(Updated on July 11, 2010)
Today I was distracted by my thoughts for awhile and took a trip to the world of my, “Heart’s Desires.” This is a place where I often dwell, sometimes for only a moment and other times I linger there for longer; never knowing when I’ll have the opportunity to return – or to even someday move to the land of my heart’s desires. For you see, this isn’t just some imaginary place that has no relation to reality – I have had a lot of experience in my life with dreams – and with making my dreams come true. Perhaps it is my unique approach that has allowed many of my dreams to come true; but whatever it is that has helped me to accomplish my dreams - I would like to say “thank you” to everyone that helped me along the way - and to God for allowing my dreams to come true.
So today I thought I’d share with you a little about my approach to dreams and to following your heart’s desires. First of all, the dreams that I dreamed were my very own dreams, that were part of the very fabric of my being that I was very passionate about. The first aspect of following your dreams is that they have to be real and authentic – not borrowed from someone else or just tried on for size. My success is primarily the result of not knowing any better, because I really believed that if I decided that I wanted to accomplish something - I could. No questions asked. I had no idea how I would accomplish my dreams, but I just set out to accomplish them anyway. Anyone else would have said that I was foolish, that it couldn’t be done and I’d fall flat on my face – and plenty of people thought and said exactly that. Remember, it’s your dream and your heart’s desire – and despite the odds and the naysayers, if you really desire to do something - you can accomplish it. I avoided failure for the most part because I didn’t know any better…I just figured it would work out somehow – and it did.
Perhaps a few examples will illustrate my own experience. In Junior High School I decided that I wanted to be a Vet. When I was rejected by the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University years later - I thought that I had failed. Yet close to 20 years after failing to get into Vet School, I suddenly realized that I had indeed become a Vet – a Veteran of the Persian Gulf War. What I hadn’t done during the course of my life was to complete the picture of what success in this case – becoming a Vet – would actually look like. My success in becoming a Vet in this manner was more rewarding for me than getting into Vet School ever could have been.
Another example is that as a teenager I wanted to live a life of adventure. I didn’t know how, where or what…or how I could possibly afford it; but it was my heart’s desire and looking back I’ve had all the adventure and more than I ever dreamed of. Plenty of people thought my adventures were foolish and told me so – but they were my desires – so how could they know? So I just did them. I wanted to bicycle around the country and left with Bruce and a little money and just headed out into the great unknown without a safety net. Almost a year and 8,000 miles later, we had accomplished our adventure and done what we set out to do. I flew to England on an “open return” ticket to bicycle around the U.K. and Europe and just did it – not having a clue how it would turn out. As just a regular guy standing on the sidewalk I wanted to fly the F-4 and threw caution to the wind and joined the Air Force. Not only did I fly the F-4D/E/G but also the F-111E/G and the F-16D. The patch I designed in Nav School said, “To Boldly Go Where No Nav Has Gone Before” – and that’s what I accomplished because I didn’t know that I couldn’t – I just did it bit-by-bit over 20 years. Some dreams take a while to accomplish, and only after chipping away at the edges do you discover – years later – that what you set out to do earlier you actually accomplished. I had forgotten that patch I designed, and it was when I scanned it for the blog that it struck me…what I had designed into that patch – was what I had succeeded in accomplishing.
I wanted to be a songwriter and ended up writing over two hundred copyrighted songs. I accomplished my goal and am very proud of them. It was my goal and I did what I had set out to do – not knowing if I would write a few or many – I just started writing songs. I also wanted to write stories and ended up writing my autobiography. People said, “You’re not famous – how can you have an autobiography at the age of 38?” I wanted to write, and I had something to say – so I just wrote my story. It was my goal and my accomplishment…and I didn’t ask anyone’s permission to do it. It may not be published and for sale in a book store, but now it’s on the internet and anyone, anywhere in the world can read it – for free! At least once I finish posting all of it. I wanted to take photographs and now I’m posting thousands of my own photos on the internet for free. I don’t look to make money off of anything, but only to share my story for anyone that’s interested to read it. The point is that if you have a goal or a desire of your heart – just follow it and enjoy the journey. You don’t have to know or understand how you will accomplish it; but after putting one foot in front of the other for a while you will someday look back over your shoulder and see that you’ve come a long way toward accomplishing your dream. My wife and I had to overcome some significant obstacles to get married, and despite those hurdles we’ve succeeded for the past 24 years…and our son is proof positive that it was the best decision we’ve ever made. We just did it regardless of the problems that lay ahead – for better…or for worse – and succeeded. It was our dream and our goal…and we have lived it and loved it.
The point of it all is that in order to accomplish your dreams and the desires of your heart, you have to have a “childlike heart” and simply not listen to anyone that says you can’t do something. You don’t have to know when or how, but just make the decision and go forward with an innocence and belief that anything is possible; and live life without a safety net. Don’t accept no for an answer and simply attack the same issue from a different angle or a different perspective. Trust in your beliefs and the desires of your heart, and one day you’ll find that your dreams have indeed come true. It may have been through your own efforts, through someone else’s help and assistance – or through God’s Will that it be done – or most likely all of the above.
Here is what God said to Solomon in 2 Chronicles 1 in the New International Version of the Bible (quote used by permission):
“7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
8 Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. 9 Now, LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
11 God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.””
God does know the desires of your heart and He wants to be able to give them to you; but you also have a role to play that is critical to the outcome. You must search your heart and know that your desires are for all the right reasons and all the right purposes. Only then, after you ponder and pray that God would give you the desires of your heart; do you wait and listen for the answer to be given to you. Since they are your heart’s desires – only you can recognize God’s response to your prayers. Then you must act and follow through with faith that God will provide all that you need – and He is the only safety net you require.