Want to Create Your Dream Life? Write it Down.

Want to Create Your Dream Life? Write it Down. April 3, 2015

book-440878_640I was cleaning out the basement last weekend when I turned my attention to an old file cabinet perched in a dark corner, minding its own business. In the frenzy of my purging rampage, I decided this guy’s number was up and began tossing its outdated contents into the trash.

Eventually I came across one particularly wrinkled and faded folder that simply said, Goals.” “What’s this crap?” I thought to myself, opening it to reveal a vaguely familiar series of neatly hand-written pages. It was written over twenty years ago – by me, it turns out – when I was a struggling up-and-coming manager supporting a wife and brand new baby, trying to make my mark on the business world. It was a vision of my ideal future life.

Curious, I slowed down for a moment to read my larger-than-life dreams, circa 1993. “I am well dressed, with very nice shoes,” it begins.

Seriously, that’s how it starts. I smiled, and remembered. We lived in a very expensive area, and were always short on cash when it came to splurging beyond the basic needs for home and baby. Those fancy shoes represented an unspoken dignity I aspired towards, reaching beyond a hand-to-mouth existence.

The visioning instructions I was following then had called for no boundaries, no limits, no censoring of stupid ideas – clearing the way to tap the inner spirit of possibility. “Just imagine the life you love!” it had offered, then write it down.

The paper went on to describe my fabulous family, career, spiritual, and financial situation. And then, it finished with – get this – a two week vacation in Europe. A wave of goose bumps washed up and down my arms. I had just returned from my first-ever two week family vacation to Europe, a trip we had planned for years.

Honestly, at the time it all seemed outrageous – even the thought of writing it down was laughably ridiculous.  But here it is, twenty-plus years later, and the paper in my hand mysteriously described many aspects of my current life with surprising accuracy, right down to the library in my home office, “…because we are always reading a tremendous variety of books.” 

I have made it a habit to write goals for myself each and every year in a prayer journal (one that I keep better track of). Looking back, it is uncanny how the very act of writing down a goal, complemented with prayer, could soon manifest itself in one form or another in real life. Almost as if the very act of writing had willed a future into existence.

I don’t know exactly how the Holy Spirit arranges our future destinies, whether it involves direct intervention, or quantum physics, or if He pretty much leave us to our own devices while lending a helping hand every now and then. What I do know is that, somehow, we must participate in it.

So then, it is ironic that we often don’t even know what we want. We wouldn’t dare go to the trouble of defining a better future for ourselves, because it feels preposterous, or presumptuous. But God Himself decided long ago to make us in His image, which includes this strange ability to dream, to create, to envision a future, distinct from the present, not defined by our past. Our life is meant to be lived forward – intentionally, with direction.

Not everything turned out exactly as I had imagined, of course. My naivite and innocence could not possibly have anticipated the heartache and challenges that would come as well. But having a defined image of my potential future, however distant and preposterous, played a part in bringing it all together for good.

And now, here it is, Spring of 2015, and, yes, I do own a great pair of shoes. Several, actually. I really should start thinking about 2025.

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