An important part of creating a compelling future has to do with remembering.  That’s why lately I’ve been visiting some museums on a fairly regular basis. 

I’m not referring to anything with the words, “Smithsonian,” “Historical,” or “National” in it.  The museums I’m talking about are in my head, some really old computer files, and my journals.

Lately I’ve been visiting the Dream Museum.  I suggest you do the same.

The idea for this little excursion was planted in my heart last August at a men’s retreat, where my friend Mickey asked a compelling question:

What dreams have you had either stolen or detained, to the point you have given up on them?  Maybe the Lord is telling you to pick that dream back up again.

That really registered with me.  “Electrified” may be a better term.

(Pause.  Are you entering your dream museum yet?  Visiting what’s in mine may help me, but it won’t do much for you.  So let me ask you what Mickey asked all of us:  What dreams have YOU had that were either stolen or detained, to the point you have given up on them?)

I didn’t have an immediate answer to the question, other than some unfulfilled physical dreams that I believe were prophetic.  But I couldn’t get over the gut feeling that some long-ago dream had been shelved to the point that I had forgotten about it, but the Lord hadn’t.  I had no clue what it could be, and spent a fair amount of time trying to remember old dreams that have gone by the wayside.

After some life (and death) interruptions, I’ve decided to resume the search.  I bought an unlimited pass to my Dream Museum.

(Your turn.  Dig out those old journals, or goal sheets, or memories.  The more you have in writing, the better.  If you’re just not a writer, find some old photos or old every-day objects that can help trigger your dream-memory.

Retro Future

Have you ever noticed that Yogi Berra’s classic line really is true?  The future ain’t what it used to be.  Take a look:

You’ll find the same thing in your Dream Museum.  Like a scene from an old Jetson’s cartoon, a lot of our old dreams look, well, old.  Quaint.  Almost silly.  But if you’re like me, you’ll discover some other things as well.

1.  Many of your dreams have actually been fulfilled.

In reviewing my now-16-year-old lists of 100 Things I’d Like to Be/Do/Have,  I was intrigued to discover that many of the dreams or wishes had actually happened since the last time I’d reviewed it, (which was more than five years ago).  That includes the one dream I had absolutely no control over, which was to be a grandfather (my oldest grandchild just turned two yesterday).

(Your turn.  Maybe it’s time to recognize and celebrate the fact that many of your most cherished desires or dreams have actually been fulfilled.)

2.  Some of our dreams are contradictory.

That’ll create some tension.  Or the need to reorder my life.

One of the things I used to give myself permission to do is to dream without analyzing or evaluating.  That comes later.  But when that happens, contradictions are inevitable.  Returning to see some ridiculously contradictory dreams (I think I listed about 10 different educational degrees) was a reminder – not that I need to be more logical with my dreams\ – just more aware and honest.  Even in my frustrations and disappointments, images and passions of the heart sometimes collide with each other, and that’s okay.

(Okay, nobody’s looking and nobody’s judging.  Take a few of your crazy-contradictory dreams out and hold them in your mind at the same time.  Don’t try to figure them out, write them off, or even reconcile them.  Just observe.)

3.  Some dreams are valid, but await another time.

Yeah, there’s that dirty word, wait.  But it’s important to remember that delays are not always denials.  Habakkuk, an Old Testament Prophet, learned this.

Write the vision;

make it plain on tablets,

so he may run who reads it.

 For still the vision awaits its appointed time;

it hastens to the end—it will not lie.

If it seems slow, wait for it;

 it will surely come; it will not delay (Habakkuk 2:2-3, ESV).

Your unfulfilled dreams may simply be missing the appointed time.

4.  Some dreams are valid, but await another person.

Israel’s King David learned this when it came to building the Temple.  God’s reply:  Good idea, but you’re not the guy.  Many items in the Dream Museum may originate with you, but be fulfilled in your children.  Or grandchildren.  Or (ouch) competitors. Or (big ouch) someone you really don’t like.

5.  Some dreams were stepping stones to a greater destiny.

Often we approach our life dreams as ends in themselves, and there is a place for that.  But sometimes we see the fulfillment of a dream and wake up to discover that it didn’t provide the satisfaction we thought it would.

Maybe that’s because that dream was part of a larger picture.  And it takes arriving at this place before you can see the next peak.

(Your turn again.  Have you ever had a desire met and ask yourself, “Is that all there is?”  Go back and look again.  Maybe in God’s economy, He took you there, not to satisfy you completely, but to enlarge your dreams to new places and greater possibilities.)

6.  Some dreams have passed you by or are irrelevant.

I had a dream to pay cash for my children’s education.  Didn’t happen.  (I’m sure they’d be thrilled if I paid their loans.  That ain’t gonna happen, either.)  I regret that.  But I’ve also moved on.  And hopefully in the moving, I can learn some things in the process.  Sometimes disappointments really do have greater life and lesson value than dreams-come-true.

(Tap. Tap. Tap.  Hey, it’s me again.  Is it time you had a funeral or two for some of your irrelevant dreams?  It’s okay.  You may have limited time or money or talent, but nobody puts you on a dream budget but you.  If you missed it, kiss it good-bye and move on to other dreams.)

7.  Some dreams have been sealed in a tomb – and God is about to roll that stone away.

That’s where this little exercise began.  I am learning not to call “dead” what Jesus calls “asleep.”  So I’m looking at the different visions and version of ministry I once had.  I’m looking at the impact dreams.  The books to be written.  The places and opportunities for impact.  The relationships yet to be.

How about you?  Could I nag you just one more time?  What have you pronounced dead?  Where have you accepted disappointment as the final word?  What dreams have you had either stolen or detained, to the point you have given up on them?  Maybe the Lord is telling you to pick that dream back up again.

No one knows the risks of that more than I do.  The risks of disappointment, embarrassment, even failure are daunting, if not crippling.  Risk anyway.  Otherwise, you really are dead before you die.

(Here’s another retro-future video with some nice dreaming music for you to get started in your own Dream Museum.)

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