Starry Eyed Dreams

It’s what we are taught, right? To think positively. To dream big. To pursue our dreams. To not settle. 

So often in our day-to-day lives we’re inundated with advice to “think positively.” 

Whether it is in our social media feeds, the music we listen to, or Ted Talks, the general message is the same: we should be looking on the bright side. When there is adversity in our midst, we should be optimistic that we will face it and overcome it. And last but not least – we should all focus on our dreams. And if they aren’t big enough to scare us, then they aren’t big enough. 

But what about when the hurdles we are facing are real AND big? What about when our energy level is zapped so much by pursuing those dreams we end up feeling like failures and the dreams often quickly become things of the past? 

It’s important to realize that starry-eyed dreams are not all they are made out to be. Sure, have them . . . but there is more to it! 

Hurdles are actually good things! According to psychologist Dr. Gabriele Oettingen, “The obstacles that we think prevent us from realizing our deepest wishes can actually lead to their fulfillment. Starry-eyed dreaming isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and as it turns out, dreamers are not often doers.

While optimism can help us alleviate immediate suffering and persevere in challenging times, merely dreaming about the future actually makes people more frustrated and unhappy over the long term and less likely to achieve their goals. In fact, the pleasure we gain from positive fantasies allows us to fulfill our wishes virtually, sapping our energy to perform the hard work of meeting challenges and achieving goals in real life.”

Instead, what if we focus on our dreams while visualizing the obstacles that stand in our way. By experiencing our dreams in our minds and facing reality we can address our fears, make concrete plans, and gain energy to take action.

Dr. Oettingen introduces us to a proven four-step process called WOOP that we will talk about on Sunday —Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan. 

You know, scripture is packed with dreamers . . . but all the dreamers became doers. They relied on more than just starry-eyed dreams to help them achieve their desired futures. They relied on something within themselves and that same something is available for us too. 

Romans 8:11

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.