A famous quote by Walt Disney states, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” As I read this quote, at first I thought it was a delusional statement. But then I reconsidered what it said. I realized it could not only be a true statement in our day-to-day lives, but also in our spiritual lives. That is, if the dream were a realistic one.
When we think of dreams we often think of things that are impossible, or things that we think others, or ourselves, can never take hold of it. We often call them pipe dreams. But there are dreams that come true if we are willing to put some work into making them become so. Dreams are nothing more than hope, and hope is something we all need. We dream all the time without even thinking about it. It's natural. As children, we may dream of becoming a specific kind of person or having a certain career. As teens, we may dream of what kind of spouse we might choose in the coming years, our perfect home, or what kind of car we want to own. Our dreams are often nothing more than what we would like to see in our future.
Our physical lives often become what we make of them. For instance, maybe we choose to pursue a higher education. We know we can learn many wonderful things covering various subjects at a university. There is a lot of information to be taken in and a lot of skills we can acquire. Becoming a doctor, agriculturist, musician, or art major all take a lot training, practice and study.
Maybe our dream is to accomplish something a bit more physically strenuous, like becoming a gymnast. We know that any kind of physical activity that we want to be great at takes a lot of practice. At first, as we train, it is awkward and we are unsure how to do certain things. But over time we become stronger and a bit surer of ourselves. It’s not something that can be done quickly. It is done a little at a time and each step in the process puts us closer to our dream. If you want to be really good at something, it takes time, error and work.
A gymnast that wants to be great puts many hours into their training. It takes some arduous work and a lot of focus to stay on track. A gymnast needs to build up strong muscles too. They must work to create what’s called muscle memory, which means doing something again and again until the muscles expect the motion. The movement becomes a natural movement for their bodies and this also means he or she is surer footed and does not get injured as easily. Dreams can come true if we put our minds and bodies into the task at hand.
Sometimes it can seem too difficult a task for people to fulfill their dreams. Maybe there is a handicap of some sort that holds a person back from fulfilling their dream. Dreams, however, can be adjusted to fit one’s circumstance. The trouble is that many do not want to try. What if someone is in a wheelchair and then decides they will not be limited? Giving up is not in their vocabulary and after a lot of work, he or she becomes proficient as a basketball player, wrestler or racer.
We cannot limit ourselves. We often talk about how courageous such people are because they step out of their circumstance and will not let their dream die. It takes courage to accept who we are and move forward anyway. When we are realistic in our abilities we can reach our dreams.
Disney’s quote reminded me of another quote from Proverbs: “Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established” (Proverbs 16:3). Our spiritual dreams can be viewed much as our physical dreams. God has put within in us a yearning. It is a yearning to know God, although most ignore it. Once we do realize what it is we are looking for, we must not ignore it, but instead look deeper. We cannot let the dream die because we think we are not worthy of it.
Just like when a person goes to college, we can pursue a “higher” education: the education God offers. By studying our Bible and learning the amazing things God has done and will do for us in the future. We enroll in a university that teaches God’s way and how He wants us to live our lives. We learn more about how the Holy Spirit can work within us and how to stay close to God. Gaining knowledge is important for us and gives us wisdom. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Proverbs 1:7).
We cannot become close to God by just believing. We need to stay in continual contact with Him as we learn from His Word. We cannot reach the dream life God has for us if we do not act. If we do act, He is there to help us. God, Christ, and the people we read about in the Bible are all our professors.
It also takes practice to learn how to pray. Praying is how we connect with our Father and we also have Jesus Christ who shows us how to live. It can feel awkward to communicate with God at first and we may fumble around with our words. But God knows we are trying, that we are students, and He understands it will take time and repetition.
We must also learn to change our actions. Peeling away the old person we were and replacing it with the new person we need to be to reach the dream (Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:24). Like a gymnast, we also create a sort of muscle memory in our minds. We work at doing what is right and avoiding sin, until not sinning comes naturally to us. This new mindset not only helps us to be stronger, but can save us from the many injuries sin can cause.
It takes work to be the kind of person God wants us to be. We must try to emulate Jesus Christ and give up our old ways. It takes courage to stand against the ways of the world and walk the narrow path God puts before us without straying back to our old ways. Friends and family can sometimes try to dissuade us because they do not understand our new resolve. Change is often difficult. A lot of who we are is created by the habits we have formed over time. It takes training to create new habits and discard the old ones. To reach the dream is the goal and we should want to reach it at all costs. But what is the dream?
God has promised us a glorious future if we are willing to change our ways and follow Him. He wants us to stand for what is right and what is not always popular. We are told, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23). Christians want to reach the final goal. They want to win the race (2 Timothy 4:7; Hebrews 12:1). That goal begins with a dream to be part of God’s Kingdom. A kingdom where there is peace, righteousness, and joy (Romans 14:7). So, dream big and do what it takes to make sure that your dream comes true.