Q:I really want to go into business as a photographer – it’s always been my dream. I’m really afraid of failing, though. And my wife is concerned about how we will pay for health care. Should I take this risk on my dream?
A: The last word in your question, “dream,” is worthy of consideration. The words, “wish,” or “desire” are not accurate synonyms for the word “dream.” If it is truly your dream, you have to take into consideration the possible origin of your dream; is it a wish of yours – or is it God’s dream or plan for your life? Pope Benedict XVI, speaking to a half-million young people in 2007, stated, “Do not be afraid, Christ can fulfill the deepest aspirations of your heart! Could there be unrealizable dreams when it is the Spirit of God who awakens and cultivates them in the heart?” He continued, “This is why, dear friends, you must not be afraid to dream – with open eyes – of great projects of good, and you must not let yourselves be discouraged by difficulties.” His words are universally applicable. Last year, when I was teaching a staff development workshop on godly dreams, the class and I considered the pope’s words and developed a set of Christ-centered dream criteria. They included: Does your dream promote God’s glory and build his kingdom? Is it moral? Is it restorative or uplifting for you and others? Does it provide hope or generate faith? Is it authentically who God created you to be? All are essential criteria for both you and your wife to consider as you evaluate your dream to become a photographer. Of course, there are many people who will tell you that they or others have not been successful in a career as a photographer or as a _______. You fill in the blank. Yet, there are also numerous examples of people making a sustainable income who are bringing delight and improving the world through their photography skills. You, or your wife, may want to ask them how they found a means for providing health-care benefits.
There are three additional criteria to consider when evaluating the viability of your career dreams:
Do you have or can you develop a competitive skill set in the field of your dream? Is your dream a call to follow this particular mission or purpose for your life? Do you have a business plan that demonstrates how you will create a sustainable income, including benefits?
Before you make your final decision, consider your dream’s origin. If your dream is of divine origin, it may be an accountable call on your life, a dream that we may want to spell with a capital “D.”