When you’ve been alive for 56 years, you learn a lot. Mostly from the things that went wrong than from things that went right. I have learned more from my failures than my successes. Don’t get me wrong, there are lessons to be had on both sides of the coin, but it seems like the failure lessons just hit you harder and produce the deepest change. At least that’s been my experience.
In that learning, I have seen a pattern in my life that has taken me years to recognize and years still to correct and I’m still in the correcting phase. And it is here, that I want to share those things. Not because I have arrived but because I haven’t and maybe sharing some things I’ve learned can change the trajectory of your life.
We all want success but it means different things to each of us and you should always define what it means for YOU, individually. Because if you don’t, you’ll follow someone else’s dream right to the end of your life having forfeited the dream in your own heart. Trust me. You don’t want that.
I have observed, in my life, much through not knowing them, four distinct things that propel people forward in their dreams and the purpose of their hearts and lives. And these things are the common thread I have found in all of them. I want to share them with you.
- THEY THINK DIFFERENTLY ( Clarity)
People who realize their dreams or purpose seem to have a mindset that transcends the obstacles they face and the naysayers. In fact, I’m not so sure they’re even listening to the naysayers. I believe they are so focused in making their difference that all they see is the goal and all else is peripheral. They know who they are and they know what they want and are clear. So they run with the vision for their lives.
There is a scripture in the Bible that says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” and I want to look at that verse in the context it is given in the AMP version of the Bible.
Proverbs 23:6 ” Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, or desire his delicacies; for as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior -one who manipulates]. He says to you, “eat and drink,” yet his heart is not with you [but it is begrudging the cost].”
Many people use this scripture to talk about believing in yourself and I don’t argue that but I want to look at it in context, to use in this topic of “thinking differently”. Let it be understood that this man in the scripture offering the food is stingy. He doesn’t really want his guest to eat up (his heart) but he says with his mouth “eat up”. His heart and his mouth don’t line up, hence the statement “as he thinks in his heart, so is he”. In other words, As his heart thinks, so is he truly, not what he portrays with his mouth or words. He said one thing with his mouth, but his heart was somewhere totally opposite.
This is what the word “authentic” means, that your heart and your life, words and actions are in alignment. They have a clarity that guides them and their thinking lines us with that clarity. They are not double-minded in their pursuit and they are not easily derailed in their purpose by the thoughts and believes of others because their heart is single. Those who pursue their purpose like this, have an alignment with their hearts that manifests in their lives as making THEIR difference.
2. THEY SEE DIFFERENTLY (Perspective)
People who we see making their difference have vision. They see life differently than others. They see the proverbial glass half full, they seem to have hope oozing out of their pores. They have an answer for everything and can see the possibility in almost everything. Sometimes these people make us want to slap them when we are in the dumps and they want to see the rainbow and we want to wallow in the mud. But we have to admit, they have something. A different spirit. Like Caleb in the Bible, they have a “different spirit” in them, like him when he saw the promise while the rest of the nation of Israel saw defeat.
What is it about them? Is it that they don’t face hardships or disappointment. No, we all face disappointment and sorrows. They just have a way of looking at those disappointments through the lens of possibility, for some reason, they cannot give up hope. Maybe they lived in despair for a while and realized it’s not worth their time and effort and it doesn’t yield any good results so why not see the bright side. What have you got to loose? I want to be like them. I have been in situations where I HAVE given up hope and I don’t like that place. But I have to have an optical transplant (spiritually speaking) in order to see like they do and I cry out for it.
3. THEY DON’T ASK PERMISSION (Autonomy) [My personal favorite]
We are surrounded by voices ad nauseam and people trying to get us to buy into their philosophy, opinions and agendas constantly. It is a wonder that any of us have any thoughts or ideas of our own that are not infused with someone else’s bits and pieces. But those who go after their dreams, hear a different voice in their hearts. Their own! They have made the decision to follow the call of their Creator without reserve and without anyone else’s opinion or permission. My whole entire life, I have felt the need for the approval and permission of others not just in following my dreams but in just living my life daily. I experienced childhood trauma that had me stuck in approval addition because I had no sense of what I wanted for myself or even what God wanted for me because I had to placate and people please for my own survival as a child. This pattern carried right over into my adult life and for most of it, I found myself being sorry every time I had a thought of my own or made a decision without someone’s permission. It was a very deep stronghold in my life that had to be broken. I did not even realize there was another option; another way of living until I had a moment of awakening in my heart by God’s grace. I realize now how much precious time and energy was lost in doing what others expected of me instead of following what I knew in my heart to be true.
But I am not on that path anymore. Thankfully. I have learned to value what I think and the desires of my heart and the only permission I seek is God’s and He is more than willing to give it when my dreams line up with His and that is what I want more than anything.
4. THEY FEEL DIFFERENTLY (Empathy)
The most precious thing that people who make their difference possess is empathy. Not sympathy, but empathy. Empathy is the ability to experience the feelings of another person. It goes beyond sympathy, which is caring and understanding for the suffering of others. Those who possess empathy are able to put themselves in the place of someone else and feel their feelings. Usually those who give empathy have been broken in their lives in very deep ways and can empathize with others who are in those same situations. Empathy is a feeling expressed TOWARD someone else with their heart in mind; the ability to get outside of ourselves and put ourselves in someone else’s shoes; to throw selfishness aside and give and serve another. Empathy allows us not only to sit with the broken but to live on behalf of them. To give our money, time and resources toward fulfilling the dream of another. The ability to live a dream that will benefit others is the highest form of vision there is.
This is the vision that Christ had for us. He came to the earth as a human being, experienced all the sorrows and pains that we humans do, yet without sin and in His love for us, gave His life as a ransom to save us from our empty way of life. Now, there is only One who can be the Savior, so we are not to live our lives to save others, only Christ can do that. But we can serve them, heal them, console and comfort them. After all what good is a dream and a vision if it is not about making the world a better place and helping others?
There are many more attributes that cause some people to go after their dreams and others to just dream, but these have impacted my life in a very personal way.
Ultimately, only God can help us fulfill the dream He has put in our hearts and in seeking Him, He provides us with all the tools we need to realize every dreams in our hearts. I would love to hear how this post impacted you or any comments you can share about how you are realizing your dreams and the tools your using to do it! Comment below or connect on Facebook and Instagram to start a discussion.
Let Christ be glorified in all!