The Sacrifices We Make (Diet for Dreamers)

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“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.

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 be 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)

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Seriously Seasoned Superstars (Encouragement for Creators)

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When we continue to work hard and dream big, our greatest successes can often come later in life. Thursday’s post, “Geriatric Giant Slayers,” examined the lives of two men from the Bible, who achieved their dreams at ripe old ages — proving you’re never too gray to achieve your goals. We also discussed how age is relative. We’ve met people who are seventy and eighty-something, but who are real go-getters; and forty-year-olds who act like life is over. No matter how OLD you think you are, please don’t retire to the rocker just yet. Keep on dreaming and creating. We hope to inspire you with the examples of two modern-day Geriatric Giant Slayers:

Classic Morgan Freeman line: “Didn’t you get the memo?”

The award-winning actor Morgan Freeman didn’t simply burst onto the big screen; his fame and universally recognized voice and image are the culmination of years of hard work and perseverance, and it arrived much later in his life. First off, Freeman never actually planned to be an actor. He served four years in the U.S. Air Force as a mechanic before the acting bug bit. Then came years of small parts on the stage, leading to starring roles on the stage, leading to bit parts in television, leading to bigger and better things in several made-for-TV movies. Had he arrived? Not yet.

Freeman was destined to play Frederick Douglass, Thurgood Marshall, Nelson Mandela and GOD!! (And it was good.) Not to mention the brains who kept Batman fully equipped in three box-office bonanzas. But getting these plum assignments meant working several more years, in supporting roles (Sigh, again?) in smaller theatrical movies.

Finally, in 1989, Freeman wowed us in unforgettable roles in two big-budget movies, Glory and Driving Miss DaisyHe’d really hit the big time, and he was only 52! Today, at age 81, Freeman is spending his remaining golden years gentling rocking — as senators, scientists, doctors and diplomats — in an average of three movies a year! In fact, he’s one of the busiest actors in Hollywood! Didn’t you get the memo?

Excellent film adaptation of an excellent book series from the mind of Patrick O’Brian, a heavily seasoned writer!

Another late bloomer: Patrick O’Brian worked decades as a novelist but didn’t become more widely read and better known until he was in his late sixties. Suddenly his series of novels set during the Napoleonic Wars and featuring British Naval Captain Jack Aubrey and Ship’s Doctor and sometimes intelligence agent Stephen Maturin, were making the New York Times Bestsellers List. Walter Cronkite and Charlton Heston were among his avid readers, and after 20 engaging novels, as well as numerous Patrick O’Brian interviews and speaking engagements, a big-budget movie based on two of the books was filmed: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany.

O’Brian became a superstar in his seventies!

So you’re never too old to reach new heights. You’re never too old to dream, create, achieve your goals, and live life to the fullest!

“I will be your God throughout your lifetime — until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you.” (Isaiah 46:4 NLT)

“Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions.” (Joel 2:28 NLT)

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