I had an enlightening experience a few years ago following a professional training that I facilitated in Sacramento, CA. During that session, I referenced one of my all-time favorite books, “The Dream Giver” by Bruce Wilkinson. And, at the end of the session, I asked the attendees to step up to microphones in the aisles to share their “A Ha’s” from the training. I was sincerely shocked to hear quite a few people reveal, “I have lost the ability to dream.”
I had made this trip to California on the heels of a tragic personal loss. The dream home that my husband and I built, at the age of 71, had burned to the ground only one week before. So, I stood before them with my own shattered dream and questions began to flood my mind.
Is dreaming an important part of our culture as a society?
How closely related are our dreams to our “life purpose”?
Is it human nature to lose the ability to dream when loss, tragedy, or change occurs?
Are we encouraging the people we love to dream?
What fundamental message about dreams did we receive as we were growing up?
Who do we know that is living their dream?
Do we believe dreams only happen to someone else?
Have we put our dreams on hold?
What keeps us from embracing and pursuing our God-given dreams?
As Richard and I lifted ourselves from the ashes of our lost dream, Wilkinson’s “The Dream Giver” became a source of hope, inspiration, and solace for me. I was strongly impacted by what he calls
5 common but deadly misconceptions about dreams. And, I spent a great deal of time pondering the meaning of these in my own life.
I don’t have a Dream. Wilkinson explains that having a dream is fundamental to our humanity. As a small child, walking down a dirt farm road to do my daily chores, my dreams unfolded before me in my imagination – I dreamed of a big, beautiful home filled with love and family. It is natural for children to be in touch with this part of themselves but, it takes effort and energy as adults to hold on to the dreams that our community or society might cast aside. Some of us, like my visionary friend, Gary Keller, have the natural gift of turning dreams into visions and visions into reality!
I have to invent my Dream. According to “The Dream Giver,” within every human being, God plants a Big Dream into our DNA before we are born. I love this concept. Like the promise of an answered prayer, we are given permission to make our dreams come true! I clung to this promise after the house fire during the process of rebuilding; that beautiful home was in my DNA.
I have a Dream, but it’s not that important. Wilkinson believes that a Big Dream is intended to fulfill a Big Need. I sincerely struggled with this. How could a “dream home” fulfill a Big Need? Was my Big Dream materialistic or selfish? Was my Big Dream really too big – asking for too much? The truth is that in my heart of hearts, I believed then (and still believe now) that this dream home is much more than bricks and mortar. God planted this home in my heart and mind when I was eight years old, along with the vision that the building would have a purpose beyond my life and that of my family. I felt deeply called to build a home like a fort – built to last! My husband and I were in our 70’s before we could afford to make the dream come true; however, when I walk through the halls of the now rebuilt estate, I envision that someday it will be a safe-haven for the needy, perhaps its large living areas transformed into training rooms. Its purpose is serving the good of many, not only the needs of a few in my family for shelter in our short lifetimes.
I have a Dream, but it’s up to God to make it happen. I completely agree with Wilkinson on his retort to this myth – we are meant to value God’s gift of our Big Dream enough to live it! God did not miraculously make my dream home appear on earth but, he did gift my husband and me with the education, talents, and skills need to succeed in life and facilitated the financial resources necessary for us to build the home. It was our hard work, tenacity, and determination that made God’s gift of our Big Dream become reality. By building the house, we honor the dream He planted in our DNA.
I had a Dream, but it’s too late. To this, I say: it’s never too late! Certainly, at 71 years old, the thought crossed my mind – more than once. However, I found myself inspired by the Old Testament story of Moses. He was 80 years old when he realized his dream of leading his people out of bondage! Wilkinson offers a guidepost – a test to indicate that it is never too late. He says that your Big Dream is not dead because the Big Need is still there!
One of my life-long heroes has been Agnes of Albania, also known as Mother Teresa. She never went to college. She never married. She never owned a car. However, she possessed a HUGE dream to live out her faith by caring for the dying and the poorest of the poor. Though she has now gone to her Heavenly home, her dream is still touching millions of lives around the world.
What is YOUR Big Dream? Have you surrounded yourself with family, friends, and others who support your dreams?
For Richard and me, after the house fire stole our dream and as we were wondering if God really meant the dream to belong to us, we found ourselves surrounded by loved ones – some who encouraged us to begin anew and, surprisingly, others advising us to give up! Those negative voices were loving and well-meaning but, we certainly did not need Dream Bullies in our lives. Instead, we shored ourselves up with the chorus sung by our Dream Buddies and we now reside in the place we call “Stonemill II” – our dream home reborn.
One could argue in my case, that the home is built, so the Big Dream and the Big Need are now fulfilled. However, since it is never too late to dream, I am dreaming new dreams and making them come true!
In closing let me say – never let anyone or anything steal your dreams. Never let anyone tell you that your dreams are impossible. And, go buy the book entitled “The Dream Giver” by Bruce Wilkinson – it’s a life changer!