What to Do with Your Pipe Dreams?

PipeWe’ve all had dreams of the future, and the exciting possibilities that can unfold in our future. These dreams fill us with enthusiasm for future feats and potential advances in our lives, or in the lives of those around us. Dreams are the stuff of hope and vision.

But what happens when life intervenes in ways that tend to dampen the vision? Or worse yet, what happens when the storms of life drench the dreams with such soggy reality that our past dreams slide inexorably toward that awful basket of derelict visions labeled “Pipe Dreams.” When enough past dreams collect in that basket, it is easy to let vision die. It is just too painful to see our dreams shattered by life’s realities. As a result, we tend to limit our vision, and dream only safe dreams, mundane dreams, dreams that will not change the world.

I can imagine Abram’s dreams sliding toward that dreaded basket of broken vision. He was convinced he had heard from God about a son. Yet night after night, as he glanced toward the stars, he knew he was no closer to fulfilling the vision. His vision for this dream was so dead that when the Lord showed up to tell him the vision was about to be fulfilled, he tried to argue him out of it (see Genesis 17:15-20). That is a dead vision.

I can imagine Joseph’s dreams turning to ashes as he saw his brothers’ camp fading in the distance while being transported to Egypt for an unknown fate. His dreams had been so real. The whispers of the night had made him believe he was destined to lead, to rule.

Perhaps Joseph’s stay at Potiphar’s house had sparked hope. His gifts were being recognized as he served an official of Pharaoh’s court. But if hope had been kindled, the torrential rains of reality quickly extinguished them in a prison cell. Prison reality so limited Joseph’s dreams that his primary hope was simply to get free from prison (see Genesis 40:14-15). As a prisoner in Egypt, he was among the least of the least in that nation. Any dreams of leading or ruling had become embarrassing memories of childish ambition.

I can imagine Moses’ dreams being flattened by his reality. He had dreamed of being Israel’s deliverer, raised up in amazing special privilege to become the hero of the hour. At the point when it seemed that his dreams were on the cusp of being fulfilled, when his true people would turn to him in hope, and his influence with his adopted people would pave the way, he was rejected by his fellow Israelites and hunted as a criminal by his peers. Forty years of reflection on his colossal blunders, and the stark reality of life on the backside of the desert, had so smashed his early dreams of being Israel’s deliverer, that he told God to send someone else to do the job (see Exodus 4:13).

Dreams can turn to disappointment. Disappointment stokes the fire of disillusion. Eventually the original vision has been relegated to the bin of embarrassing pipe dreams.

What do you do with that bin? Do you ignore it, and shudder with shame every time a memory shard works its way to the surface? Do you dust the pipe dreams off on occasion to use as a cautionary tale aimed at correcting youthful idealism? Or do you bitterly reflect on what might have been?

I have a suggestion. Take that collection of old and broken dreams and offer them up to God. Give him an opportunity to breathe on them. In the Bible stories I have mentioned above, the characters involved were confined in roles that had diminished their original dreams. As a result, they lost vision. But then God breathed. He stirred up the currents of his Holy Wind, and vision became reality. Those who had lost vision could dream again.

Perhaps it’s time to let God breathe on your dreams. Give him permission to resurrect the dead husk of visions long past. You never know what wonderful notes the Lord may release through your pipe dreams as his Wind blows through them.

What do you do with Pipe Dreams? Every once in a while, you set them apart, and wait for the Wind to blow on them.


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Images credit: Randal Cutter/iPhone 6s/Photoshop Crosshatch Filter


4 thoughts on “What to Do with Your Pipe Dreams?

  1. Edward Polanco

    Enjoyed your post, as I have felt a dream my wife and I had of moving to Morningstar, and building an orphanage in Dominican Republic was just a pipe dream. We moved from Florida to Charlotte, joined M.S. and left family, friends, and great job positions, only to be stocking shelves at Publix for the last 3 and a half years! I will pray and ask the Lord to breath on this dream, as I keep posting for positions driving for Publix again back in Florida. Keep us in your prayers.

    August 29, 2017 at 1:41 pm
  2. Michael Tomko

    Psalms 105:17-19
    17 He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. They afflicted his feet with fetters, He himself was laid in irons; Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of the LORD tested him.

    I think it is important that we see that not only do our dreams provide hope, they also test us. Just as the Psalmist says of the word (dream) Joseph had, it tested him. God not only gives us dreams, but then he lets the dream he gave us to test us, to make us fit for the dream he gave us.

    If we contrast Joseph’s dream with Nebuchednezzer’s dream, that Daniel interpreted in Daniel 2. We can see that Nebuchadnezzar took the dream about the statue and his part as the head of gold and in the very next chapter made a statue of gold of himself. If we do not let God take our dreams and make us fit for them and we try to create our own interpretation/results of that dream, it will end up looking like us (just like Nebechednezzer’s statue did) instead of looking like the image it was meant to display, the image of Jesus. We have seen this happen in more professions than we can count, including in the church.

    August 29, 2017 at 8:54 pm
  3. An excellent, inspiring and timely article. To the music of soaking worship, each morning before the Lord I recite the prophecies that have gone on before me and the scriptures the Lord has given to me (1 Timothy 1:18). For days the whisper comes to my heart as I commit these to the Lord and rest in Him, “Watch what I do.”

    GOd is so faithful. A fresh wind of the Spirit is truly blowing that is tangible by the favor and blessings, including redemption and restoration, taking place in every aspect of my life – marriage, finances, ministry, family and so on.

    Thank you, Randy, with blessings Roy Roden

    August 31, 2017 at 8:59 am
  4. Norma Daniel

    Thank you Pastor Randy, this post has given me much hope, very encouraging. I am holding on to my dream, God always keeps his promises in his own time.
    Norma Daniel

    August 31, 2017 at 11:02 pm

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