Last week I heard about a friend of a friend who is taking 9 months off to travel around the world with her family.

I felt so jealous.

I immediately started planning my own year long around the world trek.

Then I put on my scrubs and drove to the ER.

The truth is that no matter how good it sounds, your dream can easily become a lofty idea that steals your present joy.

When it comes to living out your dreams, stop and ask yourself these 6 critical questions:

#1 Why aren’t you living out your dream?

So? Go around the world in a year. Move to Africa and start an orphanage. Write that book. What is it that you’re dying to do but haven’t started doing? What’s standing in the way of moving forward? Is it fear? It might be time to push through your fear and take some uncomfortable steps towards living out your dream. Or it might be time to do some basic planning.

#2 Are you just looking for a way to escape?

The problem with dreams is that sometimes, they’re just excuses. You feel stuck. You dream of something better. But seriously…the answer may not be in buying a ticket around the world but in looking inside and asking some difficult questions.

#3 Will you really be happy if you do this?

The truth is that if you’re like me, you’ll buy that ticket and get on that plane, and find yourself on a beach somewhere in Thailand wondering how in heaven’s name you got yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere all by your lonesome self. The truth is that if you’re not happy right now odds are that you’ll still not be very happy living out your so called dream.

#4 What can you do to be happy right now?

What’s behind your present discontent? Is it a lack of gratitude? Is it a lack of healthy relationships in your life? Most of the current challenges we face are a result of answered prayers we asked in the past. You asked for a husband, and today you’re struggling to be happy in your marriage. You asked to influence people, and today you’re complaining about the duress of life in ministry. What we need is a change of perspective not a change of location.

#5 Is it God’s dream for you too?

Dreams are awesome when they’re God given. He has created us for good works which He has prepared before hand that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). I wonder how many of us are struggling because we’re hanging on to dreams that God never meant for us to have in this lifetime to begin with? The surest way to joy is in surrendering all of our dreams to God.

#6 Is it God’s dream for you yet?

Ok, ok. So you do know your dream is God’s dream. Great. Now are you willing to trust him with the timing? You might still travel around the world in 180 days, but you might have to wait until He says go to do it. Are you willing to wait? Are you willing to choose joy right now wherever you are until God says go?

Hey, stop wishing you were someplace else doing something else with someone else.

God has a perfect plan for you right where you are today. Enjoy it!