Don’t Follow Your Dreams

Following-Your-Dreams-300x194Today is my birthday. Which, with the possible exception of New Year’s Day, is the day I’m most inclined to assess what I’ve done with my life. I’ve learned a few things in my (largish number) years on this planet. Perhaps the most important is not to follow my dream. Does that sound like a glass half empty? Actually, there’s a part two that makes it more like a glass overflowing:

Don’t follow your dreams, follow the One who made your dreams.

The problem isn’t in pursuing our dreams, it’s in doing so with no sense of how to attain them—or what they should look like in the end. A shockingly high percentage of the world’s most “successful” people confess to being miserable. This, I believe, is because they’ve succeeded not in attaining their dreams, but in constructing a crude imitation of them.

God plants a dream inside each of us while we’re still in the womb. But it’s only a seedling. And it’s not until we look back that we fully grasp what it and we ourselves (the two are inseparable) truly look like. If we’ve followed the Dream Maker’s plan, it will be beautiful and startlingly original. If we’ve followed our imitation of it, it will be unsatisfying and ruthlessly predictable.

I was 23 when my father died, and was busily trying to construct a makeshift version of my dreams. So when my mother asked if I wanted the San Diego franchise my father had invested in—for a patented security system that makes alarms go off when store tags are not removed—I said, “No! I’m an artist, not a businessman! I’m going to make movies!”

But movies are expensive. I tried off-and-on for thirty years to raise the money to make my movies, but never could. Along the way, some wonderful things happened—I met the Dream Maker, met my wife, and met the two little girls who had been waiting patiently for us to get together so they could be born. But I never managed to make those movies.

Then one day I did some research on the franchise my dad had invested in. By now, my share would have been worth roughly $600 million dollars.

That could have financed a lot of movies.

But the Dream Maker knows an infinite number of ways back to the dream. Here’s one: I gave up the movie idea in 2005, moved my family to Cincinnati, Ohio; served at a church until the recession decimated their budget and they had to let me go; formed a production company funded by church members; became friends with a businessman who asked if I had any unfulfilled dreams, and replied, “Funny you should ask…”

That fulfilled dream (movie) is due to be released next fall. guiding hands

So, here’s my birthday wish for you: that you would learn more and more every day not to follow your dreams, but instead to

follow the One who made your dreams.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Memoir, Religion/Faith, Story Power and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to Don’t Follow Your Dreams

  1. M.G. Daniel says:

    Happy Birthday Mitch Teemley. Blessings on your big day.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Happy birthday, Mitch! Best wishes for you to have a good one, and many many more to come! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. nancyehead says:

    Your usual great work! God bless. And Happy Birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Birthday. This is a really great post. I was just talking about this today…how I’m tired of hearing about the law of attraction and manifesting your dreams etc. I believe you can do all those things, but not surrendered to God…it is indeed empty. Thank you for sharing! Hope you have an amazing day fill with the people and things that bring joy to your heart!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ritu says:

    Happy Birthday Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post and great advice, Mitch. Happy birthday! I hope you have a great birthday weekend. (I can’t wait to see your movie).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Quirky Girl says:

    Happy Birthday! Hope your day is amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it.” Psalm 127:1

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Wayne says:

    Happy Birthday Mitch 🎉🎉🎉!! And what a profound post!

    I think that for the most part, we’ve actually made the pursuit of our dreams into an idol…when all we really need to do is pursue with Dream Maker. Beautifully put!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Wayne says:

    Reblogged this on Jesus @ the Center and commented:
    Are we pursuing “our dreams”…and neglecting the Dream Maker 🤔🤔?

    Like

  11. This was wonderful Mitch, and exactly what I needed to hear. So thank you. (You’re supposed to receive gifts on your birthday, not give them. 😉)
    Happy Birthday!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Happy Birthday Bro – love the message!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. smzang says:

    “That fulfilled dream (movie) is due to be released next fall. ”

    Congratulations on being open to His plan, even if somewhat
    unknowingly. Many, as you said, ‘realize their dream’ only to
    find life is still empty, and many lack any inkling of how to grow
    into their dream. You chose a path that allowed your dream to grow,
    not because you calculated a ‘way to win’ but because you dedicated
    yourself to a path filled with light.

    I look forward to viewing your movie. May your many blessings
    grow into many more. Happy Birthday.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. mike7sedona says:

    Happy Birthday – may God shower His choicest blessings on you!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. oneta hayes says:

    Another thing – when one is twenty, he seldom has a dream for the last decade of his life. The Dreamer Planner has dreams that fit with each season of one’s life. I would never have dreamed of the things that have made me happy since sixty years of age!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Jack Flacco says:

    Happy Birthday, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. nanciec13 says:

    happy birthday!! Dream on 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Tekoa says:

    May Abba richly bless you on this birthday and may your dream of being on the big screen come just at the right time and with just the right anointing and Words from His Words that make heart leap and dance and weep and sing. Happy Birthday.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. So glad so much has worked out for you! What a great support Trudy is to you. Happy birthday

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Jeff Haberman says:

    Happy Birthday Mitch! May God continue to bless you and your family as you begin another orbit around our humble little star. ⭐️😁
    Your Old Buddy “Jeph”

    Liked by 2 people

  21. atimetoshare.me says:

    God’s blessings on your birthday and may all your dreams come true.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. sniderjerry says:

    “Don’t count your years, make your years count.”
    All the best, Jerry

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Happy birthday, Mitch! And congratulations for persevering until God said the time was right for film-making. Your thought-provoking words took me back to my twenty-something self who married a seminary student. I was sure he would end up a professor somewhere, perhaps at our alma mater. It was a lovely, comfortable dream. S. certainly would NOT become a pastor, because I could not imagine myself as a preacher’s wife–too much pressure, too many eyes watching. Well, three years ago S. retired from the pastorate, after forty years in the pulpit. I look back on the delightful as well as the difficult times and thank God for all of them. His plan for me/us far surpassed any dream!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Happy Birthday Mitch. Glad you were born. Glad you serve, think, write, and create.
    Best, Rita

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Birthday blessings! Keep inspiring us for another good year!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Aaron Smothers says:

    What an amazing journey! Thank you for sharing your story. I’m finding similar themes in my life. God is beyond good to us. Happy birthday!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Have a blessed birthday Mitch. Hope this next year holds even more beautifully unexpected blessings. God is so faithful.–E.R.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Jennie says:

    Well said, and true. Very true. Happy birthday to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Lorien says:

    Happy Birthday! It’s my daughter’s birthday today too. She’s the ripe old age of 7.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Happy Birthday Mitch 🙂 Excellent post. Very true.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. BelleUnruh says:

    Happy Birthday, Mitch! What a wonderful post.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Happy Birthday!!! 🙂

    This is just WOW! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Happy Birthday and really great post! It’s always a challenge to trust the Dream maker’s vision for our lives which sometimes differs from our own. Yet when we reflect and look back its impossible to fully regret because we see his footsteps and provision even in unfulfilled dreams!

    Liked by 2 people

  34. dtbrents says:

    Happy Birthday. Have a blessed day.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. GwennonR says:

    What an excellent post! I’d love to re-blog it, but instead of doing my own writing, I have been reblogging a lot here lately.

    Yet, I still need some help with my writing. Currently, I drool over your words, “Follow the One Who made your dreams” and would like to use them (or a version of them) in a poem that has been taking its sweet time getting itself together. So, can I use your words, please?

    Keep up the good work. This was an unusually thought-provoking post, and I know I will want to re-read it often.

    P.S. Hope your birthday was good.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. themeonnblog says:

    Happy Belated Birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. GILDASPOEMS says:

    Happy Birthday! This is a wonderful post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  38. ekurie says:

    Amen to this post, thank you. And happy (belated) birthday. Hope it was a wonder-ful day

    Liked by 1 person

  39. enitsirk24 says:

    Happy belated Birthday! God gave you an awesome dream and it is interesting how you had to go full circle to get there.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. numrhood says:

    when you were 48 what were you doing

    Liked by 1 person

  41. jrusoloward says:

    Happy Birthday! Great post. Continue to follow the one who made your dreams!

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Yes, our dreams aren’t nearly as interesting as the ones God plans for us.

    Like

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