We all have promises and dreams inside of us that we’d like to see come to life in our lives. Here are 6 things that could ruin your future.
I love the naive optimism of kids. It can be painfully cute sometimes to watch how blissfully ignorant they are to the woes of the world. The 5 year old girl who is afraid of heights comes up and tells you they want to be an astronaut. The young boy who is struggling in school talks about being a professor. That isn’t to say that children who have challenges earlier on don’t grow out of them or grow beyond their youthful limitations, far from it. But it is awesome to see what a cheerful outlook they have towards their future despite their present day reality.
Things change as you get older and you encounter more disappointments. So you might not pass the physical tests required to join NASA, you find out that maybe you haven’t moved passed your lack of passion for academia, and so on. So, what happens is that our worldview becomes more realistic and shaped by the experiences we encounter. I think this can actually be quite a healthy thing, and sometimes a dose of realism when you face your dreams and aspirations is quite a healthy and helpful way to live. In a lot of ways, it can allow you to actually achieve something even greater than something that may have always just remained a pipe dream.
That said, even in our adulthood, there are a lot of dreams and desires that we carry with us even into our old age. Things like building family, getting married to the right person, stepping into your calling, and absolutely maximizing the influence that you could have for the greater good.
But there are often so many things that beset us and hold us back from truly reaching those promises and dreams. Here are 6 of them.
#1: Lack of support
I had the privilege of talking to one of the great business minds in the Australian IT industry earlier this evening, and we got talking about the things that make companies successful. He was saying that if you look at any of the greatest companies in the world throughout history, they aren’t the ones where the managers did all the work and bark orders – rather, they are the companies that empower their people and get everyone moving forward together.
It’s amazing what we can do together. I recently wrote about 7 Reasons Why Marriage Is Awesome, and one of them is definitely that two are better than one. If you look at what people can do for good when they get in a big group and act in unity, it’s quite amazing really.
It makes me wonder how many times we may be missing the core ingredient of the right people in our lives.
John Maxwell calls this the Law of the Inner Circle – that your success is often determined by the 5 people closest to you. Many other people have different terms for it. But perhaps we cannot fully put together what we want to put together because we don’t have the connections we need. And if you and I want to truly succeed in life, we need to ensure we have the right team around us to do so.
This is an unpopular word, but it is one of the most destructive forces in the world today. Look at how messed up our world is when people get into a state where they refuse to forgive – they shoot their families, they blackmail their wives, they overdramatize very trivial things, every single conversation with them is like tiptoeing around a mad orangutan.
And often, they fail to lay a hold of their tomorrow.
One of my old pastors used to say that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Often, the person you aren’t forgiving moves on with their life and really doesn’t care about what you do with yours. Sometimes they do. Sometimes people have gone to the moon and back to apologize and make it up to you, but you refuse to hear it. And the bitterness produced by unforgiveness can cause you to criticize and belittle great things in your life.
For the sake of tomorrow, let it go. The one you are hurting the most is actually you.
#3: Lack of gratitude
Jews and Christians regularly look back to the story of Moses and Joshua leading the people of Israel out of captivity into the Promised Land. The Promised Land was a place that God had told their ancestors would belong to them, and that it was one of the most amazing places they could ever experience.
The story shows us a people who had a dream in their heart and a wanting to go into the promise, but a stack of destructive habits that stopped them from going in. A lack of gratitude was one of them, and their complaining carried a steep price.
Imagine if you bought someone a new car. Whatever their dream car may be – a Ferrari, a Lambo, maybe even a Camry (if you’re simple like me). Now imagine after all the trouble you went to of saving up for and purchasing the car, that they took the keys and would not stop whining about all the problems they had with it. They didn’t like the keychain you gave them, they didn’t like the seats, they didn’t think it was the right colour.
Their critical spirit ruined the gift. And that’s what happens when a critical and ungrateful spirit receives a good thing.
For this reason, it is often the case that ungrateful people do not enter their promise. It’s because even if they did enter their promise, their inability to be grateful would ruin it.
If you want to foster a grateful spirit in your life, stop and have a real look at all the good things in your life. Make a list. Be thankful for them. There is more than you realize. And when you finally do enter into the fuller extent of your promise, you will enjoy it the way it was intended to be enjoyed.
#4: Failure to recognize today may be what you’re waiting for
We all hate being stopped at a traffic light behind someone that is still stopped when the light turns green. They might be sitting on their Facebook or picking their nose or watching the birds or something. Wherever their attention is, it isn’t on the road, and they haven’t realized they are waiting for something that has already happened.
I wonder if the prayers we’re praying, the opportunities we’re hoping for, the moments we’re after… what if they are actually already here?
What if you were waiting for opportunities to make new friends, while being surrounded by hundreds of great people? What if you wanted to have a good job where you could bless others financially, but didn’t realize you’ve already got one? So many other examples.
And a grateful and obedient heart will more easily and readily recognize the opportunities of today.
#5: Failure to start providing for yourself
Something interesting happened when the Israelities finally reached the Promised Land. Their whole journey, they had clothes that were kept supernaturally intact, they had food delivered daily, and they never really had to work for much.
But when they entered the Promised Land, Scripture says the manna stopped.
When that happens in most of our lives (a lack of easy provision), we tend to think we’ve made a mistake. Often what we aren’t seeing is that in the land of Promise, you now have to look after yourself.
Why? Because you are able to. And your supernatural provision in the promise is possibly your own ability to provide.
So many things that we want to do and see in our lives… we actually have the means to. Want to get married? You can ask the girl out, or get to know people better, or put yourself out there. Want to earn a good income? Invest in your education, research different industries, find your passion. Want to change the government? Learn the political system, meet the local councilors, make a difference.
Maybe you’re not waiting for the promise, maybe it’s waiting for you to start acting it out.
Definitely the biggest thing that can ruin a great future is fear. Fear of things not working out. Fear of things actually working out. Fear of not having enough. Fear of having too much. Fear of making the wrong decision. Fear of making the right decision.
And so, like the Israelites, our heart wants the Promise, but we instead start to long for our captivity. We want to keep wandering in circles. We know what this is like. It’s safe here. We have things under control here.
But often greater influence lies on the other side of putting the walls down, letting go of the past, and grabbing hold of a new tomorrow.
There are many, many more things that can stop us from truly experiencing our greatest future. And the future ahead of you is bright, my friend. Let’s not let any dumb thing hold us back from truly loving the lives we were made for. What are some of the other things that can hold us back?