At my core I am a dreamer. I love possibility. I am most comfortable in the world of ideas. Ask me to brainstorm with you and I most definitely will say yes. Circling round. Diving deep. Looking ahead. Finding all the angles. I’m all about it.
With others, yes. With an organization, yes. With a church, yes. With a ministry, you bet.
Brainstorm, dream, repeat.
Personal Dream Session
In my personal life and world my mind dreams up possibilities at every turn. I am currently dreaming right now about a paid job, a potential writing career and going to seminary. Man, that was difficult to write down! Writing it in black and white moves toward embracing and pursuing without the promise these things will come true.
In the past I have dreamt about love relationships, roles, jobs, children, social circles, sports, behavioral standards (i know, weird, right?) and events. Pictures unfold in our minds, details are sketched and feelings rise. What happens when a dream comes true? Euphoria. Enjoyment. Satisfaction.
But then, something can happen, at least for me.
Dreams come to an end, are not fulfilled or are not fulfilling in the way we thought they’d be. The person is not as loving and honorable as we thought. The relationship becomes messy, hurt runs deep. The thing is not quite what it was cracked up to be. The good feelings lose their potency. The cherished aspiration falls short. The satisfaction from a reached ambition fades away. Things thought of as ideal do not match up to the hype.
I don’t know if you are a dreamer. I don’t know if you cherish ideas for your future. Maybe you have had one too many dreams die. I don’t know where you stand in relationship to dreaming about your life and future.
But what I know in the deepest part of me is: at the end of dreams, there is an invitation to get to know God. What we think is the end could actually be a beginning.
Failure to Execute and Fulfill
My biggest aspirations as a young woman were to become a wife and a mother. (The fact these were my biggest, and really the only ones, is a topic for another day!) The days and months in which it became apparent marriage and motherhood were not all I had originally imagined felt like a hot air balloon falling to the ground. The dream lost its air, with its allure and its perceived expectations.
I was exhausted more often than not. I was mean every day at some point for a long stretch of time. I could not keep up with all the house things: laundry, groceries, cleaning, straightening, and the list goes on. All it took to keep up with my kids and my house was too much for me. They wore me down. They beat me. Beat me, as in, they won, not physically beat me, just to be clear! Most nights I was not “in the mood” for my husband, if you get my drift. It was 4 kids, 5 and under in those days. Although I do believe I was on my knees crying out to God even before #4 came along.
I vividly remember, looking out my kitchen window, which sat above the sink, toward our shared driveway with the decline, crying, not believing I could make it another day.
Two songs on repeat which helped me through this desperation, resonated with my soul. Mystery and Come for Me by Charlie Hall~
“Sweet Jesus Christ my sanity, sweet Jesus Christ my clarity. Bread of heaven broken for me. Cup of salvation held up to drink. Jesus the mystery.” -Charlie Hall, Mystery
“And you’ll come for me, no more pain-peace. No more fear-release. Just lost and consumed with my glorious king. Jesus today I am tired. And I need your music to come and inspire. And I’d give myself to be refined in this fire. But Jesus today I’m so tired.” -Charlie Hall, Come for me
It was survival mode to say the least. I was not the mom and wife I imagined I would be. Now please don’t get me wrong. There were good moments, amazing moments, laughter, love and fun mixed in but it was more difficult than I ever dreamed. I was more limited and full of flaws than I realized when the dream began.
When the End is Really a Beginning
But it turned out to be the beginning of a deeper relationship with God. Through those dreams crashing, a new way opened up between the debris on the ground. God invited me, through a multitude of voices, into a deeper relationship than I had previously known.
Where does it feel like the end of the rainbow for you, with no pot of gold? Who has failed you? How have you failed? Has a dream died? What ideal hasn’t come through to deliver the goods? What aspiration or ambition, while reached, still leaves more to be desired?
God is there. Waiting. To show you more. To walk you into rooms where it is impossible to behold everything in one gaze. It will take more than a lifetime to reach the end of all inside.
When other people, roles, dreams let us down, God slowly moves toward us. The breadth and depth of his love, goodness, wisdom, and grace are ready to flow into the dry, cracked breaks in our life and heart.
As I recovered from these broken dreams, the words of Deuteronomy, a book of the Bible in the Old Testament, began to fly off the page, in the middle of my desperate pleas, and into my heart and spirit in real life color~
“For the Lord is your life.” -Deuteronomy 30:20
“They are not just idle words for you-they are your very* life.” -Deuteronomy 32:47
(*I added that word. Every time I quote that verse the word “very” is there in my head. I guess I needed some emphasis.)
My dream wasn’t my life. Being a wife and mother wasn’t my life. I began to breathe in new ways, with new power and confidence as I learned to lean into God for satisfaction and fulfillment. The dream of God, his creative power, his transforming forgiveness, and his illuminating honor outshone my husband, my children, and my own effort in it all. My soul began to spill out grace and love, overflowing because it’s what God, through the Spirit, does. He gives us more than enough. When the image of what I thought it was going to be like as a wife and a mother came crashing down, God literally became my life.