The specific future you have dreams about says a lot about your life purpose. If you dream of opening a Bed and Breakfast and having the chance to host and serve all kinds of people, that dream may be a container for your deepest desires in life. So an important part of the life purpose and dreams discovery process is getting these dreams out on the table.
A great place to start is with a Dream Inventorythat is broken into two sections: one for Big Dreams, and a second for Fun Dreams. Big dreams are desires depicted in larger pieces: getting a master’s degree, starting a business, mentoring five young leaders or going to the mission field. Many fall under the second level of God’s purposes—working to bring his Kingdom to life in the world. Fun dreams aren’t so much about legacy as about joy. Maybe you’ve always wanted to hike down the Oregon coast with three friends, take a hot air balloon ride or visit the grandchildren regularly.
Separating these two lists encourages coachees to engage the innocent desires that give spice to life. With just one big dream list, Christians tend to get embarrassed about putting “Take a fall color vacation in New England” next to “Lead ten people to the lord in my lifetime.” We discount the fun desires as “not spiritual enough.” Yet these dreams are kept in proper proportion with the entirety of God’s purpose. That means holding them more lightly, and often allowing God to bring them as a gift instead of making them the focus of your life.
Fun dreams are very useful in situations where coachees don’t yet know what bigger dreams they want to pursue. Looking at the desires underneath these fun dreams can often access core passions as well as examining big dreams.
Creating a dream lifestyle is another way to uncover fun dreams. Describing a living situation, workplace, home, schedule and relationships that you’d really love to live with can make it easier to voice what would bring joy in life.
A life purpose and dreams list is not a rule-book to follow. In fact, your lists should change as you grow older and become more fully aware of what God has placed in your heart. A part of aging is learning to let go gracefully of dreams you’ve passed by and allow the true dream, the dream of heaven, to take root in their place.
Tony Stoltzfus is a best-selling author, leadership coach, master coach trainer and director of the Leadership Metaformation Institute. Additional information on this topic can be found in Tony’s book, The Christian Life Coaching Handbook.