Is God calling to you by giving you dreams about your future? How should you live in the present when you’re thinking about where God wants you to be? How do your daily habits bring about the reality of your calling? Is God more committed to seeing your dream come to life than you are?
Bible Gateway interviewed Ryan Romeo (@ryanromeo) about his book, Head in the Clouds, Feet on the Ground: A Survival Guide for Creatives, Visionaries, and Dreamers (Zondervan, 2020).
What does it mean to have your head in the clouds and your feet in the ground?
Ryan Romeo: We have to keep that child-like dreamer in us alive. As we get older, dreaming about the what-ifs get’s harder and harder. As Christians, we have to be people of big vision and big dreams. But on the other side, we have to take seriously the season we’re in now. We have to use what’s in our hands now with passion and purpose. We need that balance.
Do you believe all dreams are from God?
Ryan Romeo: The short answer is no. As followers of Jesus, we need to determine the why behind our dream. Many people dream of having a lot of Instagram followers or speaking on stage. But why do you want those things? So when sifting a dream, I have people ask themselves some basic questions. Does your dream include or lead to sin (obvious, I know)? Is your dream based on someone else’s life? Is your dream too small? Beyond that, a God-given dream must result in God’s name is being glorified, confidently walking in your giftings and the darkness of the world is being rolled back. If it passes those tests, I say start!
How does the Bible characterize dreams and what are their lessons for us?
Ryan Romeo: The Bible is full of people with big, God-given dreams and visions. Nehemiah, Ruth, Joseph among many others. But in every instance you see that these dreams belong to God, not them. They’re called to steward their dream. Many times we think we own our dream. It can make us prideful and entitled. It can also cause us to be fearful and hide our giftings. In 1 Corinthians 6 Paul says, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” The context of this verse is talking about your bodies and purity. But they’re phrases that are true no matter what the context. If we pursue God-given dreams and know that they come from God, then we’re called to throw ourselves into them as an investment into expanding the kingdom of Jesus.
You write that many dreamers need a dose of humility and others need a dose of confidence. How do you know which one you need?
Ryan Romeo: I often start asking myself some basic questions: Am I consistently trying to push myself into the spotlight? Am I trying to take authority where it isn’t given? Do I resist the “small jobs” and serving others where I’m unseen? Often times, those are signs that humility and patience are needed. On the other hand, do you find yourself hiding your gifts and talents from those around you? Are you avoiding opportunities because of fear? This is often a sign that we need some shifting of our identity. But ultimately, Psalm 139:1-4 says, “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.” God is the sifter and discerner of motives. Our job is to keep a steady eye on him and pay attention to ourselves. It’s hard to have unhealthy motives when we have a healthy relationship with Jesus.
What advice do you have for someone who has a job that isn’t building toward their dream?
Ryan Romeo: My favorite story on this subject is Joseph. Joseph is a man with a dream. It’s big but not specific. God tells Joseph that he’ll basically be a man of great influence. How he gets there or even what he’ll be doing when he gets there is not clear. But after Joseph naively shares his audacious dream to an unreceptive crowd, his life goes down the tubes. Betrayal. Slavery. Imprisonment. But at every stage, Joseph keeps his feet on the ground. In Genesis 39 while a slave in Potiphar’s house it says “When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant.” Potiphar’s hose isn’t a career stepping stone for Joseph. It’s seemingly a dead end. But in every stage of Joseph’s life he remained faithful and worked hard. Ultimately I’d say that how we treat any job is seen by God. And when we excel, it’s an act of faith. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
How does a person kabash their dream?
Ryan Romeo: Kabash is this bold word in Hebrew that’s translated to English as subdue. It’s found in Genesis 1 when God says for people to “fill the Earth and subdue it.” Our job is to rule and form the world around us. Not in a dictatorial or destructive way, but in a creative and serving way. Like a lump of clay to an artist, we’re to form the chaos and disorder we’ve been given and form it into something beautiful. We need to do the same with our dreams. We may have a dream that begins with a general passion or desire, but we need to dive deeper into the why of our dream. If our why is to bless people and glorify God, then great! If not, we’ll have to kabash our dreams into God-dreams.
What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?
Ryan Romeo: Lately I’ve been talking a lot about the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25. It’s a great reminder of the fact that God has invested into his children. He’s invested gifts, talents, and passions into each one of us. And our job is to invest it. Multiply it. Work hard to expand the kingdom. At the end of my life, I long to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App and Bible Audio App?
Ryan Romeo: I love Bible Gateway! I’ve been using it daily for a lot of years. I think there are few tools out there that are more effective at helping you read and study the Bible.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Ryan Romeo: For people reading this, don’t take your giftings, dreams, and passions for granted. God created you on purpose and for a purpose. So step confidently into the calling that God has for you!
Head in the Clouds, Feet on the Ground is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.
Bio: Ryan Romeo is the creative director and co-founder of the OUTCRY worship tour and author of the book Outcry. In the first three years, the OUTCRY tour traveled to over 86 cities, and has reached nearly a million people. He is currently the pastor of creative arts at Living Streams Church in Phoenix, AZ, where he lives with his wife, Blake, and their three children.
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