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    “See to it no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

    « A Personal Note | War! What is it Good For? »
    Sunday
    Mar172013

    Dream, Dream, Dream

    A sacred cow in our postmodern society is that of a person’s dream. From Disney films to Twilight, the idea that we should “follow our dreams” is not inherently a bad one. It is certainly good to have goals and perseverance.

    The sayings, “don’t give up your dream”, “shoot for the stars”, and “aim high” are all common phrases in schools, businesses, and culture. Even meditation and positive thinking advocates that people essentially day dream about where they would rather be, what they would rather be doing, and how wonderfully successful they will be when they get there.

     

    Like I said, it is good to have and set goals, to pursue them and persevere by hard work and patience. But more often than not, reality is a harsh mistress and a person’s dream for their life can easily become an obsession. When a person goes after something regardless of the cost to themselves or others in their lives, it may be an obsession.

     

    The popular TV show, American Idol and the like, reveal just how many people have dreams about becoming famous singers, but can’t carry a tune. Reality strikes in the form of rejection, hard and fast.

     

    What happens when reality sets in? People do not seem prepared for it and become discouraged, disillusioned, and depressed. They attempt to escape reality through various addictions, delusions, or in extreme cases, suicide.

     

    Society, friends, and family are NEVER allowed to question a person’s dream. That is just not done. Were someone to question out of genuine concern, they might be considered mean, arrogant, and unworthy of a relationship (though fortunately not always).

     

    This same mentality spills over into the Christian realm when it comes to callings and ministries. Some Christians worry so much over what God may be “calling” them to (we could name this their “Christian career”), that there are books, conferences, and TV shows galore. It’s a big business that generates discontentment, doubt, and fear in the lives of many sincere Christians, some of who use the books as Bible studies in an attempt to find God’s purpose for their lives.

    “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12).

     

    “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as if working for the Lord and not for man” (Colossians 3:23)

     

    Other Christians become so convinced of what “God” told them, they refuse to see if the Bible (God’s word) may be saying something else. They will not hear well-intentioned criticism or friendly advice, and a questioner might find themselves on the receiving end of personal attacks and veiled threats, not only from the leader of the ministry, but their followers too. 

     

    The book of Proverbs contains many little sayings to help one live wisely. There are a great many passages about wisdom being gained by listening to sage advice. Here are just a couple plus one from 2 Timothy (these are taken from the ESV Bible):

    The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. (Proverbs 12:15)

     

    Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (Proverbs 19:20-21)

     

    All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness… (2 Timothy 3:16)

     

    Maybe others are afraid to have their dreams questioned, so they don’t question first. Maybe others are afraid they will look mean, be judged, or receive backlash. Or maybe the whole “judge not” fallacy (see: A Critical Spirit?) is such an ingrained cultural tradition that we dare not break it. Our culture tells us it is mean-spirited to question the goals and dreams of others, but is it more loving to gently tell someone they just might not be cut out for something, at least not yet, or just to let them experience the school of hard knocks?

     

    I’m not recommending readers go out and offer “free advice” on every issue, but to offer honest advice when it is asked and present genuine concerns when they arise. If someone lashes back about it, maybe they are not that nice of a person, that spiritual of a leader, or that great of a friend after all.

     

    It all boils down to pride (see: The Deadliest Sin). We will not allow ourselves to be wrong. Ever. This is why the Bible says,

     “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18)

     

    We are not infallible. We are not angels. Many people will say those things to excuse their bad behavior or mistakes after they become too obvious to hide, but they set a double standard. They will not hear or tolerate being told they are behaving badly while they are behaving badly.

    And I am just as guilty as the rest of humanity.  

     

    See Also: Follow Your (Deceitful) Heart ; God Has a Special Plan for Your Life-1 and 2

    and Spirituality in Gothic Literature Past and Present

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