Everyone has dreams, the pictures of possibilities that aren’t yet realized. Dreams call us to look up from the ground toward the horizon, or even toward the stars. They offer images of possibilities that make life better. They are far away, and require steps of thought and action to move toward them. Therein lies a series of problems for those people who dream.
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Dreams can simply stop at the dreaming stage if what we are actually doing is just fantasizing.
Fantasy is a picture of escaping where we are because we don’t want to face or feel our current situation. Fantasy isn’t bad. It is a nice respite from reality. At the same time, escaping into fantasy only allows us to survive present circumstances without truly considering any sort of thought that could move us towards what we wish to be different. Imagination, however, is not fantasy. In imagining, we actually start to consider how we could actually move toward this “far off place.” In fantasy, we escape discomfort or pain. In imagining, we consider how to get to where we hunger to go, knowing full well that pain will come with us. Hunger is a pain. So when we dream, we have to consider if we are actually hungry enough to “reach out for the food.”
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It seems like such a small thing, but dreamers have to possess the courage of hope.
The moment we hope, we hunger for something we do not have. In having a desire that is not fulfilled, we will have fear. Our hands are empty, as yet, and we dare to picture them being full. Fear comes with hope. Am I willing to do what fear calls me to do—ask for help in stepping out into the vision that hope initiates. If we decide to move on hope and walk into fear, we have to consider our willingness to fail? Am I willing to look foolish, not make it, be vulnerable. Vulnerability means to be open to wounds. The great dreamers have always stepped into their visions often armed with no more than the courage of hope and help. They all have been willing to fail. The picture for them matters more than the pain, and, ironically, more than the ultimate results.
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Dreamers who hope and are willing to face their fears, pain, and even discouragement, dream, think, and do.
They make plans based upon their purpose. The purpose is what the dream is for, what the point actually is. The purpose allows us to consider the worth of what we are doing—the “what for.” Is this purpose worth facing inevitable difficulties, obstacles, and even roadblocks? The desire or passion has to be as great as the purpose because of the obstacles. We live on earth, a place of struggle and imperfection, and it is not going away. If the purpose has necessary worth to the dreamer, action plans are next. Doing is a daily experience and the end results are always far away. Will I awaken daily and take action with the plans? And when the plan doesn’t work as scheduled, am I willing to return to the “drawing board,” stymied but not defeated? We can only achieve one step at a time, sometimes big steps, but always one step at a time.
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As dreaming, thinking, and doing is in process through passion, a purpose and a plan, am I willing to keep learning and changing without giving up on the dream?
Very rare is it that the initial image will match the end result. Perfection is unachievable here, but going towards it is essential. Acceptance of imperfection is a key that continues to unlock the faith to stay the course. The vision is usually greater than reality permits. Therefore, am I willing to grieve reality and still move towards the vision. Am I willing to say, “So what” about reality and move towards living the dream anyway.
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The greatest risk to the dreamer who has moved into living the dream, is the trap of getting lost in the future.
Getting lost in the future, firstly, harms the dreamer, and, secondly, harms everyone who loves the dreamer. If the dreamer spends the day in effort towards fulfillment of the vision, they have succeeded. But if the dreamer spends the end of the day comparing the day’s results to the gap between the day itself and the hoped-for end results, they are at risk of a despair that can kill the dream. Also, if the passion the dreamer began with moves into obsession, everyone who loves the dreamer will lose them to the future. Fear takes control, and living in the present disappears. The present is where we actually live and experience life and its replenishment and encouragement. Getting lost in the future can destroy something with a purpose greater than one’s self. Everyone loses.
Living the dream requires thinking and doing. The dream is the passion, the purpose is the thinking, and the plan is the doing. Imagination stares into the “as yet not done” and moves toward the impossible.