Making Your Dreams Come True


I was thinking today about the nature of our dreams.  Not just the dreams we experience when we sleep (at least those we recall) but the dreams we have about the future, our lives, the world, and more. 

The poet Carl Sandburg once wrote: 

"Nothing happens until at first we dream." 

That's a beautiful sentiment, and hundreds like it in art and literature.  There is truth in Sanburg's words and a not-so-subtle exhortation to follow our dreams wherever they lead us. 

But what if the dreams we have are too big to put a sentiment around.  What if they feel impossible?  What if we believe our dreams are beyond our reach because of who we are or who we've become? 

My favorite quote about dreams is from a comedian, the late Mitch Hedberg: 

I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're goin', and hook up with them later.

That always makes me laugh.  It's one of the most authentic quotes about dreams I've ever read.  It speaks to the reality that so many of us face when it comes to our dreams---chasing after dreams can wear you out. 

Especially when they always seem to be just beyond our grasp. 

But what if we did things differently?  What if there was a way that we could take our dreams from the ethereal to the real?  What if, instead of chasing after our dreams, we were able to make them tangible?

Last year, I attended a two-day conference with author and speaker Rob Bell, where each attendee brought something they were wrestling with or working on to have Rob reflect on the possibilities, challenges, and hopes for their issue with the entire group. 

At one point, one of the attendees exclaimed that their dream for the future was too large and vague.  They knew it was something they longed for but had no way to know how to realize it. 

Then Rob said this: 

Whenever something is large and vague---INCARNATE it.  Pull into a time and space. 

What he meant was that when a dream seems too big and ephemeral, we should embody it.  We should bring it down to earth and bind it to our present.   

The idea behind incarnating your dreams is both simple and challenging.  The simple part has to do with what we do.  

It could be that we move in the direction of embodying our dream by taking steps to make it happen.  

We create a business plan for that venture we've always wanted to start.  We work on a budget to get us where we want to go financially.  We begin conversations with others who have the same dream. 

It could also mean something more daring, like leaving one career to start another. Or let go of unhealthy relationships that keep you from realizing your dreams.  

It might mean changing your habits and taking on new rhythms that move you closer to what you desire. 

The challenging part has to do with why we do what we do. 

If we don't have clarity on our "why," chances are we won't fully embody the dreams we long to fulfill.  It will be difficult if we're running from something, trying to find an easy fix to our struggles, or we are motivated by greed, power, etc.  

Although we may have many answers to our "Why?" question, at the core of it, we need to have one thing in mind: God and God's purposes.  

If whatever we are doing isn't in line with God's love, mercy, and grace, we might need to reconsider it. 

If our dreams are to become reality, it's up to us to have them aligned with the Divine and put them into action by incarnating them into time and space in life-giving and tangible ways. 

May it be so.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us now and always. Amen.  

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