When Dreams Fade…

When I was in elementary school, I was in tee ball and little league. I thought I was pretty awesome. I knew deep in my heart that at 10 years old, I was ready for the Majors. I could take on Nolan Ryan’s 500 MPH fast ball and knock it clear out of the park, every time! I could hear the stadium full of fans chanting my name when it was my turn to bat. I knew that I was going to play Major League Baseball.

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Then the first Jurassic Park movie came out and I became obsessed with the idea of being a paleontologist, searching the world for fossils of long dead dinosaurs. Now that may sound kind of boring for a young kid, I mean, what kid wants to be a scientist? Well, I wasn’t going to be just the average paleontologist, I was going to be the world’s leading expert on everything paleontology related. I was going to discover countless new species of dinosaurs and be heralded as the best paleontologist there ever was!

Soon after, I started playing guitar. And my dreams changed from the vast desserts in search of bones to packed arenas with tens of thousands of people singing along to the hit songs that I had written and recorded. Any time I entered a new city, it would be like the Beatles arriving. Throngs of people hoping to get a glimpse, all the girls screaming and fainting, TV cameras everywhere. Life was going to be EPIC!

We are always the hero in our own dreams. I know that boys dream BIG! We will be astronauts, explorers, military heroes, sports legends, you name it! We are going to change the world and everyone will know who we are. We are going to make a difference and go down in history as the greatest of all time at whatever we set our minds to!

Fast forward 20+ years. I bet you think that I became a rock star but you’d be wrong. My dreams of playing ball, digging up fossils and rocking crowds never really came to life. They just kind of fizzled away, how many dreams do. As life went on, so came the responsibilities. And with responsibilities came a realization that perhaps my dreams weren’t all that realistic. I gave up on them.

I know many people who continue to play music in bars and clubs because they absolutely love playing music, even if nobody will ever really know their name. I know some guys that play in local sports leagues, just because they love whatever game they play. They may not have reached the big time, but they are still carrying on their dream in some way while living life.

Not every person is called to live out their childhood dreams. Perhaps my dreams were too big, or perhaps they would lead me to a place where God may not have become a focus. Maybe, I was thinking too much about being the star instead of how I could use my life to serve others.

I live the retail life. Day in and day out, working long hours inside of a store. My dreams of cheering and adoring fans have been replaced by angry customers yelling at me. My hopes for being known, respected and loved have been replaced by someone having a bad day and demanding the manager (and not by name, just title), which would be me. My goal of rocking crowds has become a reality of hoping that we get some customers in the store to buy some stuff so it’s not such a slow day.

Where did I go wrong? Why couldn’t I live out some of my childhood fantasies? Is there no hope for me to have a purpose to live out?

The reality is, we can’t all be the best athletes or most talented songwriters. We can’t all be the biggest star in Hollywood. There are a select few who get to have those sorts of titles. But God still has a purpose for each person. Even a mundane, boring life can touch someone in a way that will forever change theirs.

I’ve been reading “Average Joe” by Troy Meeder lately and he goes into much more about this than I will. The premise is that even your “”Average Joe” has been called by God to lead a life of servitude, mentorship, leadership, etc. We all have a calling and for some, it may not be the most glamorous day job. But it’s not our job that defines us, it’s what we do with our influence, how we touch someone else’s life, how we exemplify God’s love.

I may not have a job that other’s would envy, but I come into contact with a demographic of people who are lower income and have financial troubles. Many of our customers don’t enjoy their lives. But I am here to be able to show them some of God’s love. In the short time they are here, I can focus on them and make them feel special. Tell some jokes, share some stories, somehow brighten their day a little bit. I can offer to pray for or with them. There are so many ways that I can be a light in a dark time. The same goes for coworkers. I have people that I am in contact with daily that I can influence in a positive way, even though I don’t have my life together as well as I would like. It’s something that I need to be much better at actually doing.

This goes back to when I was talking about seeing your blessings. If all you see are the difficulties in your own life, you aren’t able to be much of a blessing to others. When you realize that there are good things in your life and that God has blessed you, it’s easier to be more positive and thankful and when you are thanking God for the things that He blessed you with, it’s easier to be a blessing to others.

My dreams may not have come true, but even as just an average person living out an average life, I can obey the Great Commission that Jesus set before all of us, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20) My job is to sell stuff, but my purpose and calling is to tell others of the amazing Savior of my life and help bring them to Him to change their lives forever.

I may not ever see the fruits of my labor, but giving people a glimpse of what Jesus has done for me and can do for them may help to provide them with the spark needed to start a journey through faith that brings them closer to Jesus and towards the life that He offers. And I think that with the sacrifice that Jesus made for me, the least I could do is obey what He has asked me to do for Him.

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