You know it. It’s that thing you’ve always told yourself you’d get around to doing…someday. After you pay off that loan. Or after the kids leave home. Or after…(you pick the reason).
That thing is your dream. It’s the thing that gets you excited just thinking about it. It’s the thing that feels right for you, as if God made you for it. It feels right, it’s “just not the right time,” you keep telling yourself.
The book of Proverbs says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12). Deferring our dreams until that magical moment when everything lines up to make it spring to life is not prudence, it’s fantasy. And it makes our heart sick. Eventually, if you’ve put it off long enough, the sicken heart forgets the dream altogether. That which once brought excitement and anticipation quietly vanquishes.
“A longing fulfilled is a tree of life,” the Proverbs reminds us. But how do we pursue longings that seem so unachievable—so much like a dream—from where we are right now? A critical first step is to recognize that anything worth doing comes with its own form of resistance. I call that a Dream Tax. Dream Taxes are anything that weakens the pursuit of your dream. It could be money, or energy, or inexperience, or any other excuse you conjure up for not pursuing it.
The key to fulfilling your dream is recognizing that every dream has a tax, and then naming the tax you’re currently paying. Even if you’re intentionally pursuing your dream, there’s still a tax to be paid. I was once told that you can measure the size of your commitment by what it takes to stop you. That’s a good way to think about it. The Dream Tax is like a fence. It stands in the way of where you want to be, and it’s easier just to stay on this side of it. But the tree of life is on the other side of the fence. Could something as small as a fence keep you from it?
What tax are you paying on your dream right now?