Hundreds of people filled the elementary gymnasium, waiting for the group of kindergarteners to step on stage. The stars of the show soon filed in, decked out in frilly dresses and suits and ties. It was the end of the school year — time to graduate to first grade.
I sat with my in-laws, watching my niece sing in the front left corner, her motions precise and a little bit timid. Phones recorded every moment, and smiles abounded.
After songs were sung and diplomas were given, a video played on the big screen. Fun music bounced through the gym while each student’s picture flashed on screen, along with their answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Lots of future police officers and teachers were among the group, as well as a few authors and athletes. But a handful of students earned chuckles for their dreams. There was a future unicorn and a future “mermaid on a horse.” There were also future trash men and one adorable little boy who declared, “I want to work at WalMart.”
As laughter rippled through the crowd, I found myself chuckling along. But then I glanced around and thought, What if one of these parents works at WalMart? How do they feel having hundreds of people laugh at their job?
This thought stuck with me and wouldn’t let go. The very next morning I shopped at WalMart for a few necessities and greeted the cashier, wondering about her story.
Was she a single mom barely making ends meet? Was this job covering all her bills? Did she have other dreams for her life, or did she find purpose in the work she was doing right now?
Maybe you haven’t declared you want to be a WalMart worker, but you’ve worked toward another dream that doesn’t make sense to anyone else. Perhaps it seems unreachable, so they shake their heads and laugh. Or maybe your dream simmers under the surface and no one can see it, so they look past you and see no value.
Whatever describes you, my friend, I want to encourage you with three truths about who you are.
1. You were made for a purpose.
You aren’t here by accident. God formed you for a reason, and He has good plans for you. Even if your dreams have taken a detour, or if they don’t make sense to anyone else, God can use you right where you are. Stay the course and keep dreaming.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10, NLT).
2. You were created to love.
More than any work you do — more than any commandment or calling in the Bible — you are called first to love God and others.
That WalMart worker who’s providing for his children? A selfless act of love. That cashier who smiles and asks people about their day? An act that reflects her heavenly Father’s love.
No dream is wasted if you love. No detour to the dream is wasted if you love.
Yes, even loving and forgiving the very people who question or laugh at you — the hardest one of them all.
Above all, have fervent and unfailing love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins [it overlooks unkindness and unselfishly seeks the best for others] (I Peter 4:8, AMP).
3. Your dreams are an avenue to connect with God.
Whether you’re dreaming for the future, mourning the loss of past dreams, or living out your dreams right now, God hasn’t changed and He longs to hear from you.
Romans 12:12 says,
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (NIV).
Dreaming for the future is an opportunity to partner with Christ in joyful hope — to ask and anticipate where He’s leading.
Mourning the loss of past dreams is a time to build patience and character. In the detours, you can become more like your Father and better learn His heart for you.
In every season, including the fulfillment of a dream, you can build your faith and trust as you consistently come to Him in prayer. Every failure, every hard day, every success and victory is an opportunity to build a bridge to your Savior.
People may not understand the dream, and they may even laugh at it. But wherever life takes you, remember you were made for a purpose — to love others and to connect with God.
Keep on dreaming, my friend.
*background photos by TwigyPosts