I have been thinking lately about the difference between a dream and a vision. As a kid, I often dreamed of what it would be like to have plenty of food. I would go to sleep on a floor mat near the vent in our 3-room, shotgun apartment in North St. Louis City and this is what I would dream about. I often dreamed about the “successful” people living in the nicely manicured lawns and brick homes I saw while being bused to South St. Louis City for school. I dreamed about living life in those homes and not having my same concerns—in these dreams food was plentiful and I felt safe. As a young insecure teenager, I had nightmares (dreams) of living as an adult in overcrowded housing, not earning enough to take care of myself (not to mention a family), and meeting the same fate of my mom— an early death.
A transition began to occur during my youth and really accelerated deeper in my teen years that is hard to describe. I have an older brother who I admire. When mom wasn’t available to feed us, he took the lead in helping us figure this out. He had a vision of what we could do with the food that the local school discarded daily in their dumpster. We would frequent this dumpster and retrieve what we felt was perfectly fine food. I saw my oldest brother go to college on a football scholarship—he was determined to make it and had a vision that he would play professional ball. His vision lit my fire.
Through God’s grace and the help of many, I attended college and went all the way through to graduate.
As a professional I am reminded that dreams and visions are different. Dreams happen in our mind. Dreams can be man-made or divinely implanted. Dreams generally occur when we are at a state of complete rest. Dreams are generally an acceptable end point for those have who lived a long and happy life. Dreams are an acceptable ditch for those who do not have the motivation, know-how or confidence to act when they awake. For the young and on fire, for those who have confidants and champions who don’t judge but encourage, dreams should inspire vision. Vision requires that we take action and do something. And often that something is uncomfortable.
I am experiencing uncomfortable transition right now as a professional. Laboring a vision, while incredibly motivating, is painful. However, I prefer the pain than to remain in a perpetual state of sleep—for me, this describes death.