by Henry McLaughlin
At one time or another, we’ve all had big dreams. When I was a kid, my dream was to play Major League Baseball. But I stopped growing and my bat never could figure out how to hit a curveball.
As we grow up, our dreams change but they’re still big: the right job, the perfect spouse, the promotion to the corner office, a ministry that touches millions.
If we’re writers, we dream of multi-book contracts and best-sellers lists and movie deals.
Often, though, our dreams seem to come with caveats. People encourage us, but the support comes with a contradiction: Dream big but don’t get your hopes up. But what is a dream without the hope of seeing it fulfilled?
We dream big but it doesn’t always happen when we think it should or how we think it should.
We continue to pursue our dreams and their fulfillment seems to get further and further away. We begin to doubt ourselves. We experience disappointment or despair, anger, and resentment. Giving up becomes a real possibility. These thoughts and feelings block us from achieving our biggest dreams. We’ll quit and for all the wrong reasons.
My advice today to anyone who has a dream that seems too big is to keep dreaming big. And pursue that dream persistently. I was not persistent in learning how to hit a curveball. But I have been persistent in my writing.
Our dream comes closer to reality when we stay focused and disciplined, when we keep improving and growing in the craft.
Above all, keep in touch with God. Big dreams come from him. Follow his leading and direction. Trust him to show you the way.
He has led me on a fantastic journey to this dream of being a writer. Looking back, I can see how each step in the journey prepared me for this dream. A difficult and challenging job provided a host of story ideas and insights into people which aided me in developing complex characters. Through family and health crises, I discovered deep emotions and learned he is always there.
Also, we need to be diligent. Part of this means guarding against the anger, resentment, jealousy, despair, and blame (including self-blame). These emotions are really spiritual attacks to lead us off the path of our dreams.
The path to our dream is hard. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be a big dream. But the journey on the path is worth it. Learn to use the difficulties and the challenges of the path to grow stronger.
So dream big by all means. But expect adversity. The spiritual and emotional attacks will come. We need to be prepared so we don’t surrender to them.
What do you do to keep from giving up on your dream?
Henry McLaughlin’s debut novel, Journey to Riverbend, won the 2009 Operation First Novel contest. He lives in North Texas where he serves as Associate Director of North Texas Christian Writers. Henry leads critique groups, and teaches at conferences and workshops. He enjoys mentoring and coaching individual writers.