Do you ever allow yourself to dream? To imagine a different life, a different path, a different purpose? Do you think dreaming and contentment can co-exist? Do you ever wonder if you're in the right place, doing the right thing? I haven't had the courage (or self-esteem) to ask these questions very often in my lifetime, but I've taken some time this week to slow down and start wondering; to do some tentative dreaming (not by choice necessarily, but thanks to the flu, which feels remarkably like being hit by a truck...). I've always found that any dreaming I've dared to do is invariably accompanied by a vaguely guilty sensation; maybe that's one reason I indulge in the practice so rarely? Anytime I think about things being different from my current situation, my conscience starts preaching the gospel of contentment at me - and an excellent concept it is! I am learning the secret of contentment that Paul talks about in Philippians 4; the more impossible situations that I see God supernaturally redeem, the more my faith grows and the more I am able to rest in His care. I KNOW in all cases, and have been permitted to see in many of the same, that what He brings is ALWAYS for my good and His glory. It seems a little trite, but the phrase "If God brings you to it, He'll bring you through it" is one that's set on repeat in my brain these days. And that brings me back to the concept of dreaming - is it even ok to dream that my life could be different? Or is it all part of the plan, God leading my thoughts and desires in the direction of His will? And what about the dreams themselves? Does everyone get to follow their bliss? How do we know if our dreams come from God or own selfish/lazy/ambitious desires? I don't have any answers, just questions...
As for me, I find that I do have dreams: I'd like to write books that inspire and encourage; I'd like to preach and teach and lead people into the presence of God through music; I'd love to earn an M.Div. degree; I want to record a worship album and a hymns album; I dream of being out of debt, of being a healthy weight, of owning a home, of paying off my student loans (ok, that one might be a bit far-fetched)... And I have other dreams: for my family, my children, my own character... Now, these all sound pretty good to me, noble ambitions - but what do I do about them? Like Laverne and Shirley, do I go out and make my dreams come true? :) Is that the right attitude? Do I try to force them through, to turn them into track-able, measure-able goals and write to-do lists and mission statements and such? Or do I submit them to God, ask for His guidance and wait on His timing? Or is there some ideal middle ground?
I do have one dream, though, that I know will be a reality some day - the dream of Heaven. I've been dreaming of Heaven quite a bit lately; not in a morbid sense, but more of a homesick, can't-wait-until-everything-is-put-right kind of way... I came across a face book post the other day that was talking about how in Heaven there will be no more pain, tears, sorrows, etc...and then it presented the following sentence and invited the reader to fill in the blank as specifically as possible: In Heaven, there will be no more _________. Well, I filled in the first thing that came to mind and it blew me away - I'd never applied the promise of Heaven to my specific situation before! What hope it gave me! I think it was that sentence that inspired this fresh bout of dreaming; maybe knowing that whatever my life holds, it does not begin to compare to the glory that will be revealed on that day, when we will see clearly, when we will know fully! Hooray for hope!
I'd love to hear your take on this - what do you think about dreams? Do you have any? I think God made us to dream, and that hopeful dreaming can contribute to joyful living - may you know real joy today!