I’ve been thinking a lot about dreams today.

Dan and Clarice were social workers in a third world country a few decades ago. They targeted the most disadvantaged sectors of the culture.

Dan would gather the men of the community together and ask them, “If you could have any job you wanted in this nation, what job would you do?”

Invariably they would answer, “Sir, what is it you want us to do?”

He would push back and insist that this was about their dreams and desires, not anything he needed done.

It did not compute. They did not have dreams or desires. There was no software for dreaming of a better future. No port to download the software.

They did not dream. They existed in the shadow of other people’s dreams and desires.

I have always considered that to be the enemy’s finest masterpiece here on earth – to rob an entire community of their ability to dream, and to substitute obedience as the highest good a person could aspire to.

Obedience usually means you are contributing to someone else’s dream, not your own.

The evil convict doing life without parole, who still dreams of winning an appeal or having his sentence commuted is, in some small way, more noble than that dreamless culture.

For the World Cup, 32 teams with a roster of 23 players apiece dreamed of the championship. 713 dreamers, and their managers and support staff will leave with a broken dream.

Oh, add to the 713, hundreds of millions of fans back home with broken dreams. How can Germany and Brazil be eliminated so soon?

I lit a fire in Pamela this week, giving legitimacy and legs to a dream she had secretly dreamed without having permission to admit she was dreaming it. So far, 2,500 people have celebrated her being a dreamer of things that have never been done before – things that God has been waiting for someone to dream – and to do.

I think that might be the basis for God’s statement that David was a man after God’s own heart. When David wanted to build a Temple, God celebrated first of all that He, God, had NEVER said anything about that. David had heard the heart of God and God loved that about him.

Lots of people hear God’s mind and can obey. Dreamers at times hear His heart and bring Him vast pleasure.

I watch people get scammed a lot. Nigeria anyone? The perfect boyfriend – who has a formidable rap sheet? The sure-fire investment deal?

Scammers look for people with a dream. And then break it.

I get tragic emails from people whose faith has been challenged to the core. They had a dream they were sure was from God, and ran hard after it with all that they had. The dream shattered. Their faith wobbled.

I get emails from dreamers who seem to be disconnected from reality. They are toddlers who can’t even ride a tricycle and they are talking about colonizing Mars. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Or maybe I should just shut up, because one out of 1,000,000 of them is actually aware at that age of the call of God on their lives – their dream is legit.

I watch the excruciating cost that dreams bring to dreamers.

Dwight Eisenhower KNEW he was made for war, as a Servant redemptive gift. His mother was a passionate pacifist with deep theological convictions. She became violently ideological about her pacifism when her boys would merely wrestle in the back yard.

Dwight’s dream came to be. He went to West Point and went on to fame as a man of integrity in the military. It cost him deeply in his relationship with his mother to fulfill his dream. There was no middle ground. No way for both to hold to their convictions and walk together with a higher perspective.

It is much harder when the dreamer is married to one who actively wars against the dream – and the dream was of a couple fighting together against all odds to execute a dream from the heart of God.

I thought of my turbulent teens and 20s and 30s when reading was my form of self-medication. In my dismal failure to execute on a very basic level, I escaped by reading about dreamers who could achieve. There was something comforting about reading the stories of larger-than-life people who achieved their dreams in spite of their situation and the community.

It was also pretty toxic. The people I resonated to the most, were portrayed as achieving their goal through intense personal passion and sacrifice – in spite of a hostile and obstructionist community. John Paul Jones. The Wright Brothers. George Washington Carver. John Patton. Malla Moe.

I imbibed a message that community was inherently obstructive and damaging to dreamers. It laid a foundation for immense difficulties in my life.

I reread those stories decades later and found that each one of them had a helpful community around them, in addition to the people who were killers of dreams.

I pondered the toxic end of John Paul Jones and the Wright Brothers compared to Carver who (barely) managed to end on a good note.

I looked today at my dreams. I have a graveyard full of broken dreams. Twice I have had to purchase another 40 acre field to expand that graveyard.

Some were utterly laughable. So very many were driven by my lack of legitimacy. I embraced dreams designed to purchase legitimacy from the culture but they had nothing to do with my design, so God declined to grace them.

Many more were not properly built out by me. Dreamers often glibly skip over two or three hundred necessary, functional steps between conception and fruitfulness.

Life rather heartlessly, ruthlessly unleashes reality on those dreams – and their dreamers.

I stared long and hard at a lot of design-based dreams. I could not understand why they had died a hurtful death.

Then I pondered the fact that so many of the things God is breathing on in my life were never a dream of mine.

Something is wrong with this picture.

On the one hand, there is immense wisdom in the prayer Hanna taught us. “Father, we beg you to never limit Yourself by our biggest prayers.”

On the other hand, it sure seems as though I must have missed God’s heart somewhere along the way. I apparently am not in David’s league of hearing His heart clearly in a place where He has been absolutely silent.

I am grateful that He dreams bigger and better dreams for me than the ones I have dreamed for myself and mercifully forces His dreams on me in the midst of my muddle.

But I remain addictively bound to some dreams that have died more than once already, but still refuse to die altogether.


The birthplace of torment and fulfillment.

Copyright July 2018 by Arthur Burk

This entry was posted in Beauty, Redemption, Whimsical Observations. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Dreams

  1. Gernot says:

    I try to get rid of my dreams. First I am not good in the spiritual way. But for this problem Jesus died on the cross. If I make my spiritual excercises, He moves in and my old egoistic etc. beeing has to move out. But even when my motives are Jesus-like, I´m still not good in the technical way. The lie of the serpent was, that we will be like God, knowing good and evel. But in fact we have not even a trickle of whats going on in our little left finger. And so we run our lives after the lie, we will be like God. But we will never be like him. To make a good decicision, you have to know the millions of billions cause variables, influencing the moment of my decision. But only God is omniscient. So Jesus can say, only God is good, and he will be it even then when we reach the complete holiness.
    I try to fulfill the treasure moments, He gives me every day and the rest I lay on the thoughts, that he is good in the all-embracing way.

    • Nancy Tucker says:

      Dreams are one of Gods biggest ways He communicates wirh Hus people! To try and dismiss dreams is to try to tell God how to communicate to us, i have been a major dreamer all my lufe, i began remembering my dreams from about ahe 3, and the dreams cintinue!

      • Gernot says:

        I think, there are differences between dreams and dreams
        1. I call them spirit necessity. The things I need to be fulfilled to really know, God loves me personally.
        I was living under the curse of “You were nothing, you are nothing and never will something” So I dreamt of being so important, that my company sent my to a project, because I am worth it. And ended up at the airport with a business ticket in my hand and the tought, I am really the best man for the job, flying out to a place I allways wanted to see. And was realizing, God really sees my inner wishes.
        And I hope, everyone reaches this point of grace
        2. Dreams about what I will be, like be a great missionary or can heal everybody… And there I have also a big graveyard and these are the dreams, I want to get rid of them. Because I know, his ideas for my are much better then I can ever dream of.

        3. Dreams in the night as an instrument to reveal His thouhts to me. Here I can say, I want more of this. Most of the time I am dreaming not normal. I do something in this in-between stadium. But at the moment, I don´t get the picture clear, what is really going on. So I have to wait and see, if he shows me the situations clearer.

        • Nancy Tucker says:

          Well let’s begin with this, there are soulish dreams and there are dreams from God, the enemy can even penetrate our dreams, there are 20 classifications of dreams, things like warning dreams, destination dreams, deliverance dreams etc. but there’s 20 classifications of dreams my suggestion and this is only a suggestion is that we don’t sit and wait for answers to dreams we seek God for the answers this is a form of communication to us he wants us to see Him and ourselves for the answers, we are all different, yet there are so many things about all of us that are the same, my response to this dream statement was primarily about not getting rid of your dreams or to quit dreaming that would be to want to quit communicating with God without realizing it, so even with bad dreams nightmares there’s a reason we have them many times it has to do with things going on in our life and God’s trying to reveal to us those things such as curses generational bloodline issues etc., I love interpreting dreams where God is revealing some generational issues that need to be cleaned up, it’s like we don’t have to go finding out what the issue is he’s telling us, many of my own dreams have been warning dreams, warning me to do things or not to do things, and our dream languages change the deeper our relationship becomes with God ! So I was just trying to encourage others not to throw away their dreams that it’s God speaking to them.

          • Gernot says:

            And so you should go on encouraging others. And with your gift that you can sort out the dreams, it´s even more precious.
            At that day I was even missing the point, of what and at what level Arthur is dreaming. I completely overread it. Because on that day God gave me the knowledge, I was still following this lie. So I can get rid of those soulish dreams, coming from that false direction. And can even shut more gateways, where the enemy can penetrate my thoughts and dreams. I was so amazed, I nearly missed the whole point of Arthurs and your writing. Sorry

            • Nancy Tucker says:

              Dream on and may the Lord bring you many dreams that will forever be game changers in your life, to push you forward in your destiny and in obtaining and living out your birthright!!!

              • Gernot says:

                Thank you and yes, I will dream on. I pray for you, that the Lord will bless all your ways, where you are going.

  2. Heidi Colquhoun says:

    I’m nearly 68. I’ve watched my dreams come and go. Mostly I shrugged and thought, I must have got that wrong. But lately, I wonder if the field of broken glass behind me, is all I’ll have to show for my life. Is there a point when we just get too old to dream anymore? My spirit rebels at that, but it sure feels real. Maybe I have accomplished in little ways, all I was meant to. Maybe there are still a bunch of wee events that I’m meant to be part of before I come to my end? I have no idea. All I know is I’m tired of feeling constrained, like a race horse at the gate that never opens while the rest of the field are released to run free.

  3. Gilda says:

    This hits a raw spot. Totally understand where this is coming from! Yes, so important to have dreams to live.

  4. Barbara Madden says:

    Thank you Arthur. Another area of great interest to me, as my graveyard of dreams, well, stinks of dead bones. As one friend told me that he was taken to the garden of his heart, and then had to prophecy over the dead bones like Ezekiel…apparently, the dead bones represents Dreams.

    Just another noble subject, trying to discover things, vague things, called dreams…

  5. Devorah R.G says:

    This blogpost should burn like hell for me, but surprisingly it only made me screech inwardly for a moment and then the pain subsided again. Reality has shattered my dreams and sent my faith spinning out of control more times than I can remember, yet each time my connection to God gets reignited and one core dream reemerges from the shard heap the clearer for the testing.

    I certainly have been a very glib dreamer, utterly clueless about most of the “functional steps between conception and fruitfulness”. However, my Mentor is NOT. Over a decade ago, God herded me into a so far inescapable incubator where He has been slowing, slowing, slowing me down to the speed of His light. It is deeply ironic that the speed of His light is sooo much slower than mine and yet I am learning that those light rays travel sooooo much farther. Living with an eternal perspective creates processes on earth that seem to take far too much time to be affordable and yet God is in the business of using earth time to establish memorials of His light that will last for eternity.

    Thank you for sharing your musings and allowing me to realize that I’m a little more stable than I thought I was 🙂

  6. Noeleen says:

    So you’re still in the game, Arthur! And you have dreams that refuse to stay buried. Wow!! What a heart! I was thinking of Daniel in the lions’ den with the stone rolled over and the king’s seal on it. And Joseph in the cistern which I looked up just now and saw that his brothers had put him in there because they were so offended by his dreams. ‘Let’s shut this dreamer up.’You have highlighted for me that while there may be killers of dreams in community there are also those who cheer dreamers on. May you recognise the cheerers on . . .

  7. Pamela says:

    Love that prayer. I remember you telling a story of giving your kids way better gifts than their Christmas wish lists because you’re the dad. How much bigger ARE God’s dreams for us?

    My dream was always a little secret I kept tucked away in my heart NEVER really thinking it could actually be reality. Today it IS reality. Somebody pinch me!

    Arthur, I wonder at the undiscovered, unpacked design and treasure in you and their alignment with you, dead dreams and time.Treasure surfaces as volcanoes erupt and no one can tell just how many gems are hidden inside the mountain. Some crack and crumble under the heat and mix with other cracked crumbles to form something completely new. Makes me wonder about some of those “dead” dreams in you and what might God’s creativity might bring to life. May God smile on your volcanic eruptions with tons of ROI in dream-fire ignighting, legitimization and leg giving.

  8. Nancy Ann Tucker says:

    It’s funny that you called reading an addiction, I was miraculously delivered from drugs alcohol and a lifestyle 15 years ago and I have always called addictions the loss of hope and dreams! I am very grateful to God that I have hope and I have dreams however small they are or however large they are ! I hope I never limit myself to my dreams because I have discovered over the years did many of my dreams never matched or matching the drains God has for me, thank you for sharing your struggles and your heart! NAT

  9. Joanna says:

    Hey Arthur,

    Thank you for sharing and putting to words the heartache many of us know. I hear beneath your words a fierce need to hope and to dream; to reach forward despite the risk of falling. It resonates deeply with me.

    If the price of peace has always been war, what is the cost of a dream?

    Whatever it may be, I think we express something precious of the nature of our God when we dream. Perhaps that alone is worth celebrating.

  10. Suzanne Chapman says:

    “many of the things God is breathing on at the moment were never a dream of mine”. My (unfulfilled) dreams extend to my TOWN …What God is breathing on at the moment (other people’s dreams I can sponsor practically, in a meaningful way) extend to the CONTINENT !! (By the way, this turn around has come since recently devouring slg, breaking off the stuff, activating blessing of Job….)

  11. Margaret Lehman says:

    I hope someday in heaven Jesus gives me a box of my broken dream pieces that He saved from the trash heap. In that light most will probably look as significant as fish scales, but a few might resemble the corner of a canvas somewhere. Perhaps He’ll tell me to hunt for those places where my pieces fit into something there, and for the first time they’ll make sense. Maybe, like us, many of our dreams weren’t made for this world but the next, and this world is for growing into them.

  12. Janis Leal says:

    Hits a raw, very raw place… but with a tender soft touch….
    Thank you.

  13. Angela Chapman says:

    Sometimes dreams are just a fancy word for bucket list. I definitely get that some drama arw only an escape from something unpleasant. Burr a dream from the heart that feels like destiny ought to at least be prayed about and pursued where possible. Wasnt earth Gods dream?

  14. Sarah says:

    I once heard a statement that went something like this: don’t get wrapped up in the dreams, but in the giver of dreams! When I spend a lot of time in the “graveyard of my dreams”, it tends to drag me in and chain me to those 40+ acres. But, it encourages me to remember that God’s dreams for me are not dead; He is still at work (sometimes behind the scenes) to not only cause His resurrection power to flow thru me, but also to cause me to fulfill the destiny that He has planned for me.

    • lila1jpw says:

      Indeed, “Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us!”

  15. I love the honesty you share in this post. So many of us have experienced the same feelings but have not been able to so eloquently share the tug that has occurred in this area. I laughed so hard when you said you purchased another 40 acres field to expand the graveyard!

  16. Judy says:

    I heard somewhere, not sure exactly where, about a man who was considering building a casino in Las Vegas and I believe he was trying to get financing. The banker was not buying it until the man explained that basically his collateral was that he wasn’t building a casino for people to play in, he wasn’t selling rooms and slots, he was selling hopes and dreams. He got the loan.

    Every once in a while, I am given a lottery ticket. And for those brief moments in time, I dream of what I would do with the money if I won. Some people buy their tickets for the next weeks lottery at the end of their dream for this weeks lottery. They are compelled to keep that dream alive.

    I remember when my mother died and I was in deep depression..I kept hearing the verse “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Most people look at that part but the other half of that verse is..but when the desire comes it is a tree of life. Also translated when dreams come true it fills you with life and joy. In depression their is no thought of the dreams that could come true. I had no dreams. I was unable to jump back into believing in the future. But when I began to dream again, the depression was replaced hope foe the futre and I had life and joy again.

    Dreaming…so important to life.

  17. Monica says:

    So needed to hear this today. Especially when I feel the spirit of Death that metaphorically killed two people for me this past week and I can feel its poison wrap itself around my mind, I am wondering how am I going to continue to rebuild and dream.

    Guess my prayer for today will be Hanna’s. “Father, we beg you to never limit Yourself by our biggest prayers.”

  18. redeemed548 says:

    Thank you Arthur, I needed this! “Dreams, the birthplace of torment and fulfillment”, I believe this statement captures the reality of dreaming, from conception to maturation. Father grow us in the area of dreaming, even the way you dream. Give us the understanding and insight to know how to rightly process the progression of dreaming. Restore and realign us to all dynamics of dreaming, for your are the One who created us to dream, and you are the original dreamer.

  19. LaVonne says:

    Thank You for sharing your heart, I felt clarity and realness when I read this, and it is making me think….and ponder.

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