What is your dream for retirement? To retire early, spend time with family, travel, and enjoy the fruits of your labor? Or do you have some other dream?
Is it essential to have a dream? Yes, when we dream, we begin to map out where we want to go and how we will get there. Dreams help us mentally and physically plan for the future, allowing us to be more resilient during current difficulties. Dreams of what we will be doing in retirement give us reasons for the required work on the front end, to allow us to help those dreams come true.
But some may be drawing a blank on what their dreams should be. Why does this happen for some people? French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them task and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” We can get so focused on collecting the wood and doing the task we forget or lose sight of what we need a ship for in the first place. When we dream, the passion for the dream helps shape and mold our efforts to reach those dreams.
God’s plans and our dreams will go hand in hand, especially when prayerfully looking to our future. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Building our dreams usually happens over some time, and in today’s world may not be as easy as just daydreaming while you sit in traffic on your daily commute.
Our dreams may be blank or very foggy for a few reasons:
Fear of Failure
Sometimes, it may be past dreams that failed or a fear of failing that hinders us from allowing ourselves to dream. Failures in our past are supposed to be learning experiences from which we can better ourselves, but often, they become anchors that sink us or hold us in place. We have to be aware of these and push ourselves not to let them be an anchor. Chances are the dream you start with in your twenties won’t be the dream you end within your sixties, but the prep work you did in your twenties could significantly affect those dreams.
Lack of Motivation
We can also lack motivation to dream or be so overwhelmed in our current day-to-day life that we don’t feel like we will get to the point where we can dream. An overwhelmed mind does not leave room for other thoughts or planning. We can become complacent and lose the drive that pushes us to look to the next great adventure the Lord has in store for us. Sometimes, it can feel like you are tossed buckets of water on a boat already going down.
Procrastination creates this cycle of stress and anxiety that pushes our dreams further down the road. We know we will come to the end of the road at some point, and we are not there today, so it can wait. The problem comes when this cycle continues year after year until we are much closer to the end than the beginning, and our dreams are still general or blank.
Dreaming is important. God built us to dream and have dreams. To plan for our future or what we would like our future to be—taking advantage of opportunities to serve God and the world around us.
Start casting your vision for your future, and dream about what the Lord will have you do in that future. Then, start making decisions today that will positively affect that dream. Remember, a failure to plan is a plan to fail. Long for the “endless immensity” of what your future could be, and dream of the opportunities and blessings the Lord has for you.