You Were Born to Dream
“Hey, Mom,” shouted Sarah, our older daughter, “close your eyes until we tell you to open them.” Sarah and Hannah were five and three years old at the time - going on twenty and eighteen. The girls were in another room, not yet visible, waiting to make their grand entrance. “Okay, Mommy, open your eyes,” cried Hannah.
Into the kitchen paraded two young ladies in Mom’s high heels, play dresses, purses, lipstick, makeup, and jewelry, ready to strut their stuff. Too pleased and proud to be upset - and hoping the lipstick was smeared only around their mouths and not on the carpet - Mom played along, and out came the camera. The Sheets Family Fashion Show was in full swing.
What mother of little girls hasn’t experienced something similar? And what parent of little boys hasn’t seen them playacting some aspect of being a man? During the years my brother, Tim, and I were growing up, our dad was an evangelist and pastor. Mom has a picture of us at four and three years of age using a small stepladder as a pulpit, with a Bible resting on top. We two young boys were fervently “preaching the gospel.” Thousands were saved!
Whether it’s a small child dreaming of being an adult, a teenager fantasizing about changing the world, or an adult planning their future, we’re dreamers all. Some internal force compels us to think about the future: tonight’s party, the trip next week, or the expansion next year. Regardless of the theme, we’re always thinking about our tomorrows.
We can’t help it. Our nature is to dream. Our Creator is a dreamer, and He placed within us His dreaming nature. Made in His image and likeness, we can’t simply function like angels or animals, which do not dream. Angels do as they’re told, and animals act based on instinct or mimic their parents. Even those animals that seem to think ahead - hoarding food for a winter season, building a “home,” or flying south for the winter - aren’t planning; they’re “instincting.” On the other hand, when we do these sorts of things, we are planning, imagining, and envisioning the future. We’re dreaming.
Unlike my girls fantasizing about being like Mommy, a baby peacock doesn’t put on pretend feathers and strut its stuff. A caterpillar doesn’t dream of one day having beautiful butterfly wings and colors; it doesn’t even wish it could fly. Lions don’t invent new ways to kill prey and salmon don’t long for the day they swim “home.” None of these creatures are blessed and trusted with a dreaming nature. Only humans.
This means the animal world has strict preset limitations as to what they can do and become. Not us. Through the power of imagination and creativity, God has gifted humans with almost unlimited ability and potential. We manage and steward our home - the earth - and its resources. We grow and maximize our inherent gifts and talents, shaping and molding our futures. We build and invent by discovering, harnessing, and utilizing the laws of physics and science. We mass produce materials and reshape earth’s elements into steel, concrete, rubber, and other useable products.
Like a thrill-seeking adrenaline junkie, we’re hopelessly addicted to the rush of pursuing, discovering, or creating something new. We can’t help it. We’re made in God’s image, therefore, we dream; we dream, and therefore we create. The Scriptures actually connect dreaming and creating, a fact I mentioned earlier in this series and will look at more closely later.. Observation and history both teach us this is true. If you didn’t dream, you wouldn’t create, for creating is simply transferring dreams from the realm of thought to the world of reality.
The story is told about a young misfit named Sparky who dreamed. And he created. Many obstacles tried to stop him, but the dream survived.
For Sparky, school was all but impossible. He failed every subject in the eighth grade. In high school, he flunked physics, Latin, algebra, and English. He didn’t do well at sports either. He did manage to make the school’s golf team but promptly lost the only important match of the season.
Sparky was socially awkward. He was astonished if a classmate ever said hello. And dating? Well, that was totally out of the question. Sparky was a loser, and everyone knew it. Somehow he rolled with it, learning to be content.
Drawing was important to Sparky, and he was proud of his artwork. Here, too, he would suffer rejection as his drawing submissions would be turned down by Disney, and even his school yearbook. More losses for the loser.
Sparky decided to write his own story - a story told by cartoons. He described himself as a little boy who was a loser and a chronic underachiever. That little boy in the cartoon, who was rejected again and again, was known worldwide as Charlie Brown. The Peanuts comic strip helped Charles Schulz go from misfit to sensation.(1)
How fortunate for Charles Schulz, and for cartoon lovers everywhere, that he continued dreaming. Had he not, the creative wit and imagination in him would have stayed locked up in his brilliant mind. His dream would never have materialized, and his destiny would have been lost.
The dreaming nature in you wants and needs an outlet. If you are not dreaming, a part of who you were made to be has ceased to function. And, as we shall see, if you’re not dreaming, you have cut yourself off from at least some portion of your future. Your destiny needs for you to dream!
Monty Roberts was the son of an itinerant horse trainer who worked hard training horses at many farms, stables, and ranches. His high school career was continually interrupted because of this work schedule. As a senior, he was asked to write a paper about what he wanted to be and do when he grew up. Monty wrote a lengthy paper describing his goal of someday owning a magnificent horse ranch. He drew a diagram of the two-hundred-acre dream ranch, detailing the location of the buildings, stables, track, and four-thousand-square-foot house. A great deal of his heart went into this project.
A few days later, Monty received the paper back from his teacher with a large red F. Upon being asked the reason for the F, the teacher responded, “This is an unrealistic dream for a boy like you. You have no resources or money. You’d have to buy the land, breeding stock, and pay stud fees, among other things. There’s no way you could ever do it.” The teacher then added, “If you rewrite this paper with a more realistic goal, I will reconsider your grade.”
Monty thought about it long and hard for a week. Finally, he turned in the same paper, making no changes at all, and informed his dream-stealing teacher, “You can keep the F, and I’ll keep my dream.”
Years later, Monty’s dream became a reality. He now owns a two-hundred-acre ranch…and has his high school paper framed over the fireplace.(2)
Don’t allow anything to steal your dream, and don’t shut down your dreaming nature. Your destiny is at stake.
Ronald Meredith, in his book Hurryin’ Big for Little Reasons, describes one quiet night in early spring:
“Suddenly out of the night came the sound of wild geese flying. I ran to the house and breathlessly announced the excitement I felt. What is to compare with wild geese across the moon?
“It might have ended there except for the sight of our tame mallards on the pond. They heard the wild call they had once known. The honking out of the night sent little arrows of prompting deep into their wild yesterdays. Their wings fluttered a feeble response. The urge to fly - to take their place in the sky for which God made them - was sounding in their feathered breasts, but they never raised from the water.
“The matter had been settled long ago. The corn of the barnyard was too satisfying! Now their desire to fly only made them uncomfortable.”(3)
If you’ve stopped flying, determine to start again. If you’ve stopped dreaming, tell the naysayers they can keep their F; you were made to dream. If loss or pain has created hope deferred in you, ask God to heal your heart and awaken your dreaming nature. He will do so.
He loves to give new beginnings, and He loves it when you dream.
Pray with me:
Father, You made us dreamers, just like You. We can’t help but look ahead. Today we dream of a different America. We dream of an America that honors life, that honors You and Your Word. We dream of a generation that embraces, once again, Your passion for delivering the good news of Your Kingdom to the ends of the earth. We dream of young people who know You and are secure in the identity and destiny You gave them. We dream of them as passionate worshipers of You and followers of Your ways.
We dream of a government that lives our national motto, In God We Trust, and honors our national pledge, “…one nation under God.” We dream of a church that is filled with life, fire, and power.
And for people around the world, we dream of freedom, health, food to eat, and prosperity. Send revival. Defeat and remove evil leaders that oppress people, dictate, and create war. Remove them from power. Destroy their evil yoke. We pray all this in the authority of Christ. Amen.
We declare that no comfort will create passivity or complacency in us. We will dream big dreams for God.
Today’s post was taken from my book Dream.
[Dutch Sheets Dream, Discovering God’s Purpose for Your Life (Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2012), pp 39-45.]
Click on the link below to watch the full video.
Earl Nightingale, “Sparky - Charlie Brown,” in More Sower’s Seeds, ed. Brian Cavanaugh (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1992), pp 54-55.
Adapted from Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, Chicken Soup for the Soul (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, 1993), pp 201-202.
Craig Brian Larson, Illustrations for preaching and Teaching (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993), p 38.