Here’s a scripture that’s been on my mind lately: a dream comes with much business and painful effort (Ecclesiastes 5:3).

Why this, and why now? We’re once again at that cusp in time when people tend to go through a roller coaster of emotions. Many battle with discouragement when they look back on the past year and realize that they didn’t achieve much of what they wanted to. And that affects the psyche, because it’s hard to look forward to the year ahead with joy when your heart is still trying to repress negative thoughts created by the past year’s failures. Been there, done that; and it’s crippling.

I recently took stock of the last year; and while I accomplished much of what I desired, I saw there were two things that I didn’t “achieve.” So, I had to ask myself an honest question: how much concentrated effort did I put towards these dreams? My answer was little to none. But as I think on that verse, I realize that a dream doesn’t come by accident. You don’t live your life casually and then all of a sudden realize you are living your dreams. Not even by a mile.

Try to take one minute with me and think. Can you imagine how many possibilities lie behind your dreams? No really…can you imagine it? I once watched a TV feature on Oprah where she talked about the different phases of her life; and I learned something profound. In one scene, I watched as she recorded her show in front her live studio audience, with millions watching from home. In another scene, she discussed her experience filming The Color Purple. And these days, she is pioneering her own  TV network.

And I thought to myself: from the moment Oprah announced that she wanted be a journalist, she spent the rest of her life (almost 50 years of a multitude of business) pursuing that dream – and now, she has become a big voice in our times – bigger than she could have imagined. If we consider the things that make up her profile – a native of segregated Mississippi; born in a line of maids and domestic workers; abused in her preteen years –  there was nothing in her life that hinted she would be where she is right now.

I realized that within a dream, there are many branches; and the branches stretch out in various directions to pave new ways for whoever dares to pursue their dream to the fullest. What you desire in your heart at first is really just a seed. But the seed needs to be planted and watered. And with much investment, the seed grows roots in the ground. It eventually develops a trunk; and soon, many branches being to grow from the trunk in various directions. What you have at the end of the day is a force to be reckoned with.

Your dreams matter – and they materialize by a multitude of business; an abundance of effort. This is the thought that keeps me going these days. And it’s especially significant given the new year. Once again, we all have a new book with 365 blank pages (358 now) waiting for us to create something spectacular. What will you spend all of your time doing?


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