God Didn’t Fulfill My Dream


Last week 13,000 people and I were amazed by Sting and The Police in concert (see Stephen’s post).

Sting’s an incredible singer. With no effort at all he can hit notes only dogs can hear. He’s clearly gifted by God. At one time, I would envied him for his talents and success.

When I was a teen I watched The Beatles’ American debut on the Ed Sullivan show and the trajectory of my life was changed forever. It was like I’d only drunk water all my life and suddenly I got a taste of a mint chocolate frappachino. I now had a dream – to be like the Beatles – writing cool songs, performing for screaming crowds, and being chased by adoring girls. I pursued my dream through high school and college, writing songs and playing in a rock band, “Phoosh” (the sound of something going by real fast). I’m sure that Phish stole our name years later.

When Jesus saved me I “Christianized” my dream. Now instead of dreaming about opening for the Beatles in Shea Stadium, I wanted to dazzle throngs at Jesus festivals.

But God didn’t give me my dream.

In fact, one day my mother confronted me about how my “pipe dream”, as she called it (Mom was blunt) was actually hindering me. In living for my dream, I wasn’t preparing for any other options. I wasn’t diligently looking for a job, though I had an art education degree. I was disdaining being a “common” teacher because after all, I was going to be a big Christian star ministering to thousands in concert.

Mercifully, God helped me listen to my Mom and I took a job as an elementary art teacher. By God’s grace I decided to work heartily as to the Lord. And God used my teaching experience to humble me and in many other ways to prepare me for pastoring, my life’s calling.

I’m glad God didn’t give me my dream. Because he had something better for me I never could have imagined. I wouldn’t trade places with Sting for anything.

If your dreams are on hold, be encouraged – God is probably preparing something far better for you. Something you could never imagine.

Originally Published August 5, 2008


  • Emily says:

    thanks. that is so encouraging.

  • How sweet! I love to see how God orchestrates the lives of His children (and others, for that matter!) with such beautiful precision and delicacy. It is an encouragement to know that whatever I can imagine for myself, God is not only imagining, but actually making His dreams and desires for my life come true!

  • Lisa says:

    Mark, I have been pursuing a dream during the past year and a half to serve God overseas. At first the doors seemed to fly open, but now the path as grown stone cold. How did you discern the direction to take when your dreams seemed to die or take new directions?

  • I’m glad the Lord would encourage you Emily.

    Thanks for your comment Rachel! I too am glad that God fulfills his desires for our lives.

    Lisa, it’s hard to discern God’s will at times. Acts 16.7 says, “And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.” Paul was trying to serve the Lord by going into Bithynia, but the door was closed.

    I do know this though. In James the Lord promises that if we ask for wisdom he will give it to us. In Psalm 32.8 the Lord promises, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”

    God promises to instruct you and guide you in the way you should go. He desires you to serve him more than you do, so he will make sure to make his will known to you.

    At these times, the Lord would just have us continue to seek him and trust that he will guide us. He will make his way known to you Lisa.

  • Lisa says:

    Thank you for these great words of encouragement. The promise of God’s wisdom in James has been a great comfort. I also have been continuously reminded of the fact that he rejoices in doing us good with all his heart and soul (Jeremiah 32:41). Now THAT is good news! I just have to hold on to it minute by minute — and beat down my impatience and pride.

  • Lisa, Jeremiah 32:41 is one of my favorite verses. Impatience…I can certainly relate. God has a perfect timing for his plans for you. It’s just so hard to wait sometimes, but he will make it clear.

  • beth says:

    dad. you’ve never had a mint whatever frappachino…

    good tho, thank you for this

  • Beth, I have had a mint chocolate frapachino – a couple weeks ago. Made me kind of sick.

  • beth says:

    i bet. they look pretty gross.
    i still like my coffee (or tea) and soymilk.

  • Regina Hott says:

    Thanks for this. It was a wonderful reminder ;)

  • Ginny says:

    Holy wow, Mark. This hit home. Thank you!

  • John Butler says:

    Mark, I think the dream was in reach – but the high-waters you guys wore did you in. How many of us chased stupid things? I'm reading a really good book – SENSNG JESUS – strange title, but rich content. He talks about how hard it is for us just to be happy where we are doing mundane things with other ordinary folks. Very convicting. Imagine if we didn't have TV and were never able to watch Ed Sullivan and see the adoration people gave the Beatles (and the Stones, Loving Spoonful – remember those knickers & autoharp??, etc.) – would we have been as sucked in… who knows? Because of them, I would listen to the little transistor radio under my pillow for the "top ten countdown" on WINX (WINX Action Radio – the Mighty 1-6-OH with "Hairy Barry Richards") every night to see what made number 1 that week… And so began the downward slide to mediocrity at everything…c

  • ed elliott says:

    This is the continual refrain of jolly 21st century books, sermons, and blog posts: "If your dreams are on hold, be encouraged – God is probably preparing something far better for you " OR, your fervent dreams are denied and there is nothing to replace them but more drudgery, in this life under the sun…

  • Arnold Bruveris says:

    Thanks Mark – for your transparency.. this is coming at a perfect time in my life… I'm so glad it didn't happen for me too.

  • sevennotesofgrace says:

    Thanks Mark, I think that I secretly would like to have done that with music also, but God has kept me working away faithfully in a 'small' church or two over the last decades, encouraging people with non-superstar Christian musicians and songs. Thanks for your songs too!

  • Nicole McLernon says:

    Thank you for this reminder. I'm in the "dreams on hold" state right now. And this was a timely article to help me remember that His timing and plan is perfect.

  • sara says:

    God was busy fulfilling your mom's dream…for you to be a humble servant of God. at least someone God their dream! haha.
    I pray I get my same dream for my girls as well! :-)

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