“The more valid your reasons for achieving your dreams are, the greater your odds will be of achieving them.” – Dr. John C. Maxwell
The Right to Dream
From the elevated platform of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his, “I have a dream” speech. He spoke from a vantage point. He believed a day would come when his children would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Speaking such language in a time of segregation seemed futile as nothing would change overnight because of his words. But King Jr. waxed prophetic and was full of faith. He believed that taking the first step without seeing the entire staircase is an expression of faith. From his speech and most importantly from his life we learn that injustice, segregation, discrimination, or any violation of human rights cannot take away our right to dream.
When we dream, we develop an internal vantage point. An elevated perspective from where we see, not as things are, but as they could be. Most, if not all of what we see in reality starts off as a dream. Whether it is the devices we hold in our hands, the cars we drive, or the homes we live in. Dreaming about a better future is not only our right, it is a powerful way to keep hope alive that we can do and be better.
In this month’s series of blogs, I will detail four vantage points from which we can initiate a better future now. Here is the road map:
- The right to dream (today’s post).
- The impact of service (delivery date 7/11).
- The value of purpose (delivery date 7/18).
- The power of truth (delivery date 7/25).
Let’s begin with a three-question assessment to encourage us not just to dream more but to be more.
1. What do you dream about?
Leadership expert Dr. John Maxwell says that at the nexus of what you sing, cry, and dream about, lies your passion. No one lives a passionate life without a dream. Having a dream is tied to finding fulfillment in life. Identifying it is connected to recognizing your mission in life. Acting on it is linked to sustaining your motivation for success in life. Having a dream gives us intrinsic motivation to press forward despite the external challenges we meet.
Additionally, dreams become the coming attractions for potential opportunities. As we move in the direction of our dreams and articulate who our dream is for, we are met with opportunities to exercise that dream through “hard work, perseverance, and faith in God,” as Dr. Ben Carson once put it.
2. Who is your dream for?
In his speech, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
Your dream must be connected to something meaningful. Dr. King Jr. went on to mention, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” When your dream is connected to what matters, your life will always serve a greater purpose. A full life becomes your portion. I believe Dr. King lived a full life even though he died too soon. You see, the measure of a life is not the number of its years but the substance of its days. Because Dr. King lived for the benefit of others, his life mattered. He lived a life that left a legacy instead of a vacancy.
Merging your dream with a cause that benefits others ensures your dream has a greater possibility of being realized. Selfish dreams rarely come to fruition. My dream to be a published author was born from a desire to see others live a higher quality of life by discovering their God-given treasure and teaching them with encouragement how to draw it out and serve others. Who are the beneficiaries of your dream if it materializes? Will the sphere of life you are in improve as a result of your dream coming true?
3. How does your dream improve life?
Seeking to improve the quality of life should be the mission of any human being. This internal quality that I believe we are born with, causes us to rally around those who use their dreams to elevate life.
Martin Luther King Jr, was able to amass a sea of people in Washington DC because he had a dream that would raise the quality of life not only for one race but for an entire nation.
Dreaming is one thing but connecting it to improving life is what compounds the impact of your dream. This, in turn, will attract destiny helpers around you to support your dream.
This short poem by Langston Hughes sums up the important role dreams play in life:
Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die,
life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams go,
Life is a barren field, frozen with snow.
Final thought: When the demands and busyness of the present consume mental energy needed to dream about the future, we inhibit our God-given right to look ahead with hope for a better life. Just as faith without works is dead so is the future without a dream. Dreams are powerful because we just don’t think about them, we feel them. They give us a vantage point. May your dreams be greater than your memories. You have the right to dream. Will you use it?
Keep on keeping on!