Count the Cost (Diet for Dreamers)


Previously we mentioned that if you’re going to accomplish anything worthwhile in life, you’ll need to make some sacrifices. Whether it’s building a lasting marriage, raising great kids, or achieving some long-held goal or dream, you’ll need to be willing to pay the price.

Every business deal, ministry, relationship, project, hobby, or activity — every great human endeavor — comes with a price tag. Once we understand this truth, we’ll tend to analyze and evaluate every goal and situation. We’ll start counting the cost before committing to something new. After all, would you agree to purchase an item without knowing its cost? Unless you’re Donald Trump, probably not. (But we seriously doubt even he  would make a blind financial decision.)

Once we stop long enough to count the cost in time, energy, effort, sacrifice, patience, love, understanding, and faithfulness, we won’t be so quick to enter in to just any relationship or project. Knowing we’re accountable when it comes to “paying the tab” might keep us from blindly charging into things. And the things we do decide to commit to, we’ll do so wholeheartedly, knowing the cost and being mentally prepared to pay it.

Some endeavors come at a truly great price. So it helps to be psychologically prepared. Ready to give it our best shot, so to speak. The author Charles Bukowski once wrote:

If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing [friends] and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. …You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is. (Factotum)

If you’re going to make a go of something, make a “good go” of it. No half-hearted attempts. “And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” (Colossians 3:23 King James 2000) But again, know before hand what the price is — what you’re getting into. Spare yourself and your loved ones any unnecessary heartache. Once you understand the cost of realizing ANY dream, and make a commitment to pay that cost, no matter what, you’ll be more likely to follow through on every endeavor.

Count the cost. Be committed and ready to foot the bill. Then stick with it and pay the price. “Jesus said … ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62 ESV) “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?” (Luke 14:28 NLT)


The Sacrifices We Make (Diet for Dreamers)


“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.” (J M Barrie, Peter Pan)

When we devised the title of this series, our thoughts ran along these lines: to accomplish anything in life, we need proper nutrition, and to achieve certain goals we need certain foods. A bodybuilder needs extra protein, a runner needs more carbs, and someone wanting to lose weight needs … uh, less of everything that’s truly delicious! This last example seems unfair, doesn’t it? But until someone invents a pill that consumes excess fat, a dieter will have to stick to his or her diet — which means sacrificing desserts.

Who’s dieting? I’m not dieting. I even ate a clock once. Talk about time consuming!

Anyone who’s trying to achieve great things also needs a special diet: Inspiration to feed the dreams, encouragement to foster the creativity; organization and strategy to make the most of time, talent and resources; and steadfast faith and a deep passion for the goal or dream, both of which can fuel a person all the way to the finish line — all the things we’ve discussed since we began this series.

And some dietary sacrifices will have to made, and that’s never easy; which is why many people quit — or cheat too often and too much. Diets only work if we’re willing to stick with them. Although occasionally we do need to give in to a craving in order to keep our sanity, most of the time we have to resign ourselves to sacrificing the foods we love (in the case of a nutritional diet) or the activities we love (in the case of a dreamer’s diet).

Writers, artists, actors and musicians who achieve a level of virtuosity, entrepreneurs who exceed their goals, researchers and inventors who make great breakthroughs, visionaries who change the world, and even people who build solid marriages and raise well-adjusted kids, all do so because they stick to their diets … and that usually means sacrificing certain things.

We have friends who — during their spare time — watch tons of television, or play video games almost non-stop, or participate in any number of other leisure activities. These people are relaxing and doing what they enjoy most, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We, on the other hand, want to achieve our goals, so we need to make the most of our time. (Personally, we’re always working on our books, articles and stories.) We can’t walk away from our day jobs, family responsibilities, and social obligations; and we have to take time to eat, sleep and shower, so what’s left usually goes to pursuing our dreams.

In other words, we sacrifice our leisure time — and that’s tough. Well, we all know dieting isn’t easy, but if we want to fit into our pants or achieve our dreams, we resign ourselves to making sacrifices.

We used to teach adult Bible classes for both singles and married couples. We wanted to do this, and we wanted to make a difference in the lives of our students. We wanted to give our best efforts to this pursuit, and that meant hours of personal study and course outlining. We had other responsibilities on week nights after work, and all day on Sundays, so we had to devote our Saturdays (our only “day off”) to preparing for our weekly class. Hence, we had to sacrifice our only opportunity to read and relax, or go for a walk and have a picnic.

We won’t lie, sacrificing our down time continues to be a challenge; and sometimes, seeing others at play while we toil away at extra (and optional) tasks can be a little irritating. But we keep reminding ourselves that, if we are to accomplish something — any thing — worthwhile, we need to stay on our diets and continue to sacrifice activities that could ruin our progress.

Can you relate? Do you find yourself getting a little envious of people relaxing while you’re working, training, studying, tinkering, analyzing, researching, practicing, or honing? Remind yourself, if you’re pursuing a goal then you’re simply paying the price. You need a certain diet with built-in sacrifices. Stick to it, and stop begrudging the guy next door who’s playing Candy Crush all day long. Your diet and sacrifices will make you a lean mean dreaming machine, and someday you will achieve great things! And the guy next door? He’s happy with his diet of computer games, and perhaps someday he’ll be the best Candy Crush player in the neighborhood!

Pay the price today, so you can celebrate tomorrow. It’s the diet we choose for ourselves, and the sacrifices we make to succeed. “…I count all things as loss compared to the surpassing excellence of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8 Berean Study Bible) “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14 NIV)