I am a dreamer who loves to dwell in possibility. Sometimes I dwell in possibiliti(es)… driving my poor here-and-now husband crazy. Dreams are almost as precious to me as my babies – conceived, nurtured, and brought to life.
As I have been getting ready to move to a new country it seems that as a sojourner I have to do with my dreams the exact same thing that I do with my stuff: sort them into piles. Which dreams do I pack and bring with me? Which do I have to give away to someone else? Which of these dreams do I toss?
Some dreams are about how I wanted to decorate our house: plants for our living room and bedroom, the pictures that I wanted on that wall, lamps for that corner…
Other dreams are about the adventures I planned to have: that camping trip, the wadi I couldn’t wait to take our kids to, the retreat I wanted to host for sweet and dear friends, that epic date with my husband…
Yet others have to do with ministry and are harder to give up: passing on a vision for a ministry close to my heart, raising others up more intentionally, those girls that I prayed about discipling…
Additional dreams have been on hold for a long time and I wonder if I will also have to give up entirely: growing roots in one place, having a house for longer than two years, ministering to abused women or writing those books I have outlined on my laptop.
For a recovering perfectionist like me, giving up these dreams feels like leaving a life halfway lived, halfway complete. I have to fight the sense that it feels like I am somehow failing for not accomplishing more.
Maybe you too are full of dreams. Maybe you haven’t been able to pursue them because you, like me, have been learning a new language, settling in a new country, doing visa runs, growing a human inside you, raising littles, homeschooling, church-planting, and loving neighbors right in front of you.
You too feel grief. The grief of giving up plans, desires, dreams that made you come alive. It is good to face how much we longed for these things, how they invigorated us, how sad we are to give them up.
A song about fools who dream stroke a tender chord in me. Are we just fools for having these dreams?
Hannah Anderson’s book Humble Roots encouraged me as I processed through this. In her chapter Field of Dreams she writes,
“Humility teaches us to embrace desire as a means of learning to submit to God. It is precisely through the process of wanting certain things that we also learn to trust God to fulfill those desires or to trust Him when he changes them. It is precisely through the process of learning to plan that we learn to depend on a God who makes our plans happen… Humility teaches us how powerless we are to make our desires come to fruition. The same God who gives us our desires is the God who orchestrates how, and whether, those desires come to pass.”
Humility enables us to submit to God – to His plans for our dreams. Submission might also mean submitting to the plans God has for us that we wouldn’t have dreamed. For me it was the faith-building season of postpartum darkness; the discipleship opportunities at home with my kids when they struggled to adapt to a new life; growing in my sacrificial love for the church and others; learning what it meant to count others as more significant than myself as I went through culture shock, loss and adapting to a new normal.
When we grieve the loss of dreams, it enables us to surrender. Grieving helps us hold our dreams open handedly to our Father, and with the Spirit of Christ in us, pray, “Abba, my times, my dreams and my desires are in your hands” (Lk. 23: 46 cf. Ps. 31: 5).
Maybe the best fools are those who lay down their dreams with cruciform shaped bravery. They are brave enough to let dreams go and trust God to do whatever He intended. Those fools know their dreams were really never theirs in the first place, but God’s – they were just stewards.
The dreams God gives us as the overflow of the riches of His wisdom are not about us. They are about His glory. His renown. So, we can rejoice – Christ will finish what He started. The dream that fuels all our dreams has been promised to us and to Him: He will be exalted among the nations (Psalm 46: 1-3).
So through the power and life of Jesus in us, we are still, knowing that He is God. Let’s entrust our life, desires and dreams to the One who entrusted Himself to His Father. He conquered death and rose again to a life that is more glorious than any of our wildest dreams…and so will we.
Do you dwell more in possibility or the here-and-now?