This is the first of a two part series on the topic of how to break free and live your dream in a practical way.
In my previous post on this blog – “You Have the Freedom to Live Your Dream” – we received a great comment that stood out for me. The reader mentioned that “we know we have the freedom to live our dream, but how? This word “how” causes the delay for many people to start actions because many times people feel stuck in the present situations.
I wish you can touch on what action should be taken; with just the knowledge of freedom is not enough for encourage people to take action.”
I’m sure that many of us can associate with this problem. The problem is how to find the ‘how’. We would all love to live our dreams; but how? I know I have faced this problem for many years. It is only since recently that I am really starting to move towards living my dream.
The biggest obstacle is often that you don’t even know that there is an obstacle. Once you realize that there is an obstacle, you still cannot remove the obstacle until you have identified what the true obstacle is. You cannot remove something if you don’t know what you are looking for. So let’s find out what the real obstacle is.
It Usually Starts In Childhood
You have a dream and you’ve been nurturing it since childhood. But in your mind, you are convinced that that is exactly what it is; just a dream.
Whatever your dream is, you know that you are passionate about it and if only you could get the opportunity, but…..
You just don’t have the money….or you don’t believe that you really have the talent or the knowledge. You don’t believe that you’ve got what it takes to run that business…..or you don’t really understand the financial markets. It’s just a dream…..one of your wild fantasies….
Yet, you lose yourself every time when you get your hands on those financial magazines, or those fashion magazines talking about the latest up-and-coming fashion designer. Or when you start playing music, you totally lose track of time and the next thing you know, two or three hours have slipped by.
Can it be that maybe you’ve been mocked about your dream as a kid? Every time you started talking about becoming a musician, some well-meaning, ‘kind-hearted’ adult made a mockery of your dream. “Ha-ha…yes….our big rock star! Come sing for us!” And so it eventually just became a game while everybody thought it’s so ‘cute’. You became used to the idea that it is just some innocent child-like fantasy and as you grew up you started facing reality. “It’s all day-dreaming and playing games”, you thought. Other kids are dreaming about becoming astronauts, fire fighters or doctors, but it’s just kids’ games.
As a matter of fact, as you grew older, you even started becoming embarrassed about it. You’ve ‘out-grown’ it and you got kind of ‘over it’. It wasn’t funny anymore to be the ‘pop-star’ of the family to the amusement of others.
But what if those same adults adopted a more encouraging attitude? I say this with the greatest respect and I am in no way running anybody down as bad parents. But what if – instead of making fun of it as if it’s just ‘another cute game’ – someone started encouraging you?
By this I am not saying that your parents should have enrolled you for a new course or some special lessons with each new game you played. That would be ridiculous and silly. But I am thinking of people such as Neil Armstrong….do you think he never dreamed about being an astronaut before he became one. Lionel Richie….do you think he never had dreams about becoming a singer as a kid?
I recall watching a television interview some time ago between Kenneth Copeland and Keith Moore. Keith Moore mentioned what impact his parents had on him as a kid. He mentioned how grateful he was that they were always encouraging him. He used the example of how he would often come running into the house, announcing that he is going to become an astronaut.
Although his parents didn’t jump up and enrolled him for extra science classes, they also didn’t make a mockery out of it. Whatever dream he would be announcing, they would encourage him by saying something in the line of… “Son, if you set your mind to it, you can become anything you want. Go for it.”
Now as in the case of Keith Moore (who didn’t become an astronaut by the way), it is not to say that you will become everything you dream about as a child. Sometimes children are just having fun. But sometimes real dreams are surfacing and get destroyed due to ignorance.
You might even grow up and only discover your real passion as an adult, becoming something you never thought you would in your wildest dreams. But what might become the obstacle, is often what you believe about yourself.
Do you believe it is possible or is your first response to accept defeat before you’ve even tried?
Don’t Believe The Lie The World Tells You.
Your thinking habits are formed during childhood. Due to this process taking place over many years it goes undetected and we are totally unaware of it. Even our parents are often ‘victims’ to the same process, and totally unaware of the effects of their words and actions, they just repeat the same ‘loving’ process with us.
To add to this problem, the world intimidates us with the lie that true success is only destined for the select few. You either have to get a ‘lucky break’ or you need to be born into a wealthy family. If you are really talented, you might be lucky and get spotted by some talent-scout. But then again….because of your self-doubt, you are sitting somewhere in a lonesome corner, so how on earth is that talent-scout going to see you?
We have come to the point where we just accepted the fact that we need to be working for some abusive boss and make the best with what we have, just as long as we can survive.
But the future doesn’t look to good. I mean….even the Bible says that the ‘rich will get richer and the poor will even get poorer’, isn’t it?
So, what is the main difference between successful and unsuccessful people (and I am not necessarily referring to finances alone)?
It is the way they think.
There is No Need to Be Confused
We now know that it all starts with the way you think and what you are constantly meditating on. That’s where it all starts.
Firstly, let’s start with the idea of the rich will get richer and the poor will only get poorer. The Bible says in Luke 19:24-27 (NIV) “24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’
25 “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’
26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”
It is easy for many Christians to get scared when times are tough. Then they read a text such as this and the world is quick to jump on board too. Many Christians immediately start doubting themselves, listening to stories such as God is trying to teach them a lesson, or they think they are getting punished for some reason because somewhere they have missed it again.
These thoughts are not biblical. Jesus came and paid the ultimate price. He says in John 10:10 (NIV) “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
That verse sums it up very nicely. It is the thief (the devil) that comes to steal and kill and destroy. If you fall for his lies and he can make you feel guilty, he will obviously do that. If he can drive you to the point where you feel like a complete wash-out and loser, so much better. He will destroy you. Even if it costs you your life, that verse tells you in no uncertain terms that that is exactly what the devil will do.
But you don’t have to fall for his lies anymore. That same verse tells you that Jesus came that we may have life and have it to the full. This is confirmed when Romans 8:1-3 (NIV) says “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.”
Yes, we will face trouble (John 16:33), but we need not be defeated by any troubles, because Jesus has overcome the world (same verse). Through Him we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37) and we can do all this through Him who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13).
We are quick to say that success is not always just about money. So why do we get stuck at the monetary value in the parable of Luke 19?
Let’s go deeper then. When we start studying the Word of God, ask for wisdom and meditate on His Word, we will receive wisdom (James 1:5). In the book of Proverbs alone, there are about 55 texts that refer to the topic of wisdom.
If we meditate on God’s Word and seek His wisdom, more will be given us. On the contrary, if we neglect studying the Word of God, we run the risk of even losing that which we have. It comes down to the fact that your mind will be occupied with that which you are focused on the most. And what your mind is focused on will dominate your thoughts, which will determine your actions, which will determine your quality of life.
Deep down in your heart you might be a believer, but if you are focused on the world and the lies of the devil, you will be robbed of all your joy and have a hard time coping with life. You are saved, but what are you focused on? That determines your mindset and quality of life while here on earth.
So let’s go back to Luke 19 again. We all know the parable very well and we also know that Jesus was referring to Himself as the man of noble birth and that He has to go to heaven to be crowned as King before He returns.
What were His instructions to these men? Verse 13 makes it very clear that they had to put the money to work until He comes back. Their thinking made the difference. The third man was filled with fear and doubt and he failed to do anything positive or constructive.
Many Christians also get confused today as they struggle through life while they see ungodly people prospering and going from strength to strength. That’s when they start questioning scriptures like Romans 8:37 and Philippians 4:13.
They reason that they are faithful, they believe and they are praying constantly, yet they keep on struggling and failing, while these ungodly people seem to do as they please and everything they touch just turn into successes.
Once again, we need to come back to what we are thinking and what we truly believe. That determines our actions and ultimately the results we receive.
We need to know that there are certain laws that apply to everybody. If two men stand on the roof of a building, one being a Christian and one a non-believer, and they decide to jump off the roof, the same law of gravity will work exactly the same for both men. The one is not going to hit the ground with a thump while the other is going to glide down and make a graceful landing just because he is a Christian.
The same principle works in all aspects of life, even in our thought life. The difference lies in the answer to this question: which master do you serve. Matthew 6:24 (NIV) says “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Yet, once again we meet with a point of much confusion. It is easy to take this text and scare many Christians until they shake in their boots, because now they think that as Christians we are not to be financially successful as we will start serving mammon.
Lack of money can be just as dangerous as having too much money. People are quick to say that rich people are greedy, but you can be just as greedy while being poor.
Just follow the news and you will often see how some of the wealthiest people in the world are giving away fortunes towards charity. Ask a poor man to make a donation, and he will be quick to ask you what do you expect him to live on?
Starting Your Journey To Success.
Both believers and non-believers alike are equally able to achieve success in any field they desire.
The difference is this:
- The non-believer will always rely on his own power and abilities to achieve success. That is often accompanied by a very stressful lifestyle, as everything has to be done in your own power and you are responsible for your own results. It is also often a life filled with fear, because what if you lose your fortune? It often goes hand-in-hand with all kinds of addictions to cope with the stress and low moral values for fleshly pleasure and self-fulfillment. And when facing death, there is the uncertainty of what to expect.
- The believer has access to God and will do all things through Him who gives him strength. The true believer never has to doubt his ability to achieve success, because he knows that he is an overcomer and a conqueror. He doesn’t live in fear of losing anything, because he knows that God is his provider and the source of everything he needs. He freely gives, therefore he also will receive (Luke 6:38). He practices self-discipline and live in a close personal relationship with God. There is no fear of death, because the believer is fully aware of his eternal destination.
Success doesn’t have to be measured in financial terms alone. By finding your true purpose and living to your full potential, you will find true success. Measuring success in a monetary value alone can be a relative concept as the one man’s fortune can be to have one million dollars, while another man’s fortune can be one thousand dollars. True success is achieved by prospering in all areas of life, which includes spiritual, mental and physical blessings.
I recently heard Robert Kiyosaki (one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world) making the statement that one shouldn’t be working for his money. “You should make your money work for you”, he said.
It struck me immediately how this principle is actually in line with what the Bible teaches us. We have been given authority over all things on this earth, including money. Money should be serving us, not the other way around.
Robert Kiyosaki went on to say the problem is the fact that most people are not financially educated. People spend their money on liabilities instead of investing in assets, making their money work for them. I can hear you say “yes, but I have to make a living first, I can’t afford to invest”.
It is decision time again. Instead of just coming to the conclusion of “I cannot afford it”, we should start asking ourselves “how can I afford to start investing?”
Another very interesting statement that Robert Kiyosaki made was that as long as you are in debt (bad debt), you will be employed. In other words you will be working for money and he was not referring to the company you are working for.
Let us go to the extreme (facts are facts) and think about your mortgage, or the financing you have on your car. If something goes wrong, you lose your job and you can’t afford to make your monthly payments because you are not earning a salary, who does your house belong too? Who does your car belong too? That means….you are working for the bank…..you are working for money….
He further made the statement that there is good debt and bad debt, and the majority of people are normally going into bad debt.
The difference between the two is this:
- Bad debt is used to ‘invest’ in liabilities. It is used to purchase something that is not going to produce income. Even a house – if it is not producing income, it is a liability.
- Good debt is used to invest in assets. An asset will be anything that produces an income. If you buy a house to rent it out and the rent is sufficient to cover your cost and produce an income, the house becomes an asset.
Once you are in a position to make a living from income-producing assets (called passive income), you can start buying all the luxuries your heart desires paying from that income. You will be able to do work that you enjoy or that you are passionate about, because you won’t be working for money. You will actually be able to even work for free if need be, because whether you are working or not, you have an income coming in. Now your money is working for you.
Now, we all have to start somewhere and we need to earn those first dollars. But he points out that at that stage, your main motivation shouldn’t be the money. You should be working for the sake of learning. Learn how to manage a business. Learn how to deal with people. Learn all you can about your passion. While you start earning money, become financially educated and start to learn about investing.
To be continued in Part 2…..
In Part 2 we will be talking about how you can practically start moving towards living your dream and the process you need to follow. I will also include a diagram to illustrate your thinking process and the influence it has on your life.
Be sure not to miss it….