This article was first published by Faithfully Magazine and can be read HERE
When I was growing up I was a more “in the moment” guy. I didn’t necessarily have goals or dreams. I just knew I wanted to be rich and successful, have a pretty wife, well behaved children etc. You know the usual stuff most people want when they are teenagers. I had no idea how to achieve any of that. My wife, God bless her heart, got me on the right track. When we started dating in my 20s she asked me what some of my dreams were. I told her one was about a T-Rex who didn’t get a job because he couldn’t tie a tie. She almost broke up with me because she was talking about goals. I made her a mixtape of Boyz II Men songs and it worked, she talked to me again. So, in honor of them I am going to make 3 important references to Boyz II Men before this article is over.
We all know the usual suspects when it comes to our goals/dreams failing. The Hall of Fame answers are drugs, alcohol, corrupt friends, procrastination, and no ambition. There are more but we know those ones good because we know someone who has fallen because of them. Maybe even someone reading this. One thing I have learned is that for your dreams to work out they must be in line with the will of God. You don’t decide what you want to do then include God. You start off by including God then he directs your steps. But what about the things in our lives that seem very helpful or beneficial that stunt your dreams from becoming a reality? How do we successfully deal with those without coming off as spoiled or entitled? I am so glad you are here. Let’s dive in with 3 things that seem good but once you and God are in lock step, they can derail your dreams if you let them.
In my house my Netflix account has profiles set up as “Guy who pays” and for my two kids they are labelled “Parasite 1” and “Parasite 2”. I let them fight over who is who. Someone out there is probably saying “But…but children are a blessing from the Lord”, and they are right. Especially during “tax return” time and “come in here and hand me that remote that is 5 feet away from me” time. I am sure they are beneficial during other times but those two are the most recent memory that I have (Being a parent is so much easier if you are comfortable with bribery and lies). Kids use a tremendous amount of resources, time and energy. A normal day is after you get off work then (insert activity) practice, then dinner, then help with homework and this cursed new math. Somewhere in there you should remember you have a spouse/significant other. By the time you clean up and take a shower its already 11:39pm and your dream that you were supposed to be working on becomes a literal dream because you fell asleep in the closet while you are supposed to be trying on clothes for tomorrow.
Or maybe you had a budget for your dream, and you are ready to start and you get that “I’m late” text from your wife. Or perhaps you were the one that sent that text and now the only dream you have is of dollar signs with wings leaving your bank account. Clothes, food, tutors, sport, violin, college, house instead of an apartment, SUV instead of a Honda Civic. Kids demand so much. How am I supposed to start my coffee shop now when this kid needs a yard to play in. Cue Boyz II Men singing “It’s so hard to say goodbye” while your dream packs up and leaves.
Don’t worry God has got your back. He will send you help (accept it), signs (pay attention to them), encouragement (embrace it) and resources (use them). He wants your dream to flourish. If your dream is God’s will the God will make a way. One day your kids will see your dream become a success and it will make them better people. And at worst they will grow up to be professional remote-control retrievers, if that ever becomes a career.
Wait, what? I thought love “was a many splendored thing?” It is, but it will make you do some insane things. For example. I don’t understand how God can have 10 commandments for the entire world but my wife has 172 rules just for our house. It is because she loves me (or so she says). When I consistently break approximately 169 of those rules and she looks at me with what can only be described as “divorce eyes”, but she never actually calls the attorney. That is healthy love. But what about when you are on step 4 of your 6-part plan for your dream and your significant other must move five states over because of a promotion? Or things are so bad in the marriage that you must spend more time working on things instead of your dream. And you have to say those magical words “But I love him/her” Siri, please play Boyz II Men “It’s so hard to say goodbye” as you watch your dream drive away.
A lot of times we love our dream or what our dreams can bring us more than we love God. God is a jealous God. You start and then continue to love someone or something more than him and it might as well be a low rated sitcom. He/she/it is getting cancelled. Learn to love God, and you will learn a healthy love for anything else in your life. Trust me, I have about 87 love songs on my playlist. (I made a mixtape once).
How you were raised
I am going to tread lightly here before I get angry emails about how I disrespected someone’s mother. My mother called me the other day to fix her computer and I was so happy about that. Not because I got to help her but because I was like “well, well well, if it isn’t Miss “get off that computer” years 1994-2006. Imagine if I had just gotten off the computer like she wanted, and never kept at it. I would be in terrible shape right now. Your grandparents, parents, crazy uncle, and sophisticated aunt all had a hand in raising you. The good and the bad. But only the truth they teach you about God will help you the most. I had an uncle who gave me excellent advice and said, “If it’s one thing video games teach us it’s that when you meet enemies that means you are going in the right direction, so do not give up on your dreams”. But this is also the same uncle who calls a chicken tender a “ranch shovel” so I don’t know. So, my advice, use what you were taught growing up wisely. That could be the difference between your local newspaper writing an article about how you overcame adversity and succeeded in your dream or you sliding down a wall crying asking Alexa to play Boyz II Men “It’s so hard to say goodbye”, as your dream rides off into the sunset (that’s three references and you are welcome). God places people in your life throughout your life to help you (let them), but don’t let them destroy your dream. Make sure they are helping you.
These are three things I have personally let end one dream or another. I wish I hadn’t but it happened. All three are things people would say are excellent things to have in your life. They are, but if used incorrectly it could be a major detriment. Make sure your dreams line up with God’s will. Seek his wisdom, and obey his commandments. God is the real answer you are looking for because one day you will be in a dream and you will see a toilet. Don’t use it…it’s a trap.