Do you have a dream squasher in your life?
Fat, vibrant orange pumpkins. Rusty rakes and piles of brown leaves. The smell of leaves burning and the promise of hot dogs and marshmallows when we're done, if everyone works hard. These are precious pictures that hang in the gallery of my mind when someone mentions fall. I can't fail to mention crunchy, fresh apples and then there's hot apple pies with crumb pecan topping...
or squash in a rainbow of colors with funny names from A to Z
Acorn squash. Bumpy squash. Striped squash. Yellow crook-necked squash, I love that name! A little granny, trying to get someone to gather the squash from the garden, named that one. Spaghetti squash, my personal favorite. Slick, emerald green Zucchini squash! Wonder who named that one? Zucchini...somebody didn't want to share that squash. Which by the way is Wayne's favorite squash! If you like zucchini squash, you'll drool over these luscious looking dishes. I like them all, whether they are fried, steamed or added to soup just like Elijah in the Bible. Well actually, that didn't work out too well for him.
I realize that some of you don't need Elijah's story to keep squash off your dinner plate. Even if you never serve squash on your table, you may still have a squasher sit at your table.
- They squash almost anything positive.
- Almost anything that doesn't originate with them.
Please don't misunderstand me, squashers are not
the same as the voice of experience that redirects ideas or helps you refocus when you get sidetracked.
Squashers are people that drain the joy and the energy right out of everyone around them.
- They look ordinary. I'm sure you've met at least one or maybe you are one....naw!
- They come in all sizes and races.
- They are both male and female.
- They can be relatives -- even parents or siblings.
How do you recognize them?
always have a reason why you can't do what you must do to go to the next level.
are out spoken.
are fearful or wounded or both
are content where they are and don't want you to grow, reach or expand either
are afraid your success will reflect on them and make them look unsuccessful.
Ever been squashed by one? Ouch!
Many years ago, I'm too young to put it that way, I volunteered as the Children's Ministry Leader in our church. In a scheduled appointment, I shared my dream of expanding the influence of my ministry beyond the church. It was a creative idea that I still think could have blessed the community and the church, but my pastor curtly interrupted my idea and ended the conversation by emphasizing the church would never be a part of that.
For some reason, I never suggested it again, even when I served under different pastors. That was a major dream squasher.
My dream was squashed before I had a good handle on how to make it happen. Maybe that's why it got squashed, I shared the dream before it had been incubated properly. There's a real lesson in that. More on that subject another time.
Don't share your dreams with dream squashers.
I though I was sharing my dream with someone that could help me. Maybe that's what Joseph thought, but instead of helping him they hated him even worse. ( Gen. 37:5 )Maybe sharing his dream sounded like bragging to the brothers. And maybe Joseph was bragging. They asked, “Do you actually believe that you are going to rule over us?”
Sharing his dream was like pouring gasoline on a fire. They were jealous. They ridiculed him behind his back, with "Here comes the dreamer." They plotted to end his dreaming by killing him.
The sad thing is these squashers do influence us.
- They discourage us.
- They keep us from reaching for the next rung on the ladder of success, or expanding our knowledge base, or meeting new people.
- They stifle us.
- They keep us from growing, believing, doing more, becoming more. You get the picture.
The truth is:
"You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth?" Galatians 5:7 NLT
Once you identify a squasher, how do you minimize their influence?
- Realize you can't fix them.
- Pray for them.
- Ignore them when you can. Limit their access when you can't ignore them.
Relationships can have different levels.
There are some people that we have given access to private areas of our lives. Sometimes that is a good thing and sometimes its not.
If you have given the wrong person access then you may need to begin dialing it back. While it is more difficult to dial a relationship back a level or two once you have a close friendship, it may be necessary if they are squashing your dreams and ideas.
That process can be painful, so be loving, kind, and prayerful as you proceed to ease the door shut on that area of your life.
Protect a fragile dream from curious or glaring eyes.
Learn to keep your mouth shut. Don’t tell everything you know.
Don't give people access to areas that you need to keep off limits. Be careful what and with whom you share important ideas and plans.
Just because they ask a question doesn't mean they need to know the answer.
- There is nothing wrong with kindly saying,
- "I'm uncomfortable talking about that right now."
- "I'm not sure how to answer that question."
- "Why do you ask?"
- Then move to a subject that you both love.
Focus on their strengths, without allowing their weakness, their squasher tendency to affect you.
- Set clear boundaries.
- Avoid opening conversation doors that give them access to your dreams or growth strategy.
Father, Please help
my reader friend to be watchful, not critical, but wise so they don't pull their dreams out only to have them squashed. Help them to recognize the difference between a God dream and just a nice idea. Help them dream your dreams and see them fulfilled. Amen.
I plan to chat with you more on Thursday about Dream Squashers- Could you be squashing your own dreams?
I need your help. If you enjoyed this post please share it with a friend. Help me expand my borders to encourage, equip and energize more people!