Hope is most vital to grasp when we are feeling most hopeless. A little less than two years ago, in the throes of grief, I read a small passage in Dr. James Flamming’s book, Healing the Heartbreak of Grief, in which he wrote about finding our way forward in the midst of grief. He suggested developing our “Future Fifteen,” a list of fifteen things that we dream about for our future. The idea captured me. Since I was approaching 60 years old, I recast the idea as “Dreaming 60.” The more I thought about it, the more I realized we all need dreams to aspire to. We all need a vision of what we hope life will become. Those kinds of dreams, when clearly defined, draw us in their direction. Using Dr. Flamming’s concept, I developed my Dreaming 70, my dreams of what I hoped for when I turned 70.
An interesting thing happened. After developing my list of dreams, I was speaking with a friend and telling him about the idea. I told him that one of my dreams when I turned 70, was to be able to look back and remember a great golf trip to Scotland. He paused and said, “let’s do it!” I agreed and said we should definitely do that one of these years. He stopped and said, “No. Let’s do it now! This year!” And so, this past August, three close friends and I had a spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime trip to Scotland. In truth, if I had not clearly identified what my dream was, it would have never come up in conversation, and consequently, never happened. Clearly identified dreams lure us to them.
Andy Stanley, a pastor, and phenomenal communicator suggested that life planning is simple. It involves 3 steps. First, take inventory. Last week, I wrote about questions that can help us take inventory of where we stand right now in our lives. Click here for the blog in case you missed it. Step two is clearly define where you want to be and who you want to become. This is what Dreaming 60 is about.
The idea behind Dreaming 60 is straightforward. Develop a list of your dreams of what you would like your life to look like when you turn 60 years old (or some age far into the future). These are not goals, they are dreams. There will come a point when you choose to make concrete steps toward your dreams. At that point, what started out as a dream becomes a set of goals, moving toward a reality.
You may not see any immediate path to make your dream possible. Don’t worry about that. You may not even be in control of making your dream a reality. Don’t worry about that either. Dream without restraint. Dream freely and boldly. Even offer your dreams as a prayer to God. Dreams fill us with hope and pull us toward them while lifting our spirit in the present.
What are your dreams? Dare to write them down. Even if life has beat you up, allow hope to carry you upward.
PS – Next week we will be exploring Step three, which is determining the best path to get from point A (our Inventory) to point B (our Dreams).