I’VE ALWAYS BEEN A GOAL-SETTER, but not necessarily a goal-getter. In fact, for years I had the habit every January 1 of pulling out a sheet of paper and writing out my big vision for the year. The problem was, I would safely tuck it away in my nightstand and never look at it again. Did I achieve my vision? (Are you kidding me?) A few months later, I couldn’t even remember what I had written. In fact, by the end of the year, I didn’t even know where I had put that piece of paper. In essence, all I did was give myself the satisfaction of saying that I had written down something, and that’s about as far as it went.
There was a consequence for ignoring my vision—my life didn’t change. Not one bit. Year after year, I’d write out these grand and purposeful visions and dreams, and then I’d put them somewhere to collect dust. As I look back, I can’t believe I wasted all of that time and effort for nothing. My life started changing once I started spending time daily reviewing my dreams. All the things I have imagined in my mind and kept before me are becoming realities. I know that God is the one making them happen, but I am applying the steps He said to take in order to achieve success.
Never in a million years did I want to be a preacher. The whole reason I’m even in this ministry is because I am so convinced that God’s Word works. It’s so exciting! I can’t help but want to share that with the world . . . with you. I believe that I am called to inspire the people I encounter through what I have experienced in my own life. And I want to show you that if you’ll do what God’s Word says to do, you’ll have the results that God’s Word says you can have. I want you to imagine the possibilities of what you can do with Him. I want you to dream of what you can accomplish. I want you to envision what God has planned for you.
Review these things constantly. Keep them in front of you until you start walking toward them. God is going to give you ideas and new ways of doing things that you never thought of before. He will bring people into your life that will help you accomplish your goals—people you never imagined you would meet, people you only dreamed about meeting one day.
It’s necessary to set aside time each day to review, meditate on and pray over your dreams. This morning, when I got back from the gym, I went into my guest bedroom while everyone else was still sleeping. I lifted my dream book up to the Lord and I spoke by faith that every one of my dreams are fulfilled. I turned page after page and made those confessions. This is how my dreams are manifesting in my life, by keeping them before me and believing God for them.
The Bible says that we serve a God who speaks of nonexistent things as if they already exist (see Rom. 4:17). He wants us to talk the same talk. Anyone who will dare to put his or her faith into action and believe God to bring forth what seems impossible or unattainable; the one who will go that extra mile and do things that other people think are crazy will realize the fruit of his or her faith.
God is looking for dreamers. He wants you to enlarge your thinking. He wants to think beyond the realm of possibilities. After all, God is the one who will ultimately fulfill these dreams for you. Sure, you’ll have to take appropriate steps, but He will open up heaven for you. He will use the unlimited resources He has. He will move mountains. So stop thinking small. God needs you to open your imagination to believe that the dreams you have in your heart can happen for you. Put a demand on your faith to believe for something that’s totally impossible, because He specializes in doing the impossible.
I looked up the word “believe” one day. It means to accept as true, genuine or real. You have to accept the fact that God can do anything, because He can. He can do anything with you if you’ll just trust Him. Carry these words of truth in your heart, and carry your vision with you. Commit time each day to review your dreams.
W. Clement Stone was a mentor to Jack Canfield before he achieved fame for his Chicken Soup for the Soul book. One piece of advice W. Clement Stone gave Jack was to write his most important goal on the back of his business card and carry it in his wallet at all times. Every time Jack opened his wallet, he was reminded of what he had written. It was around this time when his first Chicken Soup book was released. Sales figures weren’t in yet, but Jack had written on the card, “I am so happy selling 1.5 million copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul by December 30, 1994.”
Jack’s publisher laughed at the absurdity of his goal and told him he was crazy. But by the target date, the book had sold 1.3 million copies. Some might argue he missed his goal by 200,000 copies, and that’s true. But the book went on to sell more than 8 million copies in more than 30 languages around the world. Jack may not have hit his target precisely, but that was by no means a failure.
The Power of Change
Let’s talk about your future. What are you doing with your life? Carefully consider what you do, day in and day out. Now, pretend it’s five years from now and you haven’t changed anything about your existing habits. You’ve continued doing the same old same old. If you spend too much money, you’re still doing that five years from now. If you watch too much TV, you’re still doing that five years from now. If you waste time on Facebook or other social networks, you’re doing the same thing five years from now.
What will your life look like in five years? How old will you be? How long have you been at your current job? Where do you live? How much money have you saved? Do you like what you see? That last question can be tough to answer. Years ago, when I asked myself that question, my answer was “No.” I didn’t like my life. I didn’t like what I saw. I didn’t like where I was headed—I was headed nowhere. I determined that I didn’t want to keep repeating the same things every year. I wanted to grow and have new experiences.
Think about the old adage, “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’re going to keep getting what you’ve always gotten.” In order to have more, you must become more. You have to change. You have to put in place new habits, new routines, new practices, new ways of thinking.
Most of us have heard the definition of insanity: repeating the same behaviors but expecting different results. You have got to change what you’re doing right now if you want a different future. I want you to imagine a better life. I want you to imagine yourself having, doing and being all the things you dream about. There is no reason you can’t change. There is no reason tomorrow can’t be better than today.
If you don’t like what you’re producing and experiencing, then you have to change. You have to change your reactions to circumstances. You have to change your attitude. You have to change your negative thoughts to positive ones. You have to change what you daydream about. You have to change your habits. You have to change what you read. You have to change your friends. You have to change how you talk.
What Do You See?
If you see yourself staying the same, you will. If you see yourself succeeding, you will. John F. Kennedy dreamed of putting a man on the moon. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a country free of prejudice and injustice. Bill Gates dreamed of a world in which every home had a computer connected to the Internet. These life-changers believed that anything is possible. They kept their dreams alive and made a habit of thinking about them constantly. I want you to do the same thing. I want you to assign time daily to review your dreams.
When you take the time to think about your future—to visualize and see the invisible—you are one step closer to making them happen. David Yonggi Cho, founder and senior pastor of the world’s largest church congregation, wrote a book about the importance of visualization. In the book, he encourages everyone to create a daily routine of visualizing your future. He believes it’s best to do this in the morning, after spending time in prayer. Maybe you are not a morning person and would rather do this in the evening or around lunchtime. That’s okay. The most important thing is to do it.
I love the morning, and I use that time to review my dreams. After I pray, I sit quietly on my little chaise lounge, notebook in my lap, and I visualize. I dream. I listen for God’s voice. I listen for any inspiration He might give me about my future. Whatever I feel God is speaking to my spirit, I write it down. There is so much power in visualizing your future. It’s amazing what God will bring to your mind.
Most of the world’s greatest achievers visualize their dreams. Some of them have dream walls, dream boards or dream books, and they are very specific about what they want to accomplish over the next year, the next 5 years, 10 years, or more. Every successful person I know, and every successful person I have studied, does this in some fashion. They visualize. They imagine. They see themselves succeeding before they succeed. They keep their dream before them.
What are some of the dreams you had when you were a child? What about when you became an adult? Are you living the life you imagined? If not, why not? What is stopping you? What is holding you back? Why can’t you go back and get that college degree? Why can’t you write that book? Why can’t you learn to speak a foreign language? Why can’t you travel to Africa? Why can’t you volunteer overseas?
If you consider the possibility of making your dreams become a reality and take appropriate steps toward them, your life could be different in five years. You could be taking those flying lessons, learning a new skill, mastering a musical instrument, or have started a youth ministry. I believe that if you can conceive it in your mind, you will receive it in your life. Make a commitment to your future and assign daily time to review your dreams.