bible. Participate in a church and a small group to build relationships with trusted friends who can help you discern where God is leading you. Make your relationship with God your highest priority in life. Know that if you seek God Himself first – before your dreams – then your dreams will fall into place.
Adapted from Life. Now.: Overcoming the 10 Obstacles that Derail Your Dreams, copyright 2007 by Shannon and Michael Primicerio. Published by Bethany House Publishers (a division of Baker Publishing Group), Bloomington, Mn., www.bethanyhouse.com.
Shannon Kubiak Primicerio is the author of The Divine Dance, God Called a Girl, and the BEING A GIRL... series. A popular national retreat speaker, Shannon has also been featured in such media outlets as PBS's Religion and Ethics Newsweekly and Time magazine. She has a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Biblical Studies from Biola University.
Michael Primicerio has served as a youth pastor's assistant for three years. He has discipled teenage boys and taught at youth camps, high school chapels, and in a regular youth group setting. He attended Calvary Chapel Bible College, including time abroad in Israel.