Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Picking up Shattered Dreams

David Wilson had the same dream many of us had as children: he dreamed of playing running back in the National Football League. Unlike most of us, his hard work and dedication, coupled with his God-given talents, made that dream came true. The New York Giants drafted him as running back in 2012. "At a young age I had a dream to play in the NFL. And I did that. I played in the NFL, and I scored touchdowns, and I broke tackles, and I broke and set records."

In just his second season in the NFL, however, his dream came into jeopardy. Wilson suffered a serious neck injury in October 2013. But that didn't diminish his drive to continue in the NFL. He worked all the harder to recovery, regain his strength and stamina, and return to his life's dream.

Just two weeks ago Wilson was out on the Giant's practice field doing just that when he aggravated his injury. After consulting with doctors he announced last week that he must set aside his dream and retire from the NFL. His lifelong dream died at the age of 23.

Every one of us faces that sort of setback in our life at one point or another. Deeply cherished dreams die, timetables get broken, jobs are lost, marriages crumble, and friends go their separate ways. For some of us midlife hits us with the realization our life will never go the way we thought it would, and like Solomon we conclude, "All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?" (See Ecclesiastes 1:2-3.)

What do you do when your dreams lie shattered at your feet? We can learn a lot from a 23- year-old. David Wilson didn't sit and pity himself; instead, he kept his head up and began looking to see where he could go from here. He said, "Don't for a second do you all think that I'm pitying myself or sad because I got to live my dream. I'll set another dream and be great at that because I always look at trying to be great at whatever I do."

First, he expressed thankfulness to God for the time He gave him to do the thing he loved the most, and then he opened his eyes to see what new path God was placing in front of him. Wilson advises us, "Even if one dream seems to fade away, set another goal, set another dream, and try to reach that."

What great disappointments have you faced? What new path(s) did God open for you? How have you responded to this change of direction?

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