I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
Martin Luther King started his world-famous-civilization-shattering speech with these words.
I HAVE A DREAM!
His dream changed the face of the United States, because he stuck to it. He even died for it. Especially, he believed in it.
To often dreamers are afraid of their dreams. They think of them more as fantasies than dreams. So they plod through life with their dreams nagging them, but never doing anything about them. If King had done that, we would still have “apartheid” in the southern United States.
Dreamers often are creators. They want to invent something new. Or they want to create something beautiful. Or they want to create something meaningful. It might be a better way to heat a house. It might be beautiful painting. It might be a penetrating book. Whatever it is, it won’t go away.
I’m not an inventor or a painter. I do write books, and I keep thinking of books that should be written. I dream of writing a book, or books that will move the hearts of thousands. And maybe even support me in my old age, though that isn’t as important. So what holds me back?
- I’m not sure of my ability to do it.
- I’m afraid that some of the important people in my life won’t understand my dream.
- I can’t afford it to take the time I need.
- I might fail if I try it.
- If you press me, I can probably think of some more but maybe that gives you an idea.
So I am allowing four things — four fairly small things — keep me from trying to pursue my dreams. I wonder what King’s list would have looked like?
- People would hate him.
- They might put him in prison.
- They might even shoot him.
- History would label his as a civilization destroying rabble rouser
That sounds like a much more intimidating list than mine. The first three even came true. But in the end, they were an important part of fulfilling his dream. So maybe I should rethink my stumbling blocks.
The one big stumbling block that stops many of us from fulfilling our dreams is the fear of failure. I know all about that one. I’m not a very confident person. But which is worse? failing to succeed, or failing to try? I suppose failing to try is safer, but will you really be able to live with yourself if you do? Failures make us grow, because at least we tried. But regularly failing to even try will turn our backbones to jelly.
I started this post with the last verse of Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken. This has long been one of my favorite poems, because it so clearly pictures the dillemma of the creative person. Sometimes in life you come to forks in the road and you are faced with the poet’s question.
Will I take the popular road? Or the one less travelled by?
If we make a habit of simply mixing with the crowd and taking the popular road, we will plod through life with little effect on the world around us. We will be safe–maybe–but not really useful. I believe that God has placed our dreams within us for a reason. He has a road picked out for us and has given us the gifts we need to travel that road. By taking the broad road, we might be disappointing not only ourselves but God as well.
So take another look at your dreams. Run them past God, and some close friends. Make your list of reasons for NOT traveling the narrow road, then over power them one by one. Most of them are caused by fear, and God said that He is not the author of fear. So you know where fear comes from.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Mat 7:13-14)