Have you ever thought about the word "dream"? I find it interesting that as a noun, it can refer to thoughts and images we experience unconsciously while we sleep, but as a verb it can refer to the conscious act of contemplating possibilities and goals while we're awake.
Often times we try to interpret the dreams we have in our sleep. We excitedly talk to friends and sometimes even strangers, about what they think our dream may mean. But what about those conscious dreams we have for our future? Many of us keep those dreams of future possibilities to ourselves, too scared of what friends or family might say if we told them what we hope for.
I remember when it was time to apply to college. I was always an okay student. Never at the top of my class, but I had a respectable GPA and participated in lots of extra curricular activities and community service. So I wasn't worried about getting into a college, but I was totally unsure about where I wanted to go. I went on college visits and spoke to students and administrators, but nothing really excited me. I planned to major in psychology, so I looked at psych programs and tried to use that to narrow down my choices. I ended up applying to schools all over the country, from coast to coast, with the hope that I just wouldn't get into many schools, so the decision would almost be made for me.
That plan didn't work too well when I got into a bunch of schools and was forced to make a choice. So although I was awarded a full scholarship to attend a university in New Jersey, I made the safe choice and stayed here and attended the University of Southern California.
By the grace of God, I graduated with a B.A. in Psychology, but I knew back then and I realize it even more now, that part of my trouble in deciding where to go to college was that I didn't really want to major in Psychology. I have always found people and the human mind fascinating. So much so that I even attempted to get a masters in psychology years later, but at that time in my life, when I was applying to colleges, my dream was actually to dance.
I have always loved to dance. Ballet, tap, jazz, modern and a little hop hop to boot. Modern and ballet were my favorites. I took classes and had recitals as a young child and was a member of my high school dance company. I dreamed of being a professional dancer. But this was long before Misty Copeland made her mark as the first African American principle dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. With the slightest mention of wanting to dance professionally and major in dance at college, I would get polite smiles and nods and a "that's nice, but you need a 'real' major" or "you don't really have a dancers body, so it will be hard for you to find work." Now I'm definitely not trying to say that if I had pursued it that I would have reached anywhere close to the level of a Misty Copeland. But I am saying that I'll never know what could have been, because I was too scared to fight for my dream. I let everyone else's concern over if I could "make it" as a dancer convince me that I shouldn't even try.
You may have one specific dream or so many dreams that you don't know where to start. And sometimes it seems the bigger the dream; the harder it is to believe that it can come true. We've seen and heard of God doing amazing things for other people, but our minds can't shake the discouraging doubt that maybe something amazing like that is meant for us too.
I love this encouraging quote from Tyler Perry. It's so true. You only need a "yes" from God. You've got to tune out those naysayers and learn to silence your inner critic. That voice that tells us we can't do it before we've even asked God if we can.
When you're fighting for your dreams, there will be victories, challenges and maybe even a few failures along the way, but there are some things you can do to keep yourself on track and in a positive frame of mind.
SEEK His will
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3 NIV
Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 NIV
PRAY for clarity and direction
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9 NLT
ASK for help
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22 NIV
PLAN your steps, set goals
The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps. Proverbs 14:15
ADJUST your life, be flexible and prepared to sacrifice
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT
I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13 NLT
WORK hard, dreams require action
Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper. Proverbs 13:4 NLT
Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty! Proverbs 14:23 NLT
STAY IN THE WORD, keep checking in with God to make sure you're on the right track
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105 NIV
Still need some encouragement to not fear failure? Check out this list of encouraging quotes about failure and success. Encouraging Quotes