In the summer of 2022, I was having a conversation with a fellow pastor about vision and dreams. In the course of the conversation, I began to realize that in the hustle and bustle of leading through a pandemic over the previous 24 months, I had become so focused on the present that I quit focusing on the future. In my intensity to lead successfully in the present, I had forgotten my role to the future. In essence, I had quit dreaming. With this reality in mind, I sought the Lord for fresh vision and reengaged with the future by allowing myself permission to dream again.
As leaders, I think we can become so focused on the present that we forget the future. We can be so in the weeds of the now that we don’t look up to think or contemplate the not yet. When we do this, we not only rob ourselves of the joys of dreaming, but we limit those who follow our leadership today with no thought for tomorrow. Particularly over the last couple of years, leaders have had to be very much attentive to today while allowing tomorrow to take care of itself. We had to be flexible and shelf future plans for another day, giving ourselves only to the immediate. In essence, we were operating in crisis leadership, which is acceptable for a season, but not as a norm. When crisis leadership becomes normative, we become slaves to the immediate and bogged down in the quagmire of endless detailed tasks that require much energy and little return. We lose the ability to explore new opportunities and ideas. It ultimately aborts our future and caps our leadership.
The good news is that we always have a choice. As a leader, I can choose to dream again. I can realize that I’m in an endless cycle of crisis leadership and that I need to look up to see other options, other possibilities, and other solutions to the problems and opportunities that leading presents. I can inquire of the Lord and hear from Him regarding His will, future, and hope for me. I can also go back to the beginning of my journey and calling to remember my “why,” so that I might rekindle the flame of the passion and purpose of my heart, the place where the dream began.
I believe that a dream is the passion and purpose that God placed in your heart. Do you know what your passion and purpose is? If not, inquire of the Lord. He will speak to you and show you because, after all, He is the giver of that passion and purpose. We see this in the life of Joseph (Genesis 37-50). Joseph had a dream from God that directed the destiny of his life. However, this dream did not materialize quickly. In fact, it took approximately 23 years for it to come to fruition. His journey was filled with setbacks and hardships from the pit to the palace to a prison before his meeting with the Pharaoh. At this moment, the dream of a 17-year-old boy became a reality that not only blessed Joseph, but all who came in contact with him.
My question for you today is, have you stopped dreaming? Maybe the hurry of the immediate has choked out the future. Maybe hardships and setbacks have knocked your faith or caused you to lower your expectations. Maybe you were like me and have stopped dreaming without even realizing it. My challenge? Dream again. The purpose and passions that God placed in your heart at 17 are still in residence. You just have to open the door and dream again.