When we are young we have so many dreams and the words “practical”, “realistic”, or “difficult” never seem to be a part of the dream process. When we were young we didn’t think of limitations or obstacles. And for the most part, dreams were not private. Everyone knew that Joey wanted to be a doctor when he grew up and that Nancy was going to get married and have 5 children and live in a beautiful house. As we grow up reality sets in and we start making decisions out of the practicalities of the day, rather than as a stepping stone towards our dreams. Once we are adults, our relationships become barriers as we now have other people in our lives that have expectations of us. Soon our dreams are a distant memory and our future is based on getting through the next crisis or making it to the next day, month or year.
In my counseling and coaching practice I talk to people of all economic levels and with various levels of spiritual maturity (their judgment, not mine). Usually if you are coming to coaching or counseling it is because you want something in your life to be different. I ask the question quite often, “If your life was what you want it to be, what would it look like?” Probably 90% of the people say they don’t know. They don’t even bother to dream anymore. They just know that they don’t like where they are today. Others may be able to verbalize what was once a very colorful and alive dream or vision of their life, but the clarity of this view is clouded by many obstacles they see in the way.
Top 6 Barriers, Obstacles or Roadblocks
I have consolidated the various obstacles into these Top 6 themes:
- I can’t afford it! Whether it is a vacation, owning your own business, changing careers or becoming a stay at home parent, lack of financial resources is a significant barrier to most people going after their dreams.
- I don’t have time! I don’t have time to….. look for another job, take off a month for vacation, work on that hobby, go back to school. (Yet when you ask how many hours per week they watch TV a little defensiveness pops out.)
- I would have to start over! If I change careers I would have to start back at an entry level position. If we start our own business we would be broke again. We would have to live on a budget.
- My spouse won’t let me! I am already gone 2 nights per week, if I started that bible study it would be another night away from home. If I stay home with the kids, we won’t be able to afford our standard of living.
- I have naysayers all around me! Anytime I bring up my dreams someone tells me it isn’t practical, it can’t work, I have to think of other people. No one supports my dreams.
- I am afraid! Fear is probably the #1 reason we do not go after our dreams. We don’t believe we can achieve them or if we do that we still won’t be satisfied, or we may not be good at it……
These are all real obstacles and I am especially sensitive to #6 FEAR! As I get older it almost comes down to not having enough energy to work so hard at overcoming these obstacles. But what I have learned is that the burden of unfulfilled dreams is really what is weighing us down. The further away our dreams feel the more obstacles we add on to their achievement. Soon the weight becomes damaging to our current state of mind, much less as just an obstacle to our dreams. Our dissatisfaction grows and we begin to just exist. This is not what God had planned for us! He doesn’t promise us happiness or in many cases a specific outcome, but I do know the following things about His nature:
- He does have a plan for us. And based upon His Word He has a plan that would glorify Him and that would grow His Kingdom.
- Everything we have comes from Him including our dreams. He created us in His own image and I believe that when we align our will with His our dreams are His dreams for us.
- If we step out in faith and don’t let fear, people or circumstances keep us from doing our part, whatever the results, He can use it for good.
I believe it is the people and circumstances of this world that create the barriers and obstacles to our dreams. I also believe that if we do step out in faith that burden will soon become lighter. If our will is aligned with God, He will help us carry it.
Romans 8:31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
The first step for me is to begin praying that I can align my will with the will of God. Until I get that right I know I am heading in the wrong direction. How do you knock down the obstacles and barriers that keep you from pursuing your dreams? We would love to hear from you!