Don’t Follow Your Dreams


I’ve learned a few things in my [insert largish number] of years on this planet. Perhaps the most important is not to follow my dreams. Does that make me sound like a glass-is-half empty kinda guy? Actually, there’s a part two that makes me more of a glass-is-overflowing kinda guy: Instead, follow the One who made your dreams.

The problem isn’t pursuing our dreams, it’s doing so with no sense of how to attain them—or what they should really look like. A surprisingly high percentage of the world’s most “successful” people are profoundly dissatisfied. This, I believe, is because they’ve succeeded not in fulfilling their dreams, but in procuring 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–were truly meant to be. If we’ve followed the Dream Maker’s plan, it will be something beautiful and unique. If we’ve followed our imitation of that plan, it will be a deeply disappointing counterfeit.

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 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 not a businessman, I’m a moviemaker!” I was determined to follow not just my dream, but my idea of how it would be fulfilled.

But movies are expensive. I tried 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 found out the franchise I’d rejected was now worth $600 million dollars, and I thought, Whoa, I could have financed a lot of movies with that money. But the Dream Maker knows an infinite number of ways to accomplish his plans.

I gave up the movie dream in 2005, moved my family to Cincinnati, Ohio; served at a church until the recession decimated their budget; 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…”

I’ve since written, directed and produced two feature films, Over-the-Rhine and Notzilla (additional projects are in the works). “God [really does] work all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

So my wish for you is 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 Humor, Memoir, Movies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Don’t Follow Your Dreams

  1. alankey83 says:

    I am not religious (I’m an atheist), but I can resonate with your blog post on a spiritual level. Follow me with this: my “values” is your seed God plants in us and my “goals” is your immitation of God’s plan.

    I believe we have become a very goal orientated society. We have become so focused on what we want, or what we think we want, that we have lost sight of what we enjoy and value.

    Take the example of writing.

    So desperate to publish a novel or write a successful blog, we obsess over and measure against our goal to such a degree that we forget anything else. Whether this is how many people are following our blog, whether or not a novel that we spent years writing is ever published.

    We cease to enjoy the simple act of writing in the first place.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. hazalse says:

    Beautifully written and thought 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a unique perspective! Yes, what we see as “Plan B” could turn out to be God’s “Plan A” – maybe even OUR “Plan A,” just reached by a different route.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Bruce says:

    There’s a down to earth humility within your post Mitch that is both gratifying and refreshing and it speaks of a faith that is grounded in acknowledgement and gratitude to God. You can’t buy that, it has to be lived and then valued. I sincerely thank you for your gentle witness and the light of our Lord that you let shine through you. I’m truly grateful that our paths have crossed. Grace and blessing my friend.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. revruss1220 says:

    Wisdom for the ages… and for the aged.
    Thanks again for pointing your flashlight right where it needs to shine.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Cindy Dawson says:

    That’s some great advice, Mitch!! Blessings!

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Kathleen Ellerman says:

    Thought provoking. Well said.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Erika Kind says:

    That is very wise advice, Mitch. We should grab the chance we get because they don’t show up accidentally. We may not know what they are there for but we can be sure that they are there for our benefit. At the same time, whatever chance we grab we mustn’t lose our dreams out of sight. The time will come and one day we will understand why we had to grab one or more particular chances in order to get prepared for the realization of our dream.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. THe more I chase God the better my days and my future become. Thank you

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Zachariah Varghese says:


    Liked by 2 people

  11. YBP says:

    Spot on Mitch! We may not know what our future holds, but we know Who holds our future. ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  12. You have managed to give us an idea of understanding meaning. Having Faith replaces the reason for doubt.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. numrhood says:

    romans 33:53 call unto thee

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hepsibah says:


    Liked by 1 person

  15. Ann Coleman says:

    That’s wonderful advice, Mitch! I do believe that God made us each unique, and in order to be happy, (never mind successful) we have to tap into whatever unique thing in us that comes from God. But you sure explained it a lot better than I ever could. Thanks for that!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. This is lovely. Only God can rescue us from the brokeness of our ego and the smallness of our thinking!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Another blogger, Holley Gerth, wrote: “Success isn’t about outcomes. It’s about obedience.” Your story offers a perfect example, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. My good man, Mitch. Based on your story, I conclude that those original ‘bad’ decisions, etc. really were the right decision. Thank God. Look, what you put out now is all good, wholesome stuff. I am thankful you are the way you are now and none of this is an accident. Perhaps you may not think you have accomplished much per se, but I think all that you have is GREAT! And I also believe the things you do are endorsed by God Himself. To all of that, I’d say you are doing really well and all to the credit of God’s intervention in your life. Keep it up and may God continue to Bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Another insightful post to take to heart. Much appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. lynnabbott says:

    AMEN!! Love this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Wow! Beautiful. “God plants a dream inside each of us ” That’s so true! God has been putting dreams in my heart and has been giving me the way.🧡 He surprises me every single day. And your visit to my Blog was a great Gods surprise for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. caden738 says:

    What’s the name of the company?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s