Sometimes what you want the most seems so far away. Here are 6 reasons our dreams haven’t come true.
What is it that you want most in your life? Do you already have it? Or does it still seem far away?
This week I’ve really been reminded again of the power of people’s dreams. Most of us have a really big thing, or even a few really big things, that if they happened – man, our lives would just be complete. For a lot of people it’s finding love, and a love that lasts – so many of us have had a completely negative experience with love, so we’re expectant of that valiant day when things turn around for us. Maybe it’s the dream of buying and owning your own house, or maybe a few houses – whether it’s to enjoy that perfect coastal vista you’ve always wanted, a place to raise a growing family, or just another addition to your ever growing property empire. Maybe it’s that illusive perfect job, where you get to make your own hours and dress however you want.
Or maybe, like of all of us, it’s a sense of true fulfillment – thoroughly connecting with and enjoying every decision you’re making. To make a lasting impact in the lives of others. To stop feeling unfulfilled in what you’re doing.
And yet for many of us, our dreams simply remain hope deferred. Always at the centre of attention, but also always feeling like they’re out of reach.
Here are 6 reasons why our dreams haven’t come true… yet.
#1: Because we talk and think too much
In the words of Relient K, “I was thinking overthinking”. Man, we really do think and imagine a lot. We have a lotteries company in Australia that always plays that Beach Boys classic, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?”, as their campaign to get you to buy tickets for the hopes of having the money to pay for all your dreams. Wouldn’t it be nice though? Just to finally have exactly what you want and how you want it?
The harsh reality of our dreams is that they usually just stay dreams because we’re simply not taking enough action. Wanting to be a parent or get married, but not dealing with issues with the opposite sex. Wanting to start a business, but not studying how to do it. Wanting to change the world for many people, but not even changing the world for one person today.
John Maxwell, Fortune 500 speaker, says of this phenomenon, “Overanalysis creates paralysis”. You’re never going to do anything if all you do is think about it.
#2: Because we’re still trying to do it ourselves
I’m a Gen Y’er. My generation has been hammered with the notion of being independent. In every single area of our lives, we can be belittled for becoming dependent or requiring anyone else’s input or assistance in order to be happy or to fulfill any part of our lives. We have to be strong, we have to be independent, we have to be self-made, we have to be able to do it all ourselves.
Unfortunately, the successful fulfillment of any dream requires others.
Have you ever noticed that the most influential entities on earth today are not comprised of individuals? Sure, there may be a recognizable figurehead or a few key leaders, but it really is the combined effort of the whole team that brings success. CNN has no international coverage without staff members in every country working their hardest. The Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Unicef and other related entities are not influential because they only have one person doing all their work for them. You can bet Richard Branson isn’t flying every plane himself. Your dream for increase and belonging can’t happen by yourself.
Like body parts within a human body, there is no success or fulfillment without the whole. It’s only in our connectivity to others that our dreams can be fully realized and enjoyed.
Could it be that what you’re believing for simply hasn’t happened because you’re still trying to do it all yourself? By ourselves we can do our little part, but together we can do so much more. Better together.
#3: Because of other people
To balance the previous point, and to face a very sobering reality in a lot of our lives, our dreams can often be destroyed, diminished, or even completely derailed by others. If you’ve wanted to create an influential business, but your business partner runs off with 80% of the assets and bankrupts the company, your business fails. It destroys you personally because your whole heart was in it. If you’ve dreamt of a stable home, but a family member does something dramatically offensive or destructive, the safety of the environment can be corrupted. Jesus Christ even said of marriage that some wouldn’t do it because of the actions of others (or as the King James puts it so poetically, “are made eunuchs by others”).
Our struggle in the fulfillment of our dreams is that we require others to see them fulfilled, and yet people can so easily destroy what we’d love to build. But we have to try again. Imagine if the prophet Jeremiah never rewrote the scroll of his ministry after the first one was torn to pieces and burnt. We would never have known the words, “I know the plans I have for you”.
I think this is actually quite a sobering thought to take in. I am perfectly capable of ruining someone else’s life. So are you. We all know people who have falling off into addictions and darkness because of the pain inflicted by another. It’s how we respond and pick ourselves back after these situations that will determine whether or not we get another shot at our dream.
#4: Because we need more input and resources
I’m always amazed at how much financial advice out there there is about decreasing your expenditure. You can make savings here, here and here. Spend less and keep spending less, that’s the secret to having enough money to do what we want, we say. Don’t buy that morning coffee, put your $2 in that Coke bottle, and all of the rest of it. Perfectly valid advice.
But it’s missing something.
If you want to do more, you actually need to have more. And to have more, instead of spending or expending less (whether that be money, time, effort, encouragement, whatever), you actually need to increase what is being inputted into your life. You need to be open to exploring the option of increasing the revenue streams coming into your life, or creating new ones. You need to be open to allowing others to love you in ways you haven’t allowed them to love you before. You need to be open to partnership, or forming a team around a goal. Or how about this for a novel concept – let’s join someone who is already in progress in addressing that problem in the world. We’re always looking to start something new – why not be a part of a solution already being worked out?
Either way, it’s going to take more than we have today to do more than we’re doing today.
#5: Because dreams need to be spoken to come true
A secret dream will never be fulfilled. Once again, John Maxwell rightly states in “Put Your Dream To The Test” that all dreams have to pass the test of being spoken about. If you can’t speak about it, it either shows you don’t want it enough, or you haven’t thought deeply enough about it such that you don’t know how to go about achieving it.
I always think of the prayer of Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel. For so long she had been secretly harbouring a desire to have children, but it was only after she spoke out her dream to the prophet Eli that it actually came true. Maybe we haven’t seen our dream/s come to pass simply because we’re still the only ones who know about them.
I’ve seen so many amazing things achieved by people vocalising their dream, and being surprised and even overwhelmed by the number of “you know, that’s always been important to me too” related comments they’ve acquired, and the amazing results those sort of partnerships have led to.
#6: Because we romanticise them too much and fail to recognize them in reality
In the book, For This I Was Born, Brian Houston accurately tears down one of the biggest obstacles to the fulfillment of our dreams – romance.
Many of us won’t start a business because we’ve got this dream of the ivory towers and the busy office with happy employees so ingrained into our retinas that we can’t see that it actually looks like some late and sometimes lonely nights, some hard decisions, and a lot of risk. We won’t enter into or commit to relationships because we have this fairy tale picture of love and marriage, when in reality it looks like some awkward conversations initially as you allow someone else into your life that has only ever contained yourself. We won’t start our ministry because we want to have all the books Joyce Meyer or Steve Furtick, or whoever your ministry hero is, have, but we don’t realize that in reality it looks much different – shepherding people, being there for the journey, starting today instead of waiting for tomorrow.
Are you aware of what the reality of your dream looks like? Or is it simply a mess of romance?
I was really reminded this past Friday night of the power of an “ordinary” moment. I’d stayed back a bit later at church and spent time with a few friends I hadn’t caught up with properly in a while. Little did we know that night that that would be one of the most healing nights for one of the people who came along. If we had missed the power of the ordinary looking moment – just thinking it was “just dinner” at some restaurant on a Friday night – we could have missed something that was truly powerful.
I wonder how many of our dreams are ready to be fulfilled, with their fulfillment staring us in the face, but we fail to recognize that they’re right within our grasp?
Dreams are such a big issue in our lives. I hope that whatever setbacks you’ve faced in the area of your dreams and calling, that you find the freedom to try again, and to see them realized in a big way.
How about you? What are some reasons you think our dreams haven’t come true?