While I was scrolling through my Facebook page, I came across a status update from a fairly famous person stating that “God wants every dream to come true.” First I was going to tweet something general like:
It’s easy to say God wants all of your dreams to come true when you’re dreams have, in fact, come true.
But then I felt like that was too rash of a statement and that required more explanation, so I returned to this old dusty blog.
Let me first say that I love and respect the person who made this quote, so it’s not like I’m out for blood or anything. I just wanted to make some comments in regards to this statement because the subject of dreams is something that has been growing on my mind for years now.
I have found that humans are full of dreams and creativity. There are many things we desire to do and be known for and we will chase these desires across the world if we’re really willing to see them come to fruition. We love movies, stories, and autobiographies about underdogs and we desperately want to be one ourselves.
To some extent, we’re obsessed with dreaming. And to some extent, that’s okay. After all, it’s in our dreams that we find hope for a better future and motivate ourselves to make the world a better place. But that being said, I can’t help but feel that we’ve begun to worship dreams.
A friend of mine works in a school and he once mentioned to me that many of the students there say they plan on being famous when they got older. That seemed to be the general dream of this generation and these students were assured that this would happen.
It reminded me a lot of myself. For a long time I really wanted to get signed to a record label, write music and share it with the world. It was one of my biggest desires and I planned on seeing it happen. How hard could it be, right?
Well, it turns out that it could be really hard. Apparently, if you want to be signed, you have to make money of your music. I once went to a conference where famous Christian record labels told me that straight up. They essentially said that you probably would never get signed for your music, but if you could show them that you could make several thousand dollars without their help, they might give you a shot. Their advice was to use the internet to find fame rather than a record label because the music industry was changing. But that advice didn’t help much as I was already incorporating most of the suggestions they had to offer well before I attended that conference.
In the last 8 years or so I’ve sold practically nothing. Sure, not all my music is high quality, but it has grown enough over time to deserve a dollar here and there, though that rarely happens. Because of that, I often end up putting it online for free and get the joy of receiving a few dozen downloads (and then rarely ever hear back what anyone thinks).
Why didn’t God make my dream come true if that’s what He’s in the business of doing? Why are there thousands of other musicians in this world just like me who didn’t see the same dream happen in their lives?
And what about all the Christian bands out there that are signed? Did their dream come true because God wanted it to? Is that why they’re famous? Because He enjoys bland, uncreative music that’s been reworked over and over again to make a dollar and appeal to radio? (When I put it like that, maybe my dream not coming true is more of a blessing.)
What about all the people working in fast food restaurants and grocery stores? I don’t remember having any friends who dreamt of having a job like that. Why didn’t God make their dream job happen?
What about all the homeless people out there? They at least must have the dream to have a place to call their own, right? Why aren’t their dreams happening?
Sometimes I think it truly is a pride issue. Yes, it’s true that God loves us; yes, it’s true that He cares about our dreams and desires; yes, it’s true that He builds us in such a way to want to do the things we love. But then it’s also true that we’re addicted to a culture that worships celebrities. It’s true that we want the whole world to know our name and our talents—we’ve created TV shows that revolve around the hunt to find amazing people that no one knows about. Truth be told, many of us are simply not okay with living average lives—that the blessing of a spouse, a family and a house are something normal and that we won’t be fully satisfied until we have also achieved our greatest dream.
You might point out that the Bible is full of underdogs. It’s true—God often chooses the most unqualified person for the job and I’m not dissing such stories (I love stories about underdogs just as much as the next person). But the Bible is also full of normal everyday people with everyday lives and problems. The entire book of Ruth is just that.
Now of course I have seen dreams come true in my life. But I probably would not have seen them happen if I wasn’t willing to let go of my old dream to be signed. I found that when I finally handed that over, God set me on a path to see His dreams fulfilled for me rather than my own.
Sure I still write, record and play music as that is something that has been put inside of me, but it’s not something that I need to do with such urgency due to the fullness that God has brought me through other dreams and through the simple and extraordinary blessings of life: a wife, a son, a house, friends, food, income, etc.
Some dreams don’t happen for other people because we don’t do what we’re called to do as Christians (i.e. take care of the poor, oppressed, homeless, orphan, and widow). Other dreams don’t happen because we got carried away with our desires for ourselves and miss God’s. Then there are some dreams that God has a specific timing for. Some dreams don’t happen for reasons that only God fully understands.
Yes, it’s easy to say, “God wants to make all your dreams come true,” when you are a famous singer who has seen your dreams come true—the same dreams that many others have desired. It’s easy to say that when you have risen above the odds. In the same way, it’s easy to call someone out on a sin they’ve committed when you’re having a good streak and haven’t stumbled in awhile. We can make weird or harsh statements when we simply judge life from our own experiences.
I’m not saying that your life has to be totally normal, but you should be okay with that part of it. Be used by God in the little everyday things. Learn to thrive in the plain, less extravagant moments, because that is probably where much of your life will be spent.
P.S. I’m not trying to crush your dreams. Just make sure God is in them ;)