Read an Excerpt
The Dream Giver for Teens
By Jessica Wilkinson Bruce Wilkinson
Multnomah Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2004 Exponential, Inc.
All right reserved.
Prefacethere must be more than this
"Welcome to Dreamland's magic carpet ride! Please climb aboard your personal flying carpet. Try to ignore the talking parrot, begin rubbing the old lamp located in the right corner of the seat pocket in front of you, and hold on tight! Your very own large blue genie, with a voice much like Robin Williams, will be with you in just a moment with the answers to all your questions as well as the ability to let you see into your future and reshape it to create the life of your dreams. But before you do, I must warn you that when dreams come true, your life will never ever be the same ... but then again, that's the point of dreams, isn't it? We hope you have a pleasant experience and enjoy your stay with us!"
What would you do if that situation could take place in real life and not only in your imagination? What would you do if you had the ability to see what God wanted your life to look like, or if you could look at your dreams through eyes of understanding and not of confusion? Would things be different? If you understood your heart a little more, do you think your life would have more meaning and less frustration? Do you think your life would look a lot different than it does now? Would you be willing tofollow your heart more and let it take you out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary? What would you do if I told you that it doesn't take a magic flying carpet to get you there? A life full of meaning and dreams begins just inside of you, actually-a little to the left, in what we call the heart. Interested? There may not be any talking parrots, but there will be excitement, passion, and contentment, and if you look hard enough, you just may find that life that God created you to live. Keep on reading and hold on tight. The ride is only just beginning!
I'm almost entirely convinced that every single person in the world believed that they were invincible when they were a kid. In fact, I don't think I've ever met a little kid who didn't believe that wholeheartedly. Boys make their belief in it a bit more obvious by trying to fly off couches and tables, but deep down we all thought we were secret superheroes with the ability to change the world without getting hurt. Worst-case scenario was that we might need a Band-Aid after we saved the world.
But then the day comes when we wake up, and out of nowhere something known as reality hits us. And it hits us hard! We discover that we aren't invincible, that we aren't actually superheroes, and that worst of all, we can't even really fly! Our eyes are suddenly opened to the fact that, whether we like it or not, we don't live in a world of fairy godmothers and things aren't fixed with a wand and a magic saying. In our world, most people don't even live "happily ever after"-they just live. Every day we do the same things, over and over and over again. We are taught to forget about fantasies of wild adventures and thoughts of saving the world, and instead begin studying stuff like how many animals are left in a field when all the sheep are taken away from the cows. We forsake our dreams and learn to live without the one thing that used to be our very life.
But what if I told you that it's not supposed to be this way? What if I told you that life isn't meant to be lived apart from dreams, but for them? What if I told you that your dream of saving a little bit of the world just may be what's supposed to come true, and even though you won't be someone's hero by flying across the sky, you just may be their hero by using what God put inside of you-if you find it, that is.
I used to think that living a dream was only for special people who had done something right and had somehow captured the glance of God. My theory then changed, and I began to believe that dreams were nothing more than a feeble attempt to escape reality for a while-that in order to keep going, we tell ourselves the lie that someday life will be better and we will be happier. But we don't usually do anything with our dreams except think about them, and so they don't change anything. I became certain that dreams come true only in Disney movies.
I always thought it was kind of odd how animated movies always ended at the perfect moment when the heroine's dreams finally came true. Not that any kid would want a movie to end with the heroes getting eaten by monsters, but Disney movies always seemed to end before "real life" began. Cinderella ended when she rescued the prince from a life of bachelorhood and drove off with him in a white carriage. Snow White awakened to a handsome prince kissing her, and that was where the movie stopped. No one ever told us what happened when Cinderella woke up the next morning to discover that Prince Charming had the worst morning breath imaginable. No one told us that Snow White snored when she wasn't in a coma. What happens then? Does finding your dreams mean that you will be happy forever, or just for a little while?
Like so many people in this world, I began to doubt that dreams could ever come true. And you know what? I was right. Perfect fairy-tale dreams don't come true, just as mice don't turn into horses and carry a princess in a carriage that was once a pumpkin. Fairy-tale dreams don't come true because we don't live in a world of magic. But real dreams can come true-if you listen to your heart long enough to hear the dream and pursue it.
A sad thing happens to most of us as we grow up: We start ignoring our heart when it speaks to us of our dreams. We use the distractions of life to muffle the voice of our heart, telling ourselves that we shouldn't hope for something that has no way of ever coming true. Pretty soon our dreams are locked away and then the worst thing of all happens-our heart stops talking to us. We look in the mirror one day and realize that we are almost adults and we still have no idea what we want to be when we "grow up." We're baffled by the question that we could answer when we were five! Maybe becoming a superhero isn't too realistic, but at least we had an answer. We've changed too much from that little kid who bounced around the room in a Spider-Man costume, and somehow along the way, we have forsaken the deepest part of who we are.
But as long as you're still alive, chances are pretty good that your heart is still beating. As long as you have that, you still have hope and you can still reach for your dreams. And reaching those dreams was exactly what you were created to do.
After God created the heavens and the earth, the Bible says He created humans, male and female, "in His image." Though both male and female were made in His image, He made them different. (Just thought I'd point that out in case you hadn't noticed yet!) Guys display the authority and strength of God, while girls display His purity and gentleness. Every single person God has made since the beginning of time has displayed a slightly different picture of Him-different from all the millions of people before and all the people not yet born. No speck of gold in a person's brown eyes is the same as in someone else's. But God didn't stop at outward appearances. He kept going.
Within each of us He formed a heart different from every other. Inside that heart He placed a beautifully and intricately shaped dream that would make that person's heart beat. No two hearts hold the same dream, and each heart beats to the unique rhythm of the dream inside it. What can impassion one heart can leave another entirely unaffected. And it's supposed to be like that. Your dream is given to you to drive you toward the life you were created to love. No two people have the same dream, because no two people were created to live the same life. If you never go looking for your dream, you may find yourself just watching people who are chasing theirs. You may even try and chase their dream for a while, somehow trying to make it your own. But it won't fit inside your heart, because whether you know it or not, your own dream is already in there.
I remember when I first played the Xbox game Halo. That was one of the first times I really knew what it felt like to have no idea where I was going or what I was doing. I would somehow end up in small confined spaces while carrying a big grenade launcher. So every time I shot at the bad guy I ended up killing myself instead. It was pathetic! I had no clue what my mission was or what the whole of the landscape looked like, so I just ran around in circles the entire time, hoping that the people I was playing with wouldn't notice. And hoping that the best friend I was teamed up with wouldn't decide to get a new best friend because I was so horrible. The game would have been so much easier if I had known what I was supposed to do, how to do it, and where I was supposed to go.
Sometimes life feels like that-like we are randomly running around with no idea what we're doing or where we're supposed to go. We wake up some mornings wondering what exactly we are living for, and fall asleep many nights silently thinking, There must be more to life than this.
And there is. It's called your dream. It's that longing within your heart that is meant to help you find your way in life. This book was written to help you find that dream and pursue it so that life won't be anything like my completely frustrating Halo experience.
You may be a little skeptical right now. You're probably thinking that the idea that everyone has a dream seems a little too idealistic. I thought that for a while, too. Everyone does. The tragic thing is when people never stop thinking it.
I promise that if you keep reading, I will try my best to show you that every heart holds a dream inside. This book isn't going to be a bunch of "what ifs." But it is intended to explain the why, how, and what. It will explain why God placed a dream in your heart, how you find your dream, and what to expect along the path as you try to reach it. Because whether you know your dream, have forgotten it, forsaken it, ignored it, lost faith in it, or tried to kill and bury it, it's still there. Even if you don't know what it looks like, it's still there.
Let me give you a quick outline of the book so you know what to expect. In the first few pages, there's a short story about a bug that will give you the big picture of the journey that most dreamers and their dreams go through. The seven chapters that follow the story will take a deeper look at each of the seven stages on the way to your dream. We'll take a look at:
1. How to discover your dream and why it's so important to follow it.
2. Why dreams take us out of our places of comfort and safety and drive us into the unknown.
3. What to do when your dream meets opposition from the people around you.
4. How a time of testing and struggle fits into God's plan for your dream.
5. Why it's important to grow more in the One who gave you the dream, and how surrendering your dream to Him can affect the final outcome.
6. The true purpose of obstacles in your path and how to overcome them.
7. How to reach your full potential, achieve your dream, and live out the life you were created by God to adore.
This book isn't going to give you some magical formula that will make your fairy-tale dreams come true. I can't turn pumpkins into carriages and wake people out of comas by kissing them. (And I'm pretty sure that you can't either!) But I can tell you what God's heart intended when He placed our dreams inside us, and how they are meant to fit into our lives. I can help you get back a part of that little wannabe superhero that was never meant to be lost. I can help you find that heart of wild dreams you thought you had lost long ago. Your dream can become a reality. It can lead you to places you wouldn't have dared to hope for. It can lead you to the life you've always longed to live. And maybe, just maybe, in that life your dream takes you to, you will find your own "happily ever after."
Excerpted from The Dream Giver for Teens by Jessica Wilkinson Bruce Wilkinson Copyright © 2004 by Exponential, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
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