As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been a dreamer. As a kid, I dreamed of being a cartoonist, someday working for Marvel or DC Comics. As a teen, I dreamed of being a journalist then a musician, even recording a solo studio album. In my early twenties, I thought I might make it big in a rock and blues band. Nearing my thirties, I dreamed of reducing or eliminating weight-related prejudice in the world. In my forties, I decided to start writing novels in hopes of someday being published. And now, that dream is coming true.
To realize a dream, you have to believe it can come true. You have to have hope. You have to understand that you have value as a person. I was fortunate when I was growing up, since my parents, especially my mother, taught me to believe in myself. She repeatedly assured me that I could do anything I set my mind to. My father's life proved it to me. He was also very inspiring. I am well aware that many people are not fed such encouragement. This can lead to a lot of self-doubt, anxiety and potentially overwhelming fear of failure. Those feelings cause some people to delay or even sabotage their own dreams.
The little bit of advice I would offer to anyone who was not encouraged by their parent(s) or faced neglect or abuse in their formative years is this: There is still hope. God believes in you or He would not have made you. He let each and every one of us be born into this world, as challenging and cruel as it can be at times, for a purpose. He can help all of us achieve something special and meaningful. He just wants us to trust Him.
The song I included above tells the story of how I wished to fall in love. I knew I wanted to get married and have a family someday. That dream began when I was ten years old. I wrote “(There’s Always Time For) Dreams & Wishes” in 1990, after I’d experienced my heartbreaking first love. But I wasn’t discouraged. I knew if I fell in love once, I could fall in love again. I wanted to find someone who would share that love and make a commitment with me.
A year after I wrote that song, I met the woman who would become my wife. We had to fight for our love, being an interracial couple in Central Texas during the 1990s. But we persevered and did marry in 1995. Even so, it took the Lord to solidify that matrimony and give it a lasting foundation. My wife and I gave our lives to Jesus Christ and invited His Holy Spirit into our hearts -- and our marriage. This year, we celebrated twenty-three years of that union. We have three wonderful children, two sons and a daughter. They are the realization of my dream and I will be forever grateful to the Lord for them.
Time and reality taught me that some dreams are more realistic than others. As a kid and teen, I might have been interested in Star Trek and science fiction but I knew I was never going to be an engineer like the USS Enterprise’s Mr. Scott or a military captain like James T. Kirk. My medical issues made military service impossible and I did not have a passion for number-crunching or other related skills. I was more about creating stories: comics, news stories or songs.
And by the time I attended college, even my dream of being a journalist was shattered. I saw for myself that, even in 1991, what made the “news” was too often determined by political and business reasoning than the idealistic pursuit of the truth. And that's what I had always thought journalism was about, it drove my passion. Still, I never quite gave up my journalism skills, I just found different ways to use them. I contributed articles and design skills to an e-zine for years and then hosted or co-hosted podcasts and conducted interviews.
Dreams have a way of hanging on, even against tough circumstances. They only die if you let them.
Something I have come to understand recently is that all dreams have a price. It will always take time and effort. Sometimes you have to start over to reach what you want. Sometimes the cost is in relationships. It depends on the dream and the individual. To achieve my dream of being a novelist, I had to hand over my talent to God and His Son, Jesus Christ. It was never really “my” talent anyway, only what the Lord imbued me with.
When I sought the Lord through earnest and daily prayer, asking Him to inspire me, that is what changed my course and started me down this path. It started with the Mindfire novel in 2013. I knew my characters and the various comic book plots I had created over the years, but it was the Lord who organized everything and helped me focus. By the time I finished the editing in 2016, it had transformed from an interesting but admittedly so-so first draft to a powerful novel. Mindfire had something to say. And it stood on its own as something new and unique. However it might be received once published next year, I am proud of it.
I repeated the process with Jordan’s World. Only with this novel, I was starting from scratch. I had to lean on the Lord even more, every step of the way. And He blessed. Jordan's World has a different message than Mindfire but it points to the same God. And the two Jordan sequels will be handled the same way.
So, what am I trying to say here? You can dream, but be careful. Ask yourself what your dream will demand of you -- your time, your relationships with those close to you, your money -- or will the cost be to your soul, who you are as a person? Will it change you for the better or worse? How will you balance your dream with real life?
It takes confidence to follow a dream. What have you placed your confidence in? If it's only yourself, that's very risky and could exact a high price. Only God and His Son, Jesus Christ, can provide the inspiration, confidence and security to achieve lasting happiness. They can do anything, so the fulfillment of a dream is hardly a challenge. And when you place Them first in your life, they may give you a new dream that was better than what you originally wanted.
Matthew 7: 8 - 15 (KJV) “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Matthew 7: 24 - 27 (KJV): “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian, happily interracially married since 1995. Father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.