Is It Realistic Following Our Dreams?

This week’s article comes with a visual — the Bold Innocence poster by Steve Henderson that encourages us to Dream Big!

She’s small; her dreams are big — and it’s a given that she’s going to need some help along the way. Dream Big! poster by Steve Henderson

“Yeah, well I tried to follow my dreams but I got a big fat nowhere,” somebody told me the other day.

“I could follow my dreams,” another person commented, “As long as I had unlimited money and time.”

These statements hide a lot of hurt behind them, the sad remnants of people’s efforts to climb out of the carpeted cubicle world into a place where their talents and passions can be used to make a difference. At the end of the day, they want to feel satisfied that they have done something meaningful beyond earning profits for somebody else.

It’s hard work, following dreams; if it weren’t, most of the world would be ecstatic to start the work week, and as I’m sure you know, most people aren’t excited about the beginning of their individual work week.

Following our dreams implies movement — walking, climbing, persevering, picking ourselves up after we fall. No one said it would be easy, but things worth doing generally aren’t.

If you take a close look at the poster — which is based upon an original painting entitle Bold Innocence, by the way — you’ll notice that a very, very small child is standing in front of a very, very big ocean, and you and I know that she’s not going to conquer anything without some major help.

And so it is in the fulfillment of our dreams — as strong and intelligent and creative and passionate as we may be, we are very small in light of all of the factors that can play against us. Whether we realize it or not, we’re that child, confident yet weak, standing at the edge of a grand place.

We need people along the way to help us along, holding out a hand, pulling us up — and reminding us that there are others behind us who could use our hands, our help, to pull them up as well.

More importantly, we need Someone helping us along — the Creator of dreams and passion and love and meaning. And while it’s not chic or savvy to mention God in polite circles, He’s a primary element in moving us where we need to be, since He’s the one who imbues us with the very talents and abilities that we seek so earnestly to use.

These talents and abilities are gifts, given to us so that we can give to others. The first step in following our dreams, then, is realizing that their fulfillment is not so that we can be rich, or famous, or honored, or noticed at the grocery store, but so that we can reach out to others and give.

And the second step to following our dreams is acknowledging just that — steps. Dreams are not fulfilled quickly or overnight — they are journeys requiring day after day of walking, broken by rest in the evening so that we can prepare to walk the next day. In the process of fulfilling our dreams, we are changing into better people as we in turn work positive change in the world around us.

If you have given up on your dreams — if you have been hurt, bruised, disappointed, and damaged — please, stand up again and start walking. Reconnect with that bold innocent person inside of you, absurdly confident yet simultaneously aware that you are small indeed, and you are dependent upon the bigger people, the Bigger Person, around you.

Dream Big.

This article was originally published at

2 Responses

  1. Such important insights and observations!!! thank you!

    I’m following my dream to be a professional painter. It’s been a long time coming and I couldn’t/wouldn’t have done it alone. But that’s OK.

    First I felt the need to wait until my children were grown – and educated! Saving for their education was our #1 priority and I knew that it would take time (at the very least) for my art career to take off. So I worked – “out side the home” – to contribute to that goal.

    Second, I accepted the support of my husband. “Accepted” is the important word because his support was always there. I just didn’t feel like I “should” need it! Seemed like if I REALLY wanted to be a successful artist I could/should/would be able to make it happen. While contributing to family finances and supporting a family of 6!

    The thing is, I now believe in myself enough to know that I actually could make it happen on my own – so I don’t feel the need to prove it to anyone. And how did I get to that realization? My children! They have taught me what I strove to teach them: believe in yourself!

    1. I’m so glad that you are pursuing your dream of painting — and I am glad that you are doing it out of joy and desire, free from the need of proving anything to anyone. That’s such a relief, to get beyond that burden, isn’t it? It takes awhile for people to get there — and sadly, some never do — but it’s such a good place to be.

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