Hold on to dreams and they will hold on to you
Have you ever noticed how insights are not always welcomed into the world? Not infrequently, the arrival of a message is greeted like an unwanted child: with resentment, fear and sometimes malice.
The bearer of the message can be so excited at the fact of its arrival or novelty of the insight that he or she can be blind or insensitive to its impact on others.
So the inventor of a new labour-saving device forgets that it may lead to job losses; the designer of a more efficient system misses the implied criticism of the previous approach;the presenter of a new idea gets a surprise at the irritation expressed by cynics who despise anything new.
If the new message is birthed in an already dysfunctional group, hallmarked by jealousy and rivalries, then the reception will be frosty. Even more problematic, if the content of the message merely feeds the existing resentment, then downright hostility is on the horizon; which brings us to the man who seemed to live between sleep and awake, the archetypal dreamer himself: Joseph – son of Jacob, destined to become Prime Minister of Egypt as well as the subject of a Broadway musical.
Aged 17, Joseph lives in a climate of jealousy created by the folly of his father, who has shown favouritism to him above all his older brothers. Remember that this is a family, but it is also a family business, as they lived off the land.
Enter (in Joseph’s soul) two dreams, both implying that he will be elevated to a high position and his father and brothers will bow down to him. The scene is set for a showdown; there is no easy way to handle this.
For our part, you and I need to see if we can grab some lessons for this week, so here are a few for you:
Firstly, Joseph was an extraordinarily sensitive soul; his life story revealed an unusual gift in the area of dreams and visions. There are some people – maybe you are one – who are peculiarly gifted and sensitive in this field, but the people and the dreams need to be handled with great care. Unfortunately both may be despised, misunderstood or attacked very quickly, so as a first thought, don’t despise the dreamer in you or, if you know someone who is, don’t despise them.
Secondly, Joseph needed to learn how to communicate his insight wisely. As you plot his life course, you will see that he grew, not only in his ability to understand this area, but also in how to handle the communications; having a dream is a gift – sharing it is a skill.
Thirdly, there may be times when there is no way to avoid a negative reaction. The challenge remains to share sensitively but the main question is, ‘is it true?’ The truth of Joseph’s early dreams would have been very important to him in the dark times. He had to hold on to his dreams through pits, prisons and suffering. His dreams also provided the backdrop for his vindication before his family and co-workers.
Sometimes holding on to a dream is very expensive, but if you are sure it is from the divine source and you are sure it is true, not only must you hold on to it, but you will find it holds on to you.
Joseph made many mistakes early on, and throughout his career, but he held on to his dreams and they held on to him.
If you are a dreamer, hold on; if you are not, you may want to seek to become one; if you can’t do that, then find a dreamer and stay close; God moves in such ways.
2 Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”8 His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. 9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
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