What are dreams made of?
The citadel was made of crystal and glass, set in a majestic array of pillars and monuments with statues of lions and unicorns. Tonight, I was captain of the warrior soldiers- an elite fighting force, who guarded the palace, north of the emerald gate. I sat for about an hour in the mess hall where the King’s men feasted on roasted chicken and warm bread, fresh from the palace ovens. We, captains, were treated to a portion of the King’s venison everyday. We fought, lived and died for our king.
The warmth of the fire gently caressed me as if nudging me to sleep amidst the noisy banter and music from the bards but somehow I began to sense an ill feeling within me. It was like a slight pinch but it was enough to get my attention. I quietly rose and stepped outside the door, away from the reveling, one hand to my head trying to manage the ache I was beginning to feel in my head- I had been having too much fun.
I began to feel uneasy again. The corridor to the king’s room was empty. Where were the guards? Well, mostly everyone was feasting tonight but I could not shake the feeling off. With one hand to my side gently touching the cold steel of the head of my sword, I strode forward and then broke into a run. Something was horribly wrong.
The imposing door of the king’s room stood before me suddenly and two men stood in front of it, swords drawn. I knew they were not the king’s men. They were clad in the breeches of a strange nation and their swords had jagged edges. I looked into their eyes and saw empty, soulless beads peering back at me. Death had brought his aides and somehow I had been summoned to battle by an inner conscience.
I ran forward without fear or intimidation, my breath hot and my armor clanging. Head strong, valiant, hero and captain of warriors, I deftly brought out my blade at the split second of contact and swung my sword. Steel met flesh and a scream erupted from the ghoul. In the next instance, I parried the blow of the second creature careful to avoid its snapping mouth and rabid fangs. The creature leapt at me bringing its second blow but I swung to its right and countered with a deft twist. In a moment, the two fiends lay dead at my feet. I looked up quickly at the door they guarded and fearing the worst, stepped in.
In a bed of beautiful red blood rose petals, perfumed with sweet oil and jars of nectar, the princess lay, her hair folded in golden wisps on both sides of her face. By the bed, on both sides, two ghouls stood watching and drooling as I entered. “Wipe your tears, princess” I said, “I have come to free you.” She nodded but she did not wipe her tears. I had been to foolish to realize that such a night was the one night the warriors should have taken shifts to guard the lives of those we were sworn to protect. Holding my sword in both hands, I waited for the beasts to attack me. I pushed a golden stool towards the first one and leapt up in the air using the frame of the bed to propel myself upwards; midflight, I swung my blade down. One down, one to go.
The other crashed over the stool and struggled to rise but my blade was already at its throat. I did not even look at the result as I turned with a flourish and saw the look of admiration in the eyes of the princess. I stepped forward as she rose up and reached for me. It was more than admiration, it was love, I imagined. I wanted no reward except to marry the princess.
Suddenly, a hand grabbed me from the back and another smothered me. I struggled but it was to no avail. The headache rose again at a feverish pace. I began to feel faint and heavy. I swooned and my world faded away.
At the same instant, I awoke, my mother standing by my bed, her hand firmly waking me from my sleep. It was time for the family morning devotion.
The first time I heard the word ‘Dream’, it was my mother telling me I had just had a bad dream. At those special moments of amazing feats, battle or futuristic visuals, I realized that the word ‘dream’ meant something I experienced when I was asleep. Other times, when I lay down and imagined myself in amazing worlds being a hero, I learnt that those were fantasies. Then there were those interesting ‘dreams’ when some dark fiend was chasing me or spooky scary people trying to grab me, or those nights I woke sweating shouting ‘Jesus!’; nightmares, they call them.
As I grew up, I began to hear statements like: ‘That’s my dream house.’ ‘Stop dreaming, get to work!’ Regardless of the context, I soon realized that dreams mean more than the night cap sensation of walking on top of a cloud back in some high school which felt like the white house. Though those types of dreams carried a lot of symbolism, imagery and were often strange but the dream definition I have come to be closely acquainted with and which I write about in my book, The Valley of Dead Dreams, is the dream related to destiny.
It is interesting that dreams, which point to a state of perfection or an aspiration, relate to the word: destiny. Is it because dreams are like an unseen state of events and maybe even unreal? When you share an idea, sometimes people tell you: Stop dreaming. In other words, your desire is only a dream and thus unachievable or unreal. Confusing, isn’t it?
Dreams and fantasies are totally different. Fantasies relate to the unachievable but dreams, though they often seem like fantasies are achievable… may be not entirely probable to those who cannot see them coming to pass. So let us ask that question again-
What is a dream?
A dream is an end-state of an idea, vision or commission.
That’s why you hear: My dream is to build the fastest speedboat. My dream is to climb the world’s highest mountain.
Dreams are usually tied to achievements thought of as big and great. A dream is definitely not a process or processes. It is where you end up after taking the flight of many steps. Let us not get too technical, however; but a little math will not hurt.
Your dream = a desired achievement (your dream > a task because it is an end-state of multiple tasks achieved over time to bring about the fulfillment of that dream)
The summation of your dreams = your purpose in life
Let me justify the little equation above:
1. Your purpose is pre-determined, pre-designed and pre-assigned by God. Jeremiah 1.5
2. Your dream is achievable and attainable.
3. Your purpose is revealed in big but achievable parts called dreams.
4. Your dream cannot be realized by accident- it requires deliberate effort.
5. A dream is always greater than the dreamer and is for a bigger cause.
6. A dream always outlasts the dreamer.
7. Your purpose is the end-point of your divine assignment; your dreams are the success-points of assignments that make up the fulfillment of your purpose.
What about Ambitions?
It is important to state here that an Ambition is one of the greatest enemies of a Dream. Ambitions refer to self-created ‘dreams’. They focus on the person rather than other people. Enough said.
Tying it together
Vision: refers to an image God gives of a dream or calling to propel, guide and push you forward to your destiny.
Destiny: refers to the end-point of your divine assignment.
Dream: refers to the end-state of an idea, vision or assignment/commission. Take, for instance, the example of Joseph.
In the next edition, I’ll talk about The Character of a Dream and use more examples to drive home the point. This week- do not just dream big, articulate your purpose; highlight your dreams; start small but start! If you do not know your purpose in life (and many people do not), pray! Ask God and like He did for me, He will reveal it to you.
Till the next edition.
The Valley of Dead Dreams