Follow Your Dream*
Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. – Genesis 37:5 (NRSV)
There is an asterisk when we teach kids to follow their dreams, an asterisk so small we often forget to mention it. The asterisk says: “Not everyone will share your dreams, sometimes not even the people you love.”
Joseph (not that Joseph, one from a much earlier time) told his brothers his dream of becoming a great ruler, but his brothers interpreted it as a nightmare: their little brother would one day rule over them. Their response was to toss Joseph in a pit and sell him off to travelers; today we might say “they became estranged.”
Today there are still stories being written in our families about the clash that happens when who a person is or what they dream of doing differs from who their family thinks they should be. Whatever the details, there are no easy answers to conflict, no quick fixes to heal hurt feelings.
What then should Joseph do? Sacrifice his dream to keep in his family’s good graces? Chase his dream with no thought of those he leaves behind? What does God hope for Joseph, or for any of us who find that following our hearts’ desire leaves us at odds with someone we love?
If you know the answer, please send me a message.
Balancing our dreams with other people’s expectations for us can be challenging. Ask Joseph. Ask Mary. Ask the shepherds who left their whole flock behind to follow a star. There are costs when we follow our dreams, but there is also much to be gained.
Dreams might come with undesired costs, but, dear God, may they also lead us to peace, love, and even joy.
Liz Miller serves as the Designated Pastor of Granby Congregational Church, UCC and is the author of Only Work Sundays: A Laidback Guide to Doing Less while Helping Your Church Thrive.