I've been reading a lot of messages on the message board about how the opening of the studio affected you. Some of them brought tears to my eyes, and what has stayed on my mind is that so many of us have stopped dreaming. Listen to me, having no vision is death to your spirit. Why stop dreaming, because one of them didn't come true when you thought it should? Why stop now? You've come so far. Listen to me, when I started building this studio I wasn't thinking about being the first black person to do it. I wasn't thinking about how many acres it is. I wasn't thinking about what it would feel like to own it. I was just following a dream. I am no different from you. If you can make your mind line up with your spirit man, and your dreams, then your dreams will become your reality. It has to. It has no choice.
Now hear me here for a moment, if you will. I know that a lot of different kinds of people from a lot of different backgrounds and faiths read this email, but I want to share something with you, if you'll indulge me for a second. One of my favorite stories in the bible is of Joseph. Joseph had a dream and his brothers wanted to kill him for dreaming. Sometimes when you dream you will go through all kinds of hell to see it come to pass. I used to tell people that I thought I could do plays and movies, and when I would tell them they would get mad at me, talk about me and eventually try to discourage me.
When I started to do plays in the beginning things started to fall apart and these same people would laugh and say things like see, "I knew you couldn't do it." Where am I going with all of this you ask? Well right now in these times in our country there are lots of you who are wondering how you're going to pay the mortgage or the rent, or feed your families. And there are lots of you who have lost your houses and jobs and the very same people that brought over the house warming gifts are laughing at you now. I have been there. I UNDERSTAND THE HURT, but I'm here to tell you don't let it get you down. You know what you say to them? "SSSOOOOO!!!" I admire and respect people so much that have a dream and go for it. Don't ever lose that GO FOR IT attitude because you will see your dreams come true as long as you don't operate in fear. After you've done all to stand, stand some more.
So what happens when you had this big dream and it seems to be falling apart? You seem to be losing it...what do you do? I look to this story of Joseph, and you really should read this bible story. It's fascinating. It is so parallel to what is going on right now in this country. But this is what happened. When his dream seemed to be falling apart he did something awesome. The bible says Joseph dreamed another dream, and that is what I wanted to talk to you about today. Dream another dream. If one thing fails, try something else. Learn from your mistakes and try it again. So what if it got hard for a season, it will only be that way for a season. I cannot even begin to tell you all the times I failed, but every failure in your life will bring your dream closer to you. I know that sounds crazy but it's so true. It's okay to fail, now get up and keep dreaming. Don't stop dreaming because you may have lost something. When I was doing plays for the first time, my dream was that 1,200 people would come and sell the place out. Only 30 people came. It crushed me. But I didn't stop. I kept dreaming. I believed and dreamed all the way down to living in my car. But I kept dreaming, and when I was at my lowest I would talk to God. Sometimes all I could get out of my mouth was "Jesus help me," but that was a prayer I prayed a lot. And you know what else I did? I got out and encouraged myself. When I was homeless and sleeping in my car I would hustle up enough gas money and drive down to the nicest neighborhood in Atlanta where there were beautiful homes and I would dream and say "one day." On Sundays, I would go to open houses. I would go to the dealerships and test drive whatever kind of car I thought I wanted. Now I know these are material things but you would be surprised as to what it would do to help you see that all things in your dreams are possible. It's hard to see a dream come to pass, but if you believe, it has no choice.
Everywhere you look you see all of this talk about the economy and gloom and doom. Turn that mess off. Stop letting that get into your spirit. Tune it out, watch things that will encourage you. Listen to things that will uplift you.
Now this part is to a certain group of people, not to everyone. This is for the people who have been feeling like they are being led by God to do something in these economic times that most people will think is crazy. The ones who may not have a dime but are feeling like something great is about to break free in their lives. You are so right if this is what you're feeling. I have a suggestion if you'll take my humble advice -- HAVE NO FEAR! ONLY BELIEVE! Give thanks for where you are. I know that may be hard to do, but there is a liberty in being thankful. And lastly, give, give, give. The reason I've fed thousands of families, paid rent and taxes for the elderly, dug wells in Africa and helped establish churches and built homes for poor families is because I know the power of giving. You reap what you sow. If you want favor from God, sow it into someone else.
God bless you and know that this too shall pass, and you will be so much better when it does.