Dreaming comes easy for me…I’ve done it all my life. It comes easy for most people, at least initially, but as we get older, many learn to deny their dreams. Me? I’ve learned to let them run wild…to a point. At some point, I cross a threshold and my longing for what I dream starts turning to disappointment, frustration…and depression.
Part of that is because I tend to overindulge in my dreams and become so overwhelmed by them that I stop trying to sort them out and prioritize them. Along with the realization of the hard work, time and commitment it will take to turn these dreams to reality, I become disenchanted. To recognize this part of my problem is half the battle!
The flip side to that battle is to balance my commitment to the dream, with the rest of my life. You see, I’m a ‘driver’ personality type. That means I’m very task-driven at times and tend to focus on something until it’s done. This gets me into a pinch. There are times when I focus on a dream so directly and so intently, that I lose sight of anything else but success. I take the attitude that everything else can wait until success is realized.
By now, you might see how this could cause a problem. It’s very easy for me to go from one extreme to the other without even realizing it at times…until my marriage is tanking, or my friendships have fallen apart, or I’m so overwhelmed with all left to be done – and at the same time, underwhelmed with the amount of progress made – that I give up in defeat, on yet another dream.
That’s why I am so thankful God is teaching me to recognize both of these extremes. On one hand, I’m always wanting more, and the other hand, I never quite make it…according to my dreams, at least. Over the last year or so though, I’ve had help recognizing God’s dream for my life. I’ve had help recognizing my design, and my gifts; the way God has uniquely equipped me to make a difference in other people’s lives…and ultimately, in his kingdom. I’ve had help recognizing that living a happy, fulfilled life is not about the destination. Michael Hyatt says, “Happiness is not a destination, it happens when we pursue any meaningful goal and feel we’re making progress.”
You see, as a dreamer, I was usually focused on outcome. I usually dreamed of the lifestyle I wanted to be living, instead of living life fully. Dreamers seldom attain any level of satisfaction because they are always dreaming of the end: what the end will look like, feel like, be like: dreaming of being happier.
I don’t want to be a dreamer!
In his book Visioneering, Andy Stanley says, “Dreamers dream about things being different…and think about how nice it would be for something to be done.” “Visionaries envision themselves making a difference…and look for an opportunity to do something.”
I want to be a visionary!
Visionary’s see a preferred future and then work on enacting that future. That ‘future’ is seldom a destination, because visionaries are never quite content with just making things better, they have to to take it further. It is usually just one step in the journey. Another Andy Stanley saying, and I paraphrase here, is that Vision is a portrait that God paints on the heart of a believer, about what could be and should be in the kingdom of God. Visionaries are therefore only content when they have helped usher in ‘what could be and should be in the kingdom of God.’
I’m working on becoming more of a visionary, and less of a dreamer. It’s hard! It takes intentionality, commitment and patience. As I practice this, I find myself happier, and more fulfilled than I’ve ever been. I’m not at a destination. In fact, far from it…if there even was a destination to arrive at.
Hebrews 12:2b says, “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Fortunately, I trust that God has a plan, as long as I’m attentive, purposeful, and taking the path laid before me.
Are you a dreamer, or a visionary? What’s your next step on the “path laid before”? Are you sure you’re on the correct path?
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links”. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I could receive an affiliate commission or other benefit. Regardless, I only recommend products/services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”