The question you never ask but should

Let’s say you have some ideas, some dreams, some plans.

Maybe for a career change. Or starting a business or ministry. Or a book idea. Or marriage. Or selling the house and taking the kids out of school and buying a boat and sailing around the world for two years.

And of course you have some doubts. You’re not sure it can happen or that it will work. You keep counting the cost. You don’t want to fail. It’s easy to picture all the details of failure and pain.

You make plans to account for failure, to give yourself the best chance of success. But no matter how well or long you plan, you know there’s no guarantee.

You hesitate because you don’t know if it will be worth it. And maybe you hesitate a bit because you feel failure will be the end of your dream. You think that dreaming with hope is better than failure and no hope.

But in all your preoccupation with risk and failure, you never ask

What if it works?


How great would that be?

What if it works BETTER than you’ve imagined? Would that be worth it?

How can you find out?

Are you hiding from your dream?

You know dreams and big plans are scary.

Would you think they’d be scary to little kids? Not yours to them; their own dreams. What kind of dreams and goals could a kid have that would scare them?

Doesn’t matter what kind. They’re all scary.

Last weekend with the grandkids we watched the first few days of the Olympics and athletes reaching their dream.

We watched the movie “Being Elmo” about the guy who dreamed of working with Jim Henson and who then became Elmo. We watched “Cool Runnings” about the Jamaican bobsled team’s dreams. We viewed the “Caine’s Arcade” video about the nine-year old boy who dreamed of his own arcade and then created one from cardboard boxes in his dad’s auto parts store.

Now it was the kids’ turn.

I gave the six of them a fun worksheet. In huge bold letters at the top of the worksheet were the words “My Big Dream.” Under that it said, “One day I will ____” with a blank for them to finish the sentence.

I reminded them of the stories we’d seen over several days. I told them their dream could be something they do or accomplish or make or become. Whatever they felt or heard inside them.

The worksheet asked a few simple questions about their dream, what it is, how it would help people, and it had a place to draw a picture of what it would be like when their big dream happened. I just wanted them to realize they could think big. I was lighthearted about it.

It scared them all

One wouldn’t do it. The five others tried to hide what they were writing. Then when they did write they turned their papers over and didn’t want to talk about it. The twelve year old folded his worksheet in thirds and sealed it in an envelope and stashed it away. NO WAY would he share what it was about.

You’d think you’d naturally embrace change and dreams and hope.


Fear of dreams starts young and it doesn’t go away. The kid afraid of criticism, rejection, failure, and being told “you can’t do that!” turns into the grownup afraid of the same thing.

Hiding your dream from others is understandable.

But you can hide it from yourself too. Do that and you’ll spend the rest of your life with your fingers in your ears so you don’t hear that thing calling your name.

It takes courage to listen. No matter how old you are.