shattered dreams in The Quiet Place

“Coming true is not the only purpose of a dream. Its most important purpose is to get us in touch with where dreams come from – with where passion and happiness come from.”

These words from Lisa Bu in her recent TED talk really stirred me.

Great leaders are the ones who push past the disappointment and pain of dashed hopes and failed ventures. They are the ones who never give up, who take one more swing. Like William Carey or Alexander Bell, they keep going. And what keeps them going is passion; that deep desire, that burning fire that their (now-shattered) dream opened up inside them.

Here’s the problem with being a cutting edge leader: staying on the edge of change necessitates risk, and risk brings failure. A dream shattered. As a result, the only way we can thrive as leaders on the edge of change is if we dig a level deeper with our dreams. Scrutinize them, analyse them. What is the deeper passion behind your dream? What is its real driving force? I bet that as you connect to those hidden fires you’ll discover a desire that will not only launch a thousand new dreams but will also give you the stamina to push through a couple of shatterings.

A number of years ago I had my heart set on a scholarship to Oxford. When I didn’t win it, I was crushed. It was my first major failure in life, but it gave me an invaluable gift. It taught me that my real desire didn’t lie in academia, but rather in helping people move into life change. And that launched me onto my current path as a pastor and church leader.

So I’m interested, what have shattered dreams taught you about your real desires? Please let me know.


7 thoughts on “The purpose of a shattered dream

  1. As a child, I always answered the question, “What do you want to be one day?” With the answer, “An artist.” So that became my dream. I jumped into every creative opportunity that came by. One opportunity led me to pursue a degree in Fine Art. And talk about a shattering… To say the least, those four years left me disillusioned as an “artist” and uninspired as a person. But after 6 years I purposefully started being creative again. I guess a post-mortum on that “shattering” is that I actually always wanted to be CREATIVE in what ever I did, because that creative gift was always there and its something that cannot be revoked. It can be smothered, choked, cursed. And it can be resurrected! After 6 years of very little creativity, God inspired me and re-lit the fire. So now, whether its spending my days with my two little boys, or re-decorating our lounge, or cooking – I have found a new fire and a new freedom in being an “artist” – I am a “Creative”, I can create things that are unique, inspiring, delicious, funny and colourful; I can share them with others and give them something to add value to their life! And THAT sharing with others is what crystalized the realization as to what drives my creativity: I want to share with others and give them my gift of creativity so they can experience something of the life of God that is in me!

    And there you have it.

    • Thanks so much for sharing Luce, it’s amazing to hear your journey!

      I totally agree that what seem like crushing experiences are often “crucible moments” where what’s inside us only comes out stronger and more refined. I can definitely attest to that in my own discovery of what being a “Creative” looks like for me – especially when I can’t draw but have two brilliant siblings who can!

      I love how you turn your world into a creative space – from the boys’ rooms to your paintings, to even being innovative with nappies! Keep it up, it’s going to be fun to see how your creativity evolves with your future life seasons.

      Thanks for enriching the conversation 🙂

  2. I love what you said, “It taught me that my real desire didn’t lie in academia, but rather in helping people move into life change.” It sounds like we’re thinking along the same lines when I read this and your comment on my blog. I often wonder if I would have become a pastor if I were a man. Not that women can’t be but that it’s not as prevalent a thought in a woman’s life. I think I would have liked the ministry. 🙂

    • Yeah, deciding on life paths is never easy, and although it’s certainly hard to navigate all the twists and turns, I do believe that God uses all things for the good of those who love Him. Re: women in ministry, that is definitely a deep topic (that in some quarters is hotly contested!) – you should give my wife’s blog a read (http://sisterhoodstickynotes.wordpress.com) if this topic interests you, as there’s a thought-provoking dialogue going on over there about what it means to be a woman (in all aspects of life).

  3. I don’t know how I landed on your blog, or specifically this article, but thank you! I really needed to hear this today. I’m currently going through processing my own shattered dream. But I believe there is a reason for why it happened. I’m keeping the faith.

    Thank you.

    • Thanks for the feedback Rihana, I’m glad the post helped. We all have shattered dreams, and its tough to pick yourself and carry on, but you’ll be surprised in a year’s time to see how far you’ve come. Well done for keeping on going, and thanks for visiting Cutting Edge Leader. – Chris

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