I wonder at times why God gave us the capacity to dream, to envision a world full of possibilities, none of which are at present the fabric of our reality.
He could have made us mindless drones without a concept of the future or a longing to create. But yet He endowed us with His own image and made us to build somethings out of nothings, to cultivate beauty from disorder.
Our capacity to hope isn’t incidental to our nature but essential. We have this peculiar ability to look at an overgrown landscape and envision lush fields, thriving cattle, a bursting garden. To look at a person or place and, loving it for what it is, dream about what it might become—that’s explicitly and radically divine.
But what’s equally divine, and perhaps much more rare, is the commitment to turn our dreams into devotion and deeds. Without work, our dreams die and leave us heart-sick.
This capacity to hope is also a precious mark of character, something the writer of Hebrews tells us set apart the choicest of God’s servants from the rest. From Abraham to Moses, these legends of the faith dreamed of a better city whose foundations were built by God (Hebrews 11) and then engaged in the building project. They were men of uncommon virtue because they hoped and ventured and dared greatly to pursue a kingdom that no one else could see.
What defines us as humans is, in large part, our ability to love and labor toward something that isn’t currently in our grasp. To face all this adversity today and know that it’s working—and we’re working—toward a greater purpose in our lives. To set goals and work at them, even when they seem impossible.
In our fallenness, we also have an equally destructive power to put things off, to let the long list of seemingly urgent things crowd out what’s really important, and to let the prospect of real work discourage us from doing great things. We lose focus, get distracted, and waste our lives chasing shiny objects rather than pursuing a lasting legacy of big dreams for the glory of God.
How do we break that cycle? We start. Today.
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would not otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have dreamed would come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now.” — W.H. Murray, “The Scottish Himalayan Expedition”
“whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. begin it now.”
What dreams have you been putting off? What apparently urgent things keep you from doing what’s lastingly important in your life? It’s time to clear the weeds, clear your schedule of the urgently unimportant, and make time for what really matters.
It’s time to get to work.
Today is the day to start. Start working at your dreams, because dreams don’t work unless you do.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain