When I was a kid, I dreamed of being the next Michael Jordan to enter the NBA. Yes, I know…I dreamed about being the next Ken Griffey, Jr. in baseball, as well…And a rock star…And a movie star…It’s safe to say that I had high hopes for how things were going to turn out.
I played basketball and baseball in high school, hoping to keep the dream alive. During my senior year, I remember asking a former NBA player (also the father of a teammate) if he thought I had potential to play college ball. Of course, in my head, I was thinking D-I college ball. REAL college ball. You know, the kind of college ball that gets your drafted into the NBA to become the next Michael Jordan. That kind of ball. His answer cut to my heart when he said, “Well, I think you’re good enough to make a D-II school, but I don’t think you’re good enough to play D-I.”
“What?!?! You don’t think I’m good enough to play D-I?!?! I’m Andrew Voigt!!! THE. NEXT. MICHAEL. JORDAN.” (Of course, this was the voice inside, not the one that was respectful and kind in return to his honest answer).
I later went on to join the Queens University men’s basketball team as a redshirt freshman. It was D-II. A year and a half later, I left Queens for Liberty and never played college ball again.
The moral of this story? Don’t listen to your teammate’s father about what level ball you can play in college…No, no…That’s not it; that’s simply what’s going through my head as I type this.
The reality is, we all long to be special, to make a difference, and to change the world in one way or another. We think of icons such as Billy Graham; Mother Teresa; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Michael Jordan; Amelia Earhart; Elvis; and others from the past two centuries who have made a lasting impact. We want to be like them. In fact, we often want to BE them.
As we grow older, we start to look for what is safe and easy, rather than the road we were longing to run as a child. We trade dreams for a 401k and a passionate heart for security, believing that the real world is simply about survival of the fittest, not living life wide awake.
Will we fail at many dreams in our lives? Yes. And yet, should we continue to dream? Absolutely.
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” – Helen Keller
I want to walk on air, not on a path that’s already been paved by someone else. The beauty of walking on air is that the path is invisible. The scary part of walking on air is that it’s invisible. Walking by faith is just that: one step at a time, not knowing what will come next, but trusting God with each step.
As far as I’m concerned, failing at a dream is always better than never trying. Failing at becoming a paid actor taught me much more about life than sitting behind a desk, saving up for retirement.
Let’s get to the crux of this conversation: You were created with unique DNA and a unique spirit, all within a unique time in human history. Is it not possible that you were created with skills, dreams, and passions unique to you, as well? Are we not here by design, or is this some random hodgepodge stew cooked up by a universe devoid of God?
I believe that we are here by design, placed within time by the Great Designer. Within that perspective, dreams cannot be simply cast to the side, regarded as childhood toys to be forgotten. Dreams must be embraced as starting points for the journey we call life.
What if Paul the Apostle lived for security, not to share the Gospel with the Gentiles? What if the prophet Jeremiah disobeyed God and went along with the culture of his day, rather than alienate himself by sharing the difficult words of God to obstinate people? What if Master Splinter didn’t teach a group of teenage mutant turtles how to become ninjas, eventually saving New York and teaching kids the essential value of pizza??? Now THAT one makes me REALLY question everything!
We were created to walk on air, full of faith in the invisible God, rather than a path of security. God has a unique journey for you, filled with failure, success, and uncertainty.
Keep dreaming. It’s in our spiritual DNA.