Looking through the prism of her own life, Beena Manoj lovingly encourages young people to seek God’s big dreams for them.

“I have a dream, a song to sing…” So began a song by ABBA, a pop group that was the rage when I was in school. It was a song I could sing from my heart and I won several prizes singing this song. As a schoolgirl I had two dreams – one to become a singer, touring the world with a huge fan following and another to become a doctor. The first of these sprang from my heart and was my greatest desire; the second dream was my father’s, and I made it my own for the simple reason that I liked the sound of the title ‘Doctor’ before my name!

Having dreams and being hopeful is good and necessary. But very often it puts pressure on young people and can lead to frustration, disappointment and even despair when long cherished and deeply desired dreams are not realised. And that’s exactly what happened to me when I failed the medical entrance examinations and had to live a life devoid of the music I so loved for much of my college life. And then one day as a second year undergraduate student, I stopped dreaming altogether!  It was not out of a sense of hopelessness or despair, though. It was from a deep conviction that I gained following a retreat, that God was truly alive and able to act in my life and that He had created me out of love and for a great purpose – that He had BIG DREAMS for me:  “plans to prosper [me] and not to harm [me], to give [me] a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

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Dr. Beena Manoj, a Jesus Youth from her college days, is currently the Head of the Department of English, St Teresa’s College, Cochin, India. She is a lead singer of Rex Band and lives in Cochin, India with her husband Manoj Sunny and two sons.