As long as I can remember, I’ve always had dreams. Johnnie Colemon, my spiritual mentor, says that a dream is “God tapping at the door of your soul,” saying “let me express more of Myself in you, through you, and as you.” In my interactions with people the world over, I have discovered that few people understand the power and potential within their dreams, and even fewer give themselves permission to explore and express the bold desires of their hearts.
Your boldest dreams are God’s invitation to the greatest adventure of your life, and they come to you because they are for you. While our dreams may at times seem lofty and impossible, rather than fear them, we can see them as a crown that challenges us, to use the words of Howard Thurman, “to grow tall enough to wear.” They are not only there for the accumulation of personal successes, material possessions, and societal accolades. Your dreams are placed in your soul as a pathway to releasing your potential and awakening your purpose for being.
Shortly after graduating from Morehouse College, one of my boldest dreams introduced itself to me. The 1999 Parliament of the World’s Religions was holding its convention in Cape Town, South Africa. Nelson Mandela and His Holiness the Dalai Lama were the keynote speakers. When I saw the brochure, my heart pounded, my mouth watered, and my soul said, “I’m there!”
I leaped up and immediately circled the dates on my calendar. With no evidence, finances, or connections to underwrite my confidence, I remained absolutely certain that I was going to be at that convention and I was going to shake the hand of President Mandela.
That summer, I volunteered with Dr. Colemon, who needed me to organize (of all things) a Prayer Breakfast for a delegation of local ministers who were attending the Parliament in South Africa. I eagerly organized the breakfast and added myself to the program to give the closing prayer. In the audience was the President of the Parliament, Dirk Ficca, who was so impressed with the prayer and my young age that he extended to me an all-expense-paid trip to attend as a youth delegate to the Parliament!
The day arrived and as I was entering the venue, I bumped into an angel in the form of Michael Beckwith. Before I knew it, President Mandela, South Africa’s favorite son, walked in, glowing with that unforgettable smile. He lit up the room. We all instantly assembled as he walked to each one of us, shook our hands, and exchanged pleasantries. When it was my turn, I grasped his hand and received a surge. I looked into his eyes. His eyes had not dimmed, despite the atrocities he’d faced in the struggle to rid South Africa of the oppressive apartheid system. Time stood still, and I realized that I was standing there holding hands with history, while living my boldest dream. It was absolutely thrilling. My colleague from the youth delegation recalls, “We were walking into the arena together and then you disappeared. The next thing I knew, you were on stage with the other delegates presenting The World Season for Nonviolence Award to President Nelson Mandela!”
My intention for sharing this is to encourage you to respond to the prompting to fulfill the boldest dream in your heart. It’s bold for a reason, because it requires bold faith, bold trust, and bold persistence. However, remember in your pursuit, you are not alone because you have the bold partnership of your Source.
So whether your dream is to build your own home, run for President, find a cure for cancer, or complete a triathlon, go for it with reckless abandon. “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” As Catherine Ponder says, “Let it be your good pleasure to receive it.”