I watched a video clip on my news feed this morning that had various celebrities speaking about “following your dream.” Each sound clip encompassed a theme of “never give up” or “you can do anything that you put your mind to!!”. At one point, Jim Carey poses the idea that if you visualize your dream, it will come true. I am writing this to let my readers know that I not only disagree with this thinking process, but I think it can be dangerous. I promise that I am not trying to be a Negative Nancy here…. hear me out.
There is a saying that has been floating around in my life over the last several years that says, “expectations are resentments in the making.” I got this saying confused for longest time. It does not mean that I should NOT set expectations. It is very reasonable for a manager to set the expectation of an employee to show up for work on time. It is reasonable for a married couple to expect their spouse to be faithful. Where I tend to fall short is setting up expectations in a grand form. Examples would be: I expect to graduate college and land a high paying job or I expect to retire at age 55. I have a tendency to make grand plans and think that I actually have a full range of control over how things are going to turn out. If I am not in peak spiritual condition, I am quick to find that things not turning out can quickly turn into anger and resentment.
I do not support telling someone “you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to!.” I’m sorry, but I am here to tell you that there are just certain things that I will never be able to achieve no matter how hard I try, pray, or work at it. I could NEVER be an astrophysicist, for example. I can assure you that I could study, research, and educate myself to death on such a topic, and never succeed. Why? My brain is just not built that way. God didn’t create my mind to be an astrophysicist. I will also never be a mathematician or have the capability to lift 500 pounds. It just isn’t possible; and that’s okay! There are plenty of other things that I CAN do. What I believe is that you should discover what piece of God’s puzzle you belong to. He gives us all a skill and I believe that whether you are a fast food employee or brain surgeon, you have the capability to use your talents to help someone else.
So instead of entering some grand plan of your own, keep an open mind that there may be a bigger plan for you. There may be plenty of things that you visualize happening that just won’t…. but something else will. The key component is to open your heart to what God’s plan is. I spent the longest time trying to fulfill a role in the world according to what I thought OTHERS would like to see. It’s not a surprise that I continued to fall short. Over and over I continued to hear this still small voice inside saying, “you’re not using the talents that I gave you.”
So, no – there are plenty of things that you cannot do no matter how hard you try. The cool thing is that there are plenty of things that you CAN do if it fits into the bigger plan. One thing that I can promise is this: Always be willing to help someone else, keep an open mind, and do the next right indicated thing; the rest will fall into place.