Take a stroll down the self-help section of any bookstore and you will find plenty of books to help you think and dream bigger. These books (many quite excellent, others not so much) will challenge you to find your purpose—the reason you were born. These titles resonate with us because deep within most of us have that yearning for significance. We want to feel that our life counts. We long for that sense of belonging and meaning. If you’re like me, you dream of the day when you can spend more time pursuing your passions. To be human is to search for the answers to bring those dreams to fruition. There is only one problem. It is called “the DRAGONS”.
I do agree that there is within each one of us a higher calling or a transcendent purpose. God created that yearning within you. Your purpose is that intersection where God’s will, your personal joy, and your service to people intersect. In an ideal world, it is your destiny.
So, why is it that so many people (most in fact) never reach that lofty perch?
The reason is that there is an adversary to your destiny. In the Bible (1 Peter 5:8), we are told that this enemy’s objective is your destruction. We are given the admonition to “be alert and of sober mind” in order to resist this onslaught.
There are many names for this “adversary”. Christian tradition calls him “Satan” or “the Devil”. Steven Pressfield in his bestselling book, the War of Art calls it “the Resistance”. I have coined another term to capture this insidious foe. I call it “the DRAGONS”.
The DRAGONS primary objective is to keep you from your own pursuit of influence. It is easy to think of the enemy as some mystical force that is difficult to qualify or pinpoint. it is also easy to think of the enemy of our dreams as some external aggressor that impinges upon our aspirations.
I like to think of it as “the DRAGONS” because it helps me understand that the enemy’s power tends to impact us more internally than externally. The enemy does this not by hurling a single stone at us. Rather, the adversary of your dreams uses a full onslaught of siege warfare to derail you from your ordained path. The DRAGONS represent a seven-part collective that is intent on your destruction. That is the tough news.
The good news, however, is that because the DRAGONS’ strategy centers on a foundation of lies, when you embrace the truth you ultimately hold the power over them. In other words, you decide how much destruction, if any, the DRAGONS unleash. In the presence of each of the DRAGONS, there is an alternate reality (which happens to be the truth). That is the great news.
In obedience to the admonition to “be sober and alert” to defeat the DRAGONS, here are the seven DRAGONS and the lie that each of them spews. But, for each lie, there is a KINGDOM mindset that allows you to have the ultimate victory.
Part I of this article presents the seven DRAGONS and the lies they tell. Next week we will introduce the KINGDOM mindset to empower you to destroy them before they destroy you.
Seven Lies to Destroy Your Dreams
DRAGONS is a seven-letter acrostic that captures represents the tools that the enemy of your dreams using to dissuade you from believing in who you were designed to be. Though individual, each one interweaves the other to destabilize your faith in who you are called to become.
- [D] DOUBT – is the first of the DRAGONS. While certain types of doubt can be good for you, the DRAGONS use DOUBT to shake your self-confidence. It is self-DOUBT. It is uncertainty about what you are truly built to do. It is paralyzing because it leaves you stuck between belief and disbelief. DOUBT is “no man’s land”.
DOUBT’s lie sounds something like this “There is no way you can achieve your dream. That’s a fantasy. You don’t have what it takes.”
- [R] REGRET – is a focus on the disappointments from the past. The DRAGONS will keep you looking behind you at where you’ve come from. The strategy is simple. If you keep looking backwards, you can never follow your dreams. REGRET starts with mild disappointment. But, when dwelled on it morphs into disillusionment and detachment from your passions. Your past becomes your peril.
REGRET’s lie sounds like this “You can never recover from that mistake.”
- [A] APATHY – is the DRAGONS tool of indifference. With the paralyzing nature of DOUBT and your head focused on REGRETS from your past, you end up in limbo. Try a simple experiment. Turn your head (but not your torso) as far to one side as possible. Then try to walk straight ahead in the direction your torso is pointing. It’s nearly impossible to walk straight. You will lose your way. And, the longer it continues the more you risk losing your very soul.
APATHY’s lie sounds like this “So what if you don’t go for it? What difference does it really make?“
- [G] GUILT – is the DRAGONS way of filling you with shame. Shame erodes your sense of self—leaving your self-esteem and confidence in shambles. The DRAGONS use guilt to make you feel unworthy of your dreams. They use facts. Yes. But, they don’t tell the truth.
GUIILT’s lie sounds like this “You are a hypocrite. If others knew what you did/think they would never listen to you. You better stay in the closet.”
- [O] OBSTINANCE – is used by the DRAGONS to make you inflexible and stubborn to change. It is what Dr. Carol Dweck, in her book “Mindset: The new psychology of success” calls the “Fixed Mindset” that limits what you can see as your options. Obstinance renders you closed-minded. Outside opinions are devalued in favor of your own. You struggle even to hear from God. You are becoming an island.
OBSTINANCE’s lie sounds like this “Nobody can tell you what to do or think. They don’t know what you know.”
- [N] NARCISSISM – is the outgrowth of uncontrolled obstinance. Ironically, this extreme self-centeredness is characterized by a real loss of who you really are. Service to others is practically non-existent unless it directly benefits your needs.
NARCISSISM’s lie sounds like this “You shouldn’t do anything that doesn’t make you happy.“
- [S] SCARCITY – is the final and most deadly of the DRAGONS. No matter what, SCARCITY never has enough. SCARCITY takes one of two tacts. In a time of abundance, SCARCITY tells you to hoard and control all that you can because you never want to be in a position of lack. Forget the needs of others. In times of lack, SCARCITY focuses you on what you do not have. SCARCITY tell you how little time, talent, looks, energy, or money (to name a few) that you have.
SCARCITY’s lie sounds like this “Who are you kidding? You don’t have time to live your dream. That’s just a pipe dream. They just want what they can get out of you anyway.”
There you have the seven DRAGONS. They are legion. You can see the progressive nature of their entrapment. They start their attack on you with a little seed of DOUBT. But, in the end you’re left with a profound sense of emptiness. The DRAGONS will destroy you if you are not sober and alert. Now that you know what their lies sound like, you can recognize their assault for what it is.
In Part 2 of this article, you will see the response that will thwart each of the DRAGONS. It centers on a truthful response to the DRAGONS lies. It is the KINGDOM.
I would love to hear your comments about the DRAGONS. Which one(s) resonate most with you? Why do you think they are effective? When you are at your best, how do you keep the DRAGONS out of your head?