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When I was growing up I was a more “in the moment” type of guy. I didn’t necessarily have goals or dreams. I just knew I just wanted to be rich and successful someday, have a pretty wife, well-behaved children etc. You know the usual stuff most people want when they are teenagers. I had no clue how to make any of that happen. My wife, God bless her heart, got me on the right track.

When we started dating back in my 20s, she asked me what some of my dreams were. I told her one was about a T-Rex who couldn’t get a job because he wasn’t able to tie a necktie. She almost broke up with me because she was talking about life goals. So, I made her a mixtape of Boyz II Men songs and it worked-she talked to me again. So, in their honor, I am going to make 3 important references to Boyz II Men before I finish this article.

We all know the usual suspects when it comes to our goals and dreams when they fail. The Hall of Fame answers are drugs, alcohol, friend’s who are bad influences, procrastination, and having no ambition. The one thing I have learned is that for your dreams to be a reality they must align with the will of God.

If you can’t decide on what you want to do, include God in your decisions. Pray to God asking for him to direct your steps.

But what about the things in life that seem very helpful or even beneficial that just end up bursting our dreams from becoming a reality?

How do we successfully deal with those without coming off as spoiled or entitled?

Let’s dive in with 3 things in life that are good, but if God isn’t first, they can derail your dreams if you let them.

Having Kids

In my house, my Netflix account has profiles set up as the “Guy who pays” and for my two kids who are labeled “Parasite 1” and “Parasite 2”. I let the two fight over who is who. Someone out there is probably saying “But…but children are a blessing from the Lord”, and my children are; especially around tax season and “come here and hand me that remote when it’s 5 feet away from me”.

I am sure they are beneficial during other times but those two examples are the most recent memory that I have. Being a parent is so much easier if you are comfortable with bribery and lies.

Children use a tremendous amount of time, resources, and energy. Here’s a typical day after you get off work: (insert activity) practice, dinner, and help kids with their homework which includes the cursed new common core math. Somewhere in there, you should remember you have a spouse/significant other.

By the time you clean up and take a shower, it’s already 11:39 pm and your dream that you were supposed to be working is becoming a literal ‘dream’ because you fell asleep in the closet while you are supposed to be trying on clothes for tomorrow.

Maybe you budgeted for your dream, but when you are ready to launch your dream, you get that unexpected “I’m late” text from your wife. Or perhaps you were the one that sent that text and now the only dream you have is that of dollar signs with wings leaving your bank account.

Expenses now have to go towards clothes, food, tutors, sports, violin, college, a house instead of an apartment, and an SUV instead of a Honda Civic. Kids demand so much. So, how am I supposed to start my dream of owning a coffee shop when the kid need a yard to play in. Cue Boyz II Men singing “It’s so hard to say goodbye” while your dream packs up and leaves.

Don’t worry God has your back. He will send you help (accept it), give you signs (pay attention to them), I still encouragement (embrace it) and resources (use them). He wants your dream to flourish. If your dream aligns with God’s will, He will make a way.

One day your kids will see your dream become a reality, and it will make them better people for witnessing it. And at worst, they will grow up to be professional remote-control retrievers if that ever becomes a career or a professional sport.

Falling in love

Wait, what? I thought love “was a many splendored thing?” It is, but it will make you do some insane things. For example. I don’t understand how God can put forth 10 Commandments for the entire world, but my wife has 172 rules just for our house? It is because she loves me (or so she says)??

When I consistently break about 169 of those rules, I occasionally get the look of what can only be described as “divorce eyes”, but she never actually calls the attorney. This is healthy love.

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But what about when you are on step 4 of your 6-part plan for your dream and your spouse must move five states away because of a job promotion? Or when things get so bad in the marriage that you must spend more time working on your marriage instead of your dream?

You now have to say those magical words “But I love him/her”; Alexa, please play Boyz II Men “It’s so hard to say goodbye” as you watch your dream drive the other way.

A lot of times we love our dream or what our dreams can bring us, so much more than we love God. God is a jealous God. When you start to love someone or something more than Him, it might as well be a second rate sitcom. Whoever or whatever it is, it’s getting canceled.

Learn to love God first, and you will develop a healthy love for everything else in your life.  God must be your first love. Trust me, I have about 87 love songs on my playlist (I once made a mixtape once).

How and who raised you

I am going to tread lightly here before I get angry emails about how I disrespected someone’s mother. My mother called me the other day asking me help fix her computer, and I was so happy about that. Not because I get to help her, but because I was like “well, well, well, if it isn’t Miss ‘get off that computer’, circa 1994-2006.

Imagine if I had just got off the computer as she wanted, and never kept at it; we would be in terrible shape now. The thing is, your grandparents, parents, that crazy uncle, and sophisticated aunt all had a hand in raising you. But the truth they teach you about God will help you the most.

I had an uncle who gave me excellent advice. He once said, “If it’s one thing video games teach us it’s that when you meet enemies that means you are going in the right direction, so do not give up on your dreams”. But he’s the same uncle who calls a chicken tender a “ranch shovel”, so I don’t know.

So, here’s my advice, use what you were taught growing up wisely. That could be the difference between your local newspaper writing an article highlighting how you overcame adversity and achieved your dream, or showing a picture of you sliding down a wall crying, while asking Alexa to play Boyz II Men “It’s so hard to say goodbye”, as your dream rides off into the sunset (that’s three references; you are welcome!).

God puts people in your life to help you (let them), but don’t let them destroy your dreams. Make sure they are helping you and guiding you in the right direction.

These are the three things I have personally let end one dream after another. I wish I didn’t allow it to happen but I did. All three are things people would say are excellent things to have in your life. Which they are, but if used incorrectly, they can become a major detriment.

Make sure your dreams line up with God’s will. Seek his wisdom, and obey his commandments.

God is the real answer you are looking for because one day you will be in a dream and you will see a toilet.

Don’t use it…it’s a trap.

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