Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Incredible Value of Not Pursuing Your Dreams

Dreams are powerful.  They inspire and energize us.  Writers often remind us of such. 

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. -Henry David Thoreau
Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. -Harriet Tubman
Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal. -Pamela Vaull Starr

As helpful as our dreams are in getting us off the couch and on the path to accomplishment there is something more.  There is incredible value in not pursuing your dreams. 

Our dreams come from within the boundaries of knowledge and experience sprinkled with ample amounts of imagination.   For example at five in Kindergarten my dream for my life was based on the knowledge and experience of an American 5 year old.  I dreamed of being big enough to not have to take naps anymore.  Hmmm…  You get it.  I dreamed within the parameters of the widest expanse of my world at the time. 

So with all the accumulated knowledge, experience, and added imagination that I can muster at 25 years of age I still dream within the parameters of the widest expanse of my world.  At 30 or 40 or 50 I keep dreaming within those parameters. What if I dream for example of being an Olympic athlete?  Then one day with dedication and hard work I arrive and win gold.  I achieved my dream.  But what if something more amazing, more satisfying, more lasting was out there, but I let my dream get in the way of the life I could have lived? 

Crazy?  Maybe.  For those who know the Living and True God there is more in life than the accomplishment of my dreams.  Let’s take a look. 

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—
1 Corinthians 2:9 (ESV)

Beyond the boundaries of my dreams are God’s dreams for me.  Things no one knows…He knows.  Things no one has imagined for me…He has imagined.  He has prepared things for now and things for later that exceed all my expectations, imaginings and dreaming.  But I am in danger of going my own way of going after what seems right to me and ending up losing out on what is really life. 

  There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
Proverbs 16:25 (NLT)

The Apostle Paul was a pursuer of dreams.  His success was significant in his day.  A Hebrew of Hebrews.  The ultimate scholar.  A religious zealot.  A Pharisee.  He was well positioned and probably well respected by those around him in Judaism.  His family would have been proud.  But then Paul got it right with God.  He met Jesus and things changed.  He looked back at the dreams, the successes, and the accomplishments and said:

Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ  Philippians 3:8 (NLT)

Paul found the infinite value of knowing Jesus.  A life beyond his dreams was of more value.  But for many a Christian there is a double-mindedness.  Thoreau’s encouragement misses the depth of Paul’s example. 

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. -Henry David Thoreau

God has so much more for those who love Him.  Dreaming His dreams is a better way to go. 
In the days of the Prophet Jeremiah there were those who claimed their dreams were from God.  They wanted to live the life they had imagined.  But God spoke against them and the false dreams. 

 “Let these false prophets tell their dreams, but let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my every word. There is a difference between straw and grain!  Jeremiah 23:28 (NLT)

What God has for us we may not be able to picture today, but we can trust Him.  He will create in our hearts a dream of a better place and a higher life and an abundance of life we could discover nowhere else and He will bring it about for our good and His glory.