Have you ever had someone who shared an audacious dream - a dream so big and bold that unless there was some kind of divine intervention or supernatural assistance it would be absolutely impossible? Have you ever looked at that person and thought to yourself, "Well, the dream is great but you, my friend, don't have what it takes to pull it off?" I'm sure you have either encountered such a dreamer or you've been that dreamer. And if you've been that dreamer, you know how hurtful it is to have people throw cold water on your dream.
I recently attended a meeting where that very thing happened. The circumstances shall remain private, but I will say that I was angry when I saw a group of leaders pile on a guy for having a dream that didn't fit into their own model. They were critical of the man's attitude, which, to be honest, needs some work. But instead of it being an uplifting time, it frustrated the dreamer. He left that meeting discouraged and wounded. All of my efforts to redirect the conversation failed. And to be honest, I was angry! I called the man the next day and apologized for my failure to keep the conversation positive and I apologized for the attitudes of the others in the room.
I've been one of those guys who has had his dreams crushed. Sometimes it has happened because of mistakes I've made or just simply having a wild idea that didn't work. But I've also been the victim of the criticism of others who, for whatever their reasons, didn't support me or my dream. I've been wounded deeply in the past.
What gets us through those times? I think I can reduce it to two things. The first is simply the fact that we need to tenaciously hang on to the dream that God has given us. If we believe that our dream is a "God thing" then we must hang on for dear life. And the second thing helps us with that. We need others in our lives who are dream encouragers, not dream crushers. A dream encourager doesn't just rubber stamp our stuff. They push back. They help us make adjustments. They ask the hard questions, but they do it without crushing our spirits.
To all of my dreamer friends out there - keep on keeping on!