Nov 012018 3 Responses

The Untold Story of Chasing Your Dreams

It’s the advice we give children, the direction we send young adults, and what we want the older generation to rediscover. Chasing dreams is part of what it means to be human. No other species has the ability to aspire like humanity.

Since I was a freshman in college, I’ve wanted to write books. In part, it’s the model through which I saw a good number of people accomplish the role of pastor. You don’t have to write books in order to be a good pastor, but many good pastors write books. I knew that writing would be an important part of my life.

But 15 years into ministry, I wasn’t moving toward my goal. I felt an internal tension as though it was a now or never moment. In small part because of my own motivation and in large part because of my wife’s encouragement, I began writing. In four years, I’ve published three books and written the rough draft for the fourth. Chasing my dreams has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. At a minimum, I won’t feel regret at wondering what might have been. Instead, without making many major life changes, I’ve done what I’ve wanted and my work has impacted some people for good.

There have been, however, some surprising elements to chasing my dreams. (See: Wake Up Every Day and Consider How to Make Her Dreams Come True)

What They Don’t Tell You

While everyone encourages the chasing of dreams there are some untold aspects of that journey. Chasing your dreams and making money are normally two different things. Thankfully we live in a day where you don’t have to quit your job, move, or make drastic changes in order to pursue a dream. The process is far more work than a fairytale. It’s amazing how chasing your dreams looks like work. My dream was to write books, but the actual process was the consistent appointment with my computer at 10pm every night.

But of all the lessons learned while chasing my dreams, the three different responses of friends and acquaintances has been the most surprising.

1. The advocacy by some will be overwhelming. By far the greatest joy of pursuing your dreams is experiencing the love and support from others. Much of it comes from people you expect. You think you have the support of others, but you really don’t know until words are backed by action. When they encourage, support, and assist far beyond your expectations, you experience a deep level of appreciation that their words were not empty. Few things are as humbling as having others help you when there is nothing in it for them.

Over the past few years, I’ve felt tremendous appreciation for friends who have supported me. In addition, it’s been great fun to meet new people and to get assistance from people who previously were strangers. The kindness of others along the journey of chasing your dreams is a great blessing.

When others support your dreams, thank them. Recognize their efforts and tell them how much it means to you. Beyond that, understand how meaningful their support has been to you and you give that support to others. Reject jealousy. Refuse passivity. Help whomever you can accomplish whatever their dreams may be. (See: Stop Spending Your Spouses Dreams)

2. The apathy by others will be surprising. While you chase your dreams some will support you in ways you never imagined, but others who you thought would be your greatest allies will nearly ghost you. It’s surprising the apathy some have regarding your dreams. It isn’t surprising they aren’t passionate about the same issues as you, but it is shocking they aren’t more supportive simply because it’s you. Apathy comes from two places. Some are apathetic because your dreams don’t affect them. While you think your relationship is built more on friendship, they might view it in a more transactional way. Because accomplishing your dreams doesn’t influence them, they won’t help you. Others are apathetic toward your dreams because it’s a reminder they aren’t accomplishing their own aspirations. Supporting you would confront them so they simply choose not to do it.

Over these past few years, I’ve been surprised by some who I thought would be a great asset to me, but instead who have been apathetic toward me. Rather than help and encourage, they’ve done nothing. They haven’t been against me. Instead, they’ve been silent. No notes. No acknowledgment. No helping spread the word or opening up their channels of influence.

When friends, family, and colleagues are apathetic toward your dreams, don’t take it personally. You never know the full story of why they have chosen to do what they do. Just because someone isn’t as passionate about what you find important doesn’t mean they are wrong or ill-intended. Keep supporting them even if you feel as though they haven’t supported you.

3. The angst from a few will be confusing. The apathy of some is disappointing, but the angst from a few is highly confusing. When you start to chase your dreams, a few people will openly attempt to sabotage your attempt. They will doubt your motives, question your intent, and critique your decisions. They won’t do so in a loving, private way with the hope of assisting you. Instead, they will do so behind your back, on social media, and in ways that you will hear about but with which you will never directly interact.

I never knew this would be a part of writing. I knew having controversial opinions would be met with resistance; I’m fine with that. What I didn’t know is that some would question my heart and motivations whenever I began to write books. For me, writing was always an expected part of the pastorate. For others, it’s selfish, too ambitious, and not something they believe should be a part of my life. I’ve been accused of using the church’s platform for personal gain, trying to use writing as a way to leave ministry, and not caring enough about people because I’m too busy with books. None of this is true. I write in hopes of staying where I’m at in ministry. I do so as a way to leverage what God has given me for the sake of the church. My hope is to model what it means to use your passions and talents. (See: You Always Have an Excuse)

Before you chase your dreams, know that others are going to openly oppose you. You expect it from people you don’t know, but understand some of it will come from those you do know and love. As they oppose you, don’t be moved by their opposition. Understand there is more to their story than what you know and trust that they will work it out. But most importantly, keep chasing your dreams.

Everyone says chase your dreams, but few give you the inside story of what the chase actually looks like. It’s not as easy or romantic as some people make it out to be, but it is worth it. Just beware that not everyone will react the way you expect. A few will disappoint, but far more will exceed your expectations and support you in ways you never expected.

Cover Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

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