Life’s too Short to Ignore a Dream

Why to Pay Attention to Your Deepest Desires

What do you dream about when it’s quiet? On a hike, on vacation, on retreat, or when lying awake in bed–what desires emerge? Is there something you want to do that the noise of life drowns out but that resurfaces whenever the noise subsides?

Looking out over the Ocean in Mexico

If so, life is too short to ignore such dreams. I know, because I’ve ignored them and wished I hadn’t.

This very blog is an example. Three years ago I sat overlooking the ocean while on vacation in Mexico. I wrote down a dream that had kept coming up: to start a blog about time, money, and the point of it all. I remember how much I wanted to start it. I could engage on a topic I really enjoyed. I could learn the whole blogging process. I could help others.

But I was too busy. That’s what I told myself. I just couldn’t do it.

So that was the end of it. Or so I thought. But over the next two years it came up again and again. Dreams have a way of not taking “no” for an answer.

Finally, I started it. By that time I had twin toddlers. I was much busier than I had been when I had first dismissed it on account of being too busy.

What was the difference? What made me finally start it?

The difference was a 24-hour period of time where two things happened. A friend encouraged me. Then, on the strength of that encouragement, I prayed about it and felt certain I should proceed.

Why am I Telling You This?

I’m telling you this because if you have a dream in you–and you probably do–I want to encourage you to look it in the eyes. If you’re a person of faith, take it to prayer. But one way or another, wrestle with it. A desire that won’t go away deserves your attention. There are few poorer—or sadder—uses of time than to spend it ignoring a dream.

I follow a lot of people who have “made it big.” At times, they will offer advice similar to what I’m saying. The difference, however, is that they offer such advice when it is easy to give it: namely, after they have “made it.”

But it is precisely when you fear you won’t make it–and especially when you won’t–that this advice is so meaningful. For it is then above all that you will ignore your dream. It is then, above all, that you will make excuses. And it is then, above all, that you need to do it. For the primary measure of success isn’t how you respond but that you respond.

What if You Ignore Your Dream?

If you ignore your dream, I am tempted to say that you won’t be able to live with yourself. But it is actually worse than that. You won’t be yourself. You won’t be who you were made to be.

That’s because our deepest desires show us who we can become. They are like the blueprints for a building remodel that are stored in the building itself. They are part of the building, but in a special way. For while being part of the building of today, they also reveal the potential for the building of tomorrow.

As I write to you, I am once again overlooking the ocean while on vacation in Mexico. Three years after I silenced a desire, I am finally in the midst of living it out. I waited too long to pay attention to a dream. When the next dream comes along, may I not be as slow to respond. And may you, like I, learn from my mistake.

Question: What dream were you slow to pursue that you are now glad you finally did? You can leave a comment by clicking here. Or if you are really brave, you can share a recurring desire that you have not yet acted on.

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