Carola is a Christian writer and author of several books. She writes about Christian living, relationships, and other related topics.
“I am sorry, you did not get a dance scholarship,” my dance teacher said gently.
“Then I quit,” I said vehemently. My teacher was shocked, and her waif-like dancer's body stood back. Her usual grim facial expression changed to concern. It was the first time I had seen a softer side to my instructor.
In my heart, I knew that I was not a good enough dancer to move up to the scholarship level, but I still felt like I had been hit by a truck. I took a last look around the changing room at the ballet school. I started emptying my locker and stuffed shoes, tights, and leotards into my big duffle bag.
"But you can do other forms of dance other than ballet..." My teacher faltered. If looks could kill, my scorching glance would have reduced her to ashes. I walked out of the studio, never to return.
For most of my life, I had dreamed about becoming a dancer. I worked hard in many classes and eventually attended a full-time professional training program. When I felt I was not getting anywhere, I applied for a scholarship long before I was ready for that level. When I was rejected for the next level, I felt that I had run out of options and decided to quit.
On the surface, I carried on with my eighteen-year-old-life. I got a job in a mailroom until I could figure out what to do with my shattered life. Inside, I was lost and heart-broken. My life-long dream of becoming a ballet dancer was gone, and I felt I wasted a year of back-breaking work in the full-time professional ballet training program. For the next year, I was in agonizing emotional pain. I stopped listening to the classical music I loved.
Then I dared to dream again - dreams of being married, a mother, and a writer. The book The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson told me stories that helped me to recognize and overcome obstacles to fulfilling my dreams.
When Dreams Are Crushed
As someone who has had my dreams crushed, I wonder: how do contestants on reality shows like "American Idol" and "America's Got Talent" feel when judges criticize and mock them? Many people seem to go into denial that negative feedback could be true.
Some contestants became angry at the judges for not seeing what they think is their talent. However, their anger does not help them achieve their goals other than getting a chance to appear on TV as a novelty laughingstock celebrity for five minutes of fame.
Sometimes dreams just do not work out. After I grieved my loss of the dream, I lamented the time I spent pursuing dance. Over the years, I realized that even though I did not become a dancer, I had other talents and new dreams to pursue.
God can use even the worst situations for our good, however (Romans 8:28). My dance training was good in many ways. I was physically fit and strong. The increased lung capacity helped me as a singer in various choirs and worship teams. The biggest surprise of all to me was the acceptance of worship dance in the church in recent years, and I finally found myself using all my training and talent to worship God with dance.
When one dream is over, another dream can begin that is more in synch with our passions and talents. After a year of working in an office, I went to college to study journalism and creative communications.
Preparing to Achieve Our Dreams
Sometimes dreams are deferred for years until God’s timing is right. In the meantime, we need to prepare ourselves for various possibilities. God gave us spiritual gifts to serve others for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7).
On a show like "American Idol," it is easy to see the difference between people who dance around their room in their underwear singing to a karaoke machine and people who worked at it. They took singing lessons, put in many nights singing with a band, or took advantage of whatever singing opportunities were available – no matter what the personal cost was involved.
Do The Work That Is Needed
The pursuit of some dreams also takes a lot of training and practice, especially for reality performance shows like "So You Think You Can Dance." For other dreams, God equips us with the basic skills to get the job done, but we still need to be willing to get the training we need and work hard. God asks us to concentrate on good things that are worthy of praise and think about things that are honorable, right, pure, beautiful, and respected (Philippians 4:8).
Everything we do flows from our heart, so we have to guard it against our own selfish motives and desires (Proverbs 4:23). Our motivation should be fulfilling our purpose in life, whatever that may be.
Develop the Necessary Skills
Our dreams need to be in line with talents, our anointing, and the will of God. God promises that if our delight is in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). Dreaming big is fine - God will support dreams that are in line with His will.
We have an obligation to develop our God-given skills. Jesus told a parable about a nobleman who gave his servants some money before he left for a faraway country (Luke 19). When he came back, he rewarded the servants who invested the money and got a profit. One servant wrapped the money in a handkerchief, claiming that he was afraid of losing the money and suffering the consequences, as the master was a hard man. The nobleman condemned him and ordered that the money be taken from the servant.
Like the men in the parable who were given talents, God expects us to use our skills wisely and grow what He has given us. Many dreams require planning, training, self-sacrifice, and hard work.
Listen to Feedback from Reliable Sources
Sometimes friends, family, and ministry leaders recognize our abilities and encourage us to start dreaming. They can also give honest feedback on the feasibility of our dreams. If more "American Idol" contestants sought honest, constructive criticism beforehand, the audition process would be less excruciating for the judges.
The prophet Nehemiah dreamed of rebuilding Jerusalem, which had been destroyed by invaders (see the book of Nehemiah in the Bible). He prayed to God about his plan. He was so downcast about the ruined city, that he looked sad in front of the king when he acted as the king's cupbearer. This was a big no-no. The king only wanted happy campers around him. When the king noticed his sadness, Nehemiah was afraid.
Nehemiah shared his dream with the king, putting his life at risk. Sometimes dreams require us to step way out of our comfort zone and even step into danger. In this case, Nehemiah’s efforts paid off. The king gave Nehemiah the paperwork and support Nehemiah needed to realize his dream. He was able to return to the Holy Land and realize his dream of reconstructing his beloved Jerusalem.
Ignore the Naysayers
There are always going to be people who throw cold water on our dreaming. Nehemiah and other dedicated Israelites started to rebuild the city's walls and refused to be deterred by angry critics who mocked him and put down his efforts. He prayed to God and asked Him to handle the opposition while continuing to get the job done.
In the book A Holy Pursuit, How the Gospel Frees Us to Follow and Lay Down Our Dreams, author Dianne Jago says: "There's one thing we can be sure of in this dream-chasing world: Scripture does provide trustworthy wisdom to help the Christian navigate when to move forward or not." Some dreams require us to hang in there and weather some storms and opposition. Let us persevere and dare to dream.
The Holy Bible, New International Version
© 2013 Carola Finch
Doris H. Dancy from Yorktown, Virginia on July 17, 2014:
I am new to hub pages and was just exploring. I am so glad that I found you. Your thoughts in this hub are so much like my own. I am the praise dance director at my church, and one of the greatest rewards I have gotten is from one of my praise dancers thanking me and saying "thank you for helping me learn to express my praise in a way that I can understand." I also especially enjoyed reading your points under the topic "Doing the Work That is Needed." Thanks for an excellent hub.
Carola Finch (author) from Ontario, Canada on April 04, 2013:
Thanks for sharing.
Pamela-anne from Miller Lake on April 04, 2013:
Great hub sometimes one dream that doesn't work out can lead us to another new dream that can work out. But like most things that are worthwhile they don't always come easy. We must never stop dreaming; we must have faith that our efforts will pay off in some way enlightening are spirits as we go forth. Thanks for sharing voting up and God bless!