Take a walk through Disneyland in California and I’d say you’d have a hard time arguing otherwise. Indeed, Walt Disney was one of the greatest dreamers. He was a dreamer who through his actions made hundreds of dreams come true.
Dreams are a big deal to us. Want to build a space-ship? Just ask Richard Branson – he’s doing it. Want to be a nationally know singer? Just ask Kelly Clarkson – she’s doing it. Want to be President of the United States? Just ask Barack Obama. He had dreams of it since childhood. Want to (Fill in the blank) my friend? Your dreams can get you there.
So for the short amount that’s been written, we can safely say about dreams:
IDEAS + ACTION = CHANGE
I can tell you – since a young man – I’ve always had big dreams.
Through high school I was told I could go places, do things, be anything. So for me, I saw myself as radio DJ. I know, for some of you the thought of radio DJ today is repulsive, Yet back in my day, the formative years of the 80’s, radio DJ’s were the bomb.
Then my girlfriend became pregnant and my dream of going to college took a turn. I got a job, supported my girlfriend and supported my child. I took jobs that were no where near close to my dreams just to stay afloat. Then came a second child four years later and I convinced myself that going to school and getting my degree could always come later.
Then came our 3rd, 4th and 5th child all the way through ten wonderful children and the dream to get into radio simply died.
So what did I do? Like a number of other people having dreams change I thought up other and more fantastical dreams.
I began to dream of owning a log-built home on acreage and livestock and a 30 acre garden to live off the land (should the grid ever go down). I wanted to be a self made man owning and selling Bison to local food markets and adding another 500 acres dedicated to raising Christmas trees and selling them. I began to dream bigger, dream more, dream further and dream longer.
Dream, Dream Dream.
I dreamed that my public speaking, leading of ministry at Guys For Life for 13 years and all I was doing in the evangelical pro-life movement would validate me and help me achieve these ends. As a result I made the mistake of yoking my success and achievement of my dreams directly to my ministry goals. If the ministry was successful, I was successful. Big mistake.
As only the Lord could do, in June of 2013 He lead me to a place I had to give up all my work at Guys For Life – overnight.
After a couple month dust up with the board of directors, realizing ministry had become a personal idol to me, I resigned.
I gave up a dream where I’d personally interacted with and trained over 500 pregnancy care centers to work with men. I gave up a dream of partnering with other ministries (I.E. Focus on the Family) to effect REAL change in men’s ministry. I gave up the dream as a public speaker to effect donors and volunteers in multiple markets to break through the fog of passive male disciples. All of it – gone overnight.
God showed me a new formula:
MY ACTION + GOD’S IDEAS = REAL CHANGE
As a man, my dreams of ministry and my personal success had gotten in the way of listening to my bride, loving my children, being a genuine friend, a valuable ministry leader and even faithful church member. It was a combination of my large dreams, my medium dreams or small dreams and the pursuit of accomplishment – (my selfish dreams) – that impacted others so negatively and God put an abrupt stop to.
I see now through the prism of my faults, and the grace of my Heavenly Father, that through my consequence my Abba Father reworking my worldly view of dreams (MY Ideas + MY Action = Change) to that of (MY Actions + God’s Ideas = REAL Change).
Here’s what I mean:
Look how Abraham handled his DREAM in the book of Genesis. What do you see?
- An angel visits Abraham (Chapter 15) and through him makes a covenant with Abraham that Abraham (well up there in years) would have descendants as numerous as the stars. IN A DREAM the Lord Himself gives Abraham more details.
- Sarai, Abraham’s wife, get’s the DREAM – but is impatient and through her slave ‘tries’ to help the situation by letting Abraham sleep with her to get pregnant and give him a child (Chapter 16).
- Despite Abraham and Sarah’s disobedience God is STILL FAITHFUL and promises a 100 year old man and 86 year old barren woman she would have a son. The DREAM continues (Chapter 17)
- The Lord speaks through 3 visitors and continues the line that ‘Sarah your wife will have a son’, Sarah hears it and laughs (Chapter 18) and the DREAM still goes on.
- In a twist of events Abimelek king of Gerar tries to take Sarah away from Abraham, the Lord prevents it from happening by visiting Abimilek IN A DREAM and telling him to give her back to Abraham. He does and God blesses Abimelek moreover through Abrham’s prayer healing Abimelek and his people to bare children again (Chapter 20).
- Sarah finally give birth to Isaac and her and Abraham’s DREAM of a family and covenant begins to materialize before their eyes. (Chapter 21).
- In an ultimate test of faith God leads Abraham to the point of almost killing his son Isaac (ABRAHAM’S DREAM) and within a nanosecond of killing him leads him to find a ram for sacrifice instead. The test of letting his dream die proves to God that indeed Abraham’s faith is secure proving OUR ACTIONS + GOD’S IDEAS = REAL CHANGE (Chapter 22).
HOW DOES THIS IMPACT US AS FATHER’S WITH DREAMS TODAY?
- Do you have dreams that are all yours and yours alone? (Do you get angry if someone gets in the way of you achieving them?)
- Or, has God placed within you a dream that He wants to achieve through you? (How would you even know?)
- Have you ever been in pursuit of a dream, been so committed to it, that you sinned (like Sarah planning a ‘side’ pregnancy through her slave and Abraham condoning it) only to have God continually demonstrate his faith in you? (What’s been your response?)
- Have you ever doubted God’s promises – only to be proven wrong – yet still doubt? (Hmmmm, probably stings.)
- Have you ever been willing to lay down your dream, to the point of a dreams death, in order to honor the Lord first?
For me, coming away from 13+ years in ministry hitting some serious goals in the righteous and unrighteous pursuit of my dreams – being specifically asked by God to let it die – was the hardest thing I ever had to do. As a result I lost relationships with churches, donors, partners and friends. I struggled with depression and guilt like I never knew was possible.
Yet, If I am allowed to say, that through the painful death of a dream, I can tell you that relationships with my bride and children have been restored to greater levels. My faith in God has been made significantly stronger. Life for me is much more purposeful. Three Godly men, independent of one another, for the past two years have been lovingly prodding me to remain faithful to my anointing of discipling men in unexpected pregnancy – and I am returning.
All for letting a dream (which I corrupted) die.
My final exhortation men? Take an inventory of your dreams as a Father. Are you letting them overtake your faith in God? Have your dreams selfishly gotten to the point they affect your ability to lead your marriage, your family and everything else?
IF YOUR DREAMS have become an idol God may be asking you as a Father to let them die – that HE – may prove your faith through Him and deliver you something greater than you could possibly imagine. Take it from me, a Father who has let a whole host of dreams get in the way of God, his bride, his children and so much more. When I let my dreams and those combined with the ones God gave me actually die a necessary death God began using them (and continues) to deliver something I never expected.
By no means am I a great Father, I’m just a guy who was forced to let a dream die. You however, can be a great Father by realizing your sin in advance and letting your selfish dreams die.
Think about it…