The poet and essayist Dr. Samuel Johnson said, “The one who embarks on the voyage of life will always wish to advance rather by the impulse of the wind than the strokes of the oar; and many fold in their passage while they lie waiting for the gale.”

I think what he’s saying is that so many of us never get beyond the wishing, and I might add the dreaming, failing to realize that neither the wish nor the dream will ever become a reality except the wisher and dreamer man the oars and help make it so.

Wishing and dreaming can be a pleasant pastime, but that’s all it will do: pass the time. Before you know it, a big chunk of life will have passed with nothing accomplished. Then when you wake up from the dream—and there’s always a wakeup—it is often too late to bring about the wished-for and dreamt-about. And thus it is doomed to remain just a wish and a dream; how sad. So it’s my hope that you can see the downside of wishing and dreaming and guard yourself against its potential deadly consequence.

Am I saying that one should not have wishes and dreams? Of course not. However, in order to be successfully realized, a wish or dream must be transformed into a desire strong enough to become a plan—a plan that aims at a goal you are willing to suffer for, work for, discipline yourself for, and deny other wishes for.

You may recall that Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream—one that he shared with the world and then proceeded to work and eventually die for. And his dream did become a reality, bringing about much that was right and good.

It is my hope for you that if God gives you a good and worthy dream, you will turn it into a plan and a goal, and then man the oars and work at making it the reality it is capable of becoming.

Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.  —Proverbs 16:3