My dream life would be Justin Bieber’s life. A million fans, and a ton of money. Lots of fame. Okay, not sure I would be willing to take his problems if that is what it took to get his fame and money. But you get the picture. Dreams like that are pure fantasy. They don’t take into account the reality of what is.
Living the best life requires dreaming, but it takes reality into account. When we encourage people to dream, we must also be careful that we don’t lose touch with reality. I have mentioned these different kinds of dreams before:
Day Dreams – Fantasies really. They are dreams that go wild and lose touch with reality. The kind where you dream of being Justin Bieber even though you can’t carry a tune, or dream of being Michael Jordan but are only five feet tall.
Pipe Dreams – Unrealistic dreams that you actually chase after. Often other people’s dreams for you, that deny your giftings and unique abilities. But they can also be inspired by your own unrealistic expectations or misplaced values.
Visionary Dreams – The dreams that create the imagery of what is possible in your future. Like the dreams you have of your house before you build it. And the dreams of what your life could be before you build your action strategy. These are the dreams required in living your best life.
Everybody that is not engaged in visionary dreaming is just coasting through life by default. They are not going to actively work at creating their future on purpose.
But even when we are dreaming visionary dreams that are meant to shape our future intentionally, we often ignore the limits life has set each of us up with. I know, we don’t like to talk about limits. They just aren’t that romantic.
But they are real. And if we are going to live our best life, we will acknowledge the challenges and limits life has handed to us. Sometimes acknowledging them will allow us to overcome them. And sometimes it will protect us from rushing headlong into failure.
But the limits are real. You either acknowledge them and find a way to overcome them, or you acknowledge them, and allow them to alter your course. But believe me when I say that your limits and personal challenges need to be built into your dreams, either as obstacles to be strategically overcome, or as limits that help you determine a different course of action.
Your best life is a real life lived intentionally. Your best life is a life driven by purpose and a drive to love and serve others well. Your best life is about overcoming obstacles. Your best life is about being you. And you includes your limits. It includes your weaknesses. It includes all of you.
Your best life redeems your brokenness and weakness. And overcomes your obstacles. You will go farther when you acknowledge your limits, then you will go denying them. Denying them will crash you into walls of failure over and over again.
So it is time for a mental reframe. Just like art is creating something of beauty and inspiration out of what you have, so the best life is created with what life has handed to you. The story you write includes the good, bad and ugly. It is in overcoming your own personal obstacles, or in building something in spite of acknowledged weakness that your best life comes to be.
Your best life is today. It is living with the mindset that greatness is determined by how I respond to my present circumstances. That is the challenge.
Living the best life is about building the kind of character that sees problems and challenges as opportunities; that learns to be grateful today. It is about having the kind of character that gives before you have enough, and dreams visionary dreams of faith and lets that faith motivate them to action.