If you are like the rest of the world, New York City is a dream. I’ve traveled to a few places in the world and what the world perceives about the U.S. is found in New York City. It’s deeply embedded in our culture, we see it every day on the news and it is in at least one movie every year if not on television weekly. There are songs written about it that get stuck in your mind. Some might even call it a state of mind.
I’ve been talking to some of my students about this idea of escapism. It’s something we do daily, not inherently bad but if it’s all you pursue you will be left empty and lonely. New York City, although fun to visit, is not a practical place to become a resident of if you are not content with what you have. I heard on the radio that more people moved out of New York City last year then any other city in the U.S. The cost of living seems to be the driving factor. New York City is a dream but the reality of the affordability of chasing a dream seems bleak these days.
What is the cost to escape your current reality in order to fulfill your dream? It seems that you have to give something up in order for the path to your dream to begin. On the other hand, there are people who never pursue their dreams, and seem to settle for something less. They live the dream in their mind, never fully content with the present. They might talk about how they will do this or go there, but it is only a conversation, a “someday”.
I’ve found the best dreams are founded in reality, there has to be a reasonable and logical component to it; otherwise you will forever be lost in thinking about it with no solution or resolution to your story. I know that I will never be the King of a country, unless of course it is found that I am the descendant of some far off kingdom and the only living relative. This has happened to people, but it’s more likely that you win the lottery. I would love to be in a Broadway show just to say I was in one, but the sacrifice to my family would be detrimental. The sacrifice to pursue a dream of my own, at the expense of the dreams of my family members would be ultimately selfish. My dreams would hinder theirs.
Maybe there is some middle ground in chasing our heart’s desires? If I do not pursue my calling, my passions, the things that I have been gifted with than not only am I withholding myself from the world, but my example to my children, is as such. However, if I sacrifice everything to pursue something that is not in my area of giftedness or serves no one other than myself than my example to my children is selfishness. Either extreme, passive or aggressive, the issue is that the focus is on me. Either what I want to do, or what I am too afraid to do.
What should you do?
Step 1: Always pray, always include God.
James 4:13-15 says, “Now listen, you who say, “13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
Step 2: Seek wise council.
Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Sometimes our dreams, when unshared with those who have wisdom, land in the realm of unrealistic dreams. Here is the catch, you will have some who say, don’t do it because of this reason and others who say go for it for that reason. Hearing all of it, and then including God in it will go well with you.
Step 3: Do Something!
We read in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” A few things about this verse, it implies action. You cannot do nothing in word or deed. When you do something, in word and deed, it must be able to be a praiseworthy endeavor. You must be able to do it in the name of Jesus and give thanks to God for it. If you cannot, then you have found your moral compass.
Your moral compass will determine that ultimate value and purpose of your dream. It will help you decide if it is selfish or worth the sacrifice. All dreams are worth pursuing when the direction you are heading is to glorify God. Young adults ask all the time, what does God want me to do? What if I make the wrong choice? The simple answer is that God wants to use your gifts and talents, and if you can do it for his glory than it’s not wrong. Also, there could be more than one option and God simply wants you to choose, knowing that you sought his counsel and the council of others already.
I will leave you with this, Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Have plans and dreams, do something with them, God is with you always.
In Truth & Love,
Matthew J. Diaz
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Photo Credit: Jordyn, used with Permission.
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