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The Cost of Your Dreams

Monte Wilson

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain

In this life, suffering and sacrifices come to us no matter what: we might as well go through hardships that are preparing us for the realization of our dreams, rather than suffering hardships for … nothing.

Monte E. Wilson

I was reading the biblical story of Joseph the other night: his dad gives him a special coat, his brothers seethe with jealousy, he has a dream, brothers become even more jealous, they sell him into slavery, he suffers, suffers, and suffers in Egypt, until the dream, years later, is realized.

What is it about the dreams of others that bring out the worst in people?

“O, that is just not who you are!” Really? How would they know? At the end of the day, how does anyone know who you are except God? And what if it is a case where the pursuit of your dream is part of the process that is going to transform you into who you are to become?

“You can never do that … it’s just not practical.” Joseph’s brothers couldn’t have said it better.

Family and friends usually mean well, yet when they hear about your dreams they all too often either project their disappointments onto you or they seek to install their dreams for you into your mind.

“I didn’t make it, didn’t pull it off, didn’t follow through, didn’t have the courage or fortitude, and the pain of the failure is so life-altering … man, I don’t want you to suffer the same disappointments, so don’t even start down this path.” Same thought with a twist: “I didn’t have the courage to even try. If you succeed, my failure will be magnified," so, “Come away from the edge of the nest little birdie, you can’t fly.”

Those with a bit of a god-complex decided long ago who you were and what you were to do. Going against their wishes is, in their minds, going against God. And, if one of these well-meaning gods is a parent or revered teacher or friend, going contrary to their counsel just may actually feel as if you are going against God. Then it’s, “Let the condemnation begin!”

You can’t …
You aren’t …
You are …
You had better …
You better never …
You must …

Thus saith god …

This is not to say we shouldn’t seek wise counsel or that we should resist the words and wisdom of those who detect errors or foolishness. But there is a difference between conviction and condemnation.

Conviction pierces the heart with a scalpel that wounds on the way in and heals when it is withdrawn

Condemnation beats you down until you feel unworthy of every breath you have ever breathed.

Conviction humbles and exalts: it takes you to your knees and then tells you to come boldly before the Throne of God.

Condemnation tells you that you are a turd in the punchbowl of life and always will be.

And herein lies some of the cost of following after your dreams: you sometimes lose the good graces and opinions of many of those whom you truly love. And for many of us, this “cost” is far greater than any other price we will pay for realizing our dreams. However, you are the one who will give an accounting to God for what you did with the gifts, graces, talents, and, yes, dreams that He sent to you, not these loved ones. And, besides, people who truly love you will ultimately support you in your quest.

My childhood dream was to give my life to music. I remember the first time dad saw me weeping as I was listening to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony: “Billie (my mom), he is cryyyying over muuuusiiiic!?!?!?” (He was visibly thrilled when I brought home my first girlfriend.) However, my father and mother totally supported my love for music to the point of sacrificing for me to go to a private University to study. Dad didn’t understand, feared it was a frivolous pursuit, but never once flinched in his absolute support of my dreams.

I didn’t have people in my life that told me I couldn’t follow my dreams, and for this I am deeply grateful. Who was the primary enemy of my dreams? Myself. My internal conversations were constantly filled with fear, doubt and condemnation. My number one self-condemnation? “If it makes me happy, if it gives me joy, if it doesn’t cause hundreds of people to walk the aisle on the fiftieth verse of ‘Just As I Am,’ giving their lives to Jesus, it has to be a sin.” I didn’t need some brothers to sell me into slavery: I did it to myself.