I used to believe the moment my dreams came true, life would switch into a special filter. I could see the footage play in my mind, complete with a soundtrack and appropriately-timed slow motion. My own personal Chariots of Fire beach scene. 

My dream sequence [Click for photo credit]
My dream sequence [Click for photo credit]
But I was only setting myself up for a giant letdown.

It turns out, dreams don’t happen on pretty film. They happen in rugged real life. 

Maybe the realization of your dream will impact you and the world in a cosmic way. For the better. On behalf of the rest of us, I certainly hope so. But that picture in your mind of the dream “coming true”, the moment you know you can stop pinching yourself, yea, that’s just a moment in time. It’s a split-second snapshot. And real life is waiting all around you. 

A few years ago, my friend, another aspiring author, shared her dream with me about moving to Portland. She pictured herself cozy in a window seat, staring out into the rainy fog. A cup of coffee sat perched near her while she easily, dreamily wrote her book. 

I could relate to that moment, and I’d had a similar one myself. But instead of heartwarming encouragement, something else came out of my mouth. I told her that was just a picture of her life at that time, but what she couldn’t see was the real life all around her, the rent she was late on or the fact that maybe, her car wouldn’t start that morning. 

It’s not that her dream was bad, or she should abandon it, but a dream realized is rarely the moment in which our problems cease. We are not whisked from real life from that point forward. But we expect to be, and this leads to devastating disappointment for most of us.   

What’s the powerful image that’s captured your imagination, your dream? Maybe it’s the ground-breaking ceremony for a new orphanage or the moment you get your credit card statement containing only zeroes in the balance. Maybe it’s cuddling your newborn for the first time after years of infertility. It might be hoisting the trophy above your head after winning the state championship or after hundreds of publisher rejections, finally seeing your name in print on a book. 

You can see, taste, smell, feel the moments, can’t you? The emotion is all there. It’s a climactic moment of your life, as author Donald Miller refers to it in his book, Storyline, a pinnacle in your story. You should absolutely aspire to it. 

But the dream moment is not an end in itself. If you stay alive after it happens, and I hope you do, the dream is only part of the story, one of many climactic moments in a series. 

Donald Miller described his first year after being a published author as one of the most depressing in his life. He didn’t know what to do after one of his life’s greatest dreams struck reality. He knew his dream, but he didn’t know his calling. What made him come alive.

That’s the problem – most of us don’t.

After we break ground on a dream, we don’t have new dreams to pursue because we don’t know our callings. We don’t know why we are here. We live for the big moments and when they pass, we discover we’ve never known why we exist. 

It turns out, right after the biggest moment of our lives, after the ribbon-cutting at the new building or tucking in our long-awaited baby, we will still need to clean the dishes, pay the gas and electric and show up for work. 

Dreams don’t make us super-human or fulfill our deepest longings in the way we hope they will. Published authors and Super Bowl winners all need to wake up and brush their teeth. Because after the climax, comes the normal, the mundane. And in these times, those who know their calling will relish the win while knowing there is more to them than one, spectacular moment – because they know who they are. But for those who confuse a dream with a calling, they’re in for a letdown.

Do you know your calling, your “What Makes Me Come Alive” statement? Do you know why you get up every day in between the climactic moments?  If not, or you’re not sure, I want to help you figure it out. I’m finishing a short, interactive eBook, Called To Come Alive, to help you discover and define your personal calling, and I will release it for FREE to subscribers in the next two weeks. I’m so excited about this book because it’s short but powerful, and I believe it will help you be able to clearly identify what makes you come alive in your every day life.

Click here for your FREE eBook
Click here for your FREE eBook

{If you’re already a subscriber, don’t change a thing. I will send you a link for Called To Come Alive as soon as it goes out. If you’re not a subscriber yet, click here to subscribe, and today I will send you my free inspirational eBook, My Birthright For Soup, as well as Called To Come Alive as soon as it comes out. Thank you for reading!}