“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” – 1 Timothy 6:6
Without dreams, you have no game. You might as well be a leaf trapped in a car vent. We all need things to believe in, aim towards, and achieve. Even when our dreams turn to dust, which sometimes they do, it doesn’t mean we should stop dreaming. Instead, we should learn from it, refine our passions, and develop new dreams.
I believe it is God’s will for us to have dreams. He wants to help us achieve them, so long as they harmonize with his will. It’s not enough to say, “I think, therefore I am.” God is a God of work and purpose. Since we are made in his image, he intends for us to be people of work and purpose. So how is it that our dreams so often turn sour?
Going The Right Way
It’s a challenge to determine when we are headed the wrong way. It’s easy to find yourself going up the off-ramp. Thankfully, these basics can help:
Learn From Experience
Experience is helpful, when we take the time to consider it.
As an adult, I find I make mistakes as often as I ever did. You can’t grow without making mistakes. The trick is avoiding repeats.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana
Experience teaches us to think through things more carefully. Youthful exuberance, though inspiring, tends to gift us wisdom the hard way. 🙂
Refine Your Passion
Advice fills in our blind spots.
It’s good to seek advice from smart people, and not just those who agree with us. Collectively, they can save us from making huge mistakes:
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22
God’s Word is the ultimate reality check. We need a kind of ongoing personal sonar, to constantly take depth checks on our hopes and plans. We know God will never lead us astray. We will lead ourselves astray, for sure, but God promises when we persistently seek him out he’ll set us straight. There’s great assurance in that.
“I wish…” does not lead to the fulfillment of a dream unless it is followed by “I will…” soon after. Dreams take work.
The worst thing you can do is rush a dream. “Quick and easy” tends to lead towards disaster, or at best mediocrity. The path to a dream’s fulfillment is as important as the realization of the dream. Failure to recognize that will cause strife and discontentment. God created order out of chaos. Order is essential to a process and dream fulfillment is a process.
We’ve all heard, “Life is a journey.” Dreams are points along the way. There are things to see between point A and point B. In all probability, if we simply jumped to point B, we wouldn’t be ready for it, let alone for point C. Each trip forms what we call our life. Trips must be experienced, not fast-forwarded through. You’d miss a lot if you didn’t have to travel between destinations.
I think contentment comes from knowing inwardly that God’s grace is enough for you at any point in your life. If you’re not there yet, that doesn’t mean you’re not moving. And on this planet, you never want to fool yourself into believing you’ve arrived anyway. Even the masters learn to set new goals and work towards them.