I am not a dreamer. In a culture that pushes me to “dare to dream” and “follow my dreams,” I feel a bit cynical in my stance; however it’s not cynicism I feel. It’s confusion. At the risk of over thinking this and letting my perfectionism show let me break it down for you.
As a Christian woman, I am 100% interested in following God’s plans for me. “Follow my dreams” clashes with Jesus’ invitation to “Follow me.” At least it feels clashy. I’ve had more than enough experience (and humility), so far, in following my own desires only to harshly realize later they weren’t healthy choices for me (e.g. running my own business, being skinny, having an affair). In the moments, I sort of just ran with how I felt based on what I thought I wanted and, I confess, what other people wanted from me.
When I finally let Jesus take the reigns of control, He brought me to places I never would have dreamed for myself (e.g. working in mental health ministry, writing a children’s book, speaking publicly). God’s will for me has looked MUCH different than my own plans. Hence, my own dreams don’t feel like they would line up with His dreams for me. I don’t want to miss what God has for me because I am off dreaming and striving for something that isn’t meant for me.
In wrestling with this topic with a friend, she said to me: “It could be that you fully recognize how corrupt our hearts are in their natural human state, so your motives for dreaming in the first place are unclear to you.” Totally! I speak for myself though… I know how corrupt my own human heart is. I know what wrongdoing I am capable of. I know how hurtful I can be to myself and others (whether intentional or not). This is not low self-esteem from which I’m speaking. I know I am a good person with a sacrificing heart. But I am H-U-M-A-N. I am not perfect, meaning I operate out of selfishness, impatience, greed, and self-righteousness without even realizing it most times. What if my dreams comes from this space? The thought of that is so depressing, I don’t WANT to dream. I don’t dare to.
I know all through out the Bible God says many times that he will give us the desires of our hearts. “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I believe that, but I think that only happens if my desires align with His desires. So that’s what I pray for, that He will align my heart with his and the things I “dream” about will match. But I don’t trust myself. Maybe I don’t trust God. *cue guilt* How do I know if what I am dreaming about is actually his delight for me?
There are three things I think would be cool if God ever made them happen, but I don’t call them dreams because I resist thinking about them let alone pursuing them:
- Living in Maui. I can handle approximately six weeks of Oregon’s cold and rainy winters and then I’m done. I’m ready for clear skies and 85 degrees. Everyday. I don’t fear island fever because the majority of my life’s routine takes place within a 30-mile radius.
- Owning my own vineyard and winery. I have zero clue as to how to make wine, so God would literally have to make this happen. I have even gone so far as to create the content for my wine label. I feel weird about this.
- Winning a literary award. This one is strange because I have zero desire to publish a book. My desire to pursue publishing a book is so low, that I procrastinate to even think about it. Yet somehow the thought of earning literary recognition is appealing. (I guess the next phase of my completed children’s book is going to be a challenge.)
Somehow I’ve talked myself into believing that dreaming is wrong, yet I don’t feel like other people are wrong when they dream. What makes me so special that I shouldn’t dream while others can? I don’t know, you guys. This is messed up. My thinking doesn’t feel right yet I can’t reconcile the angst.
Bottom line, if I’m going to dream, I want to dream “right” not big. This is where perfection has a hold on me. I don’t want to follow the wrong thing and end up humiliated or sick or depressed or financially strained or whatever else because I pursued my own selfish desire. And if my dreams are planted by God, I want to know for sure they’re His. I don’t know how to trust what’s in my heart.
Are you a dreamer? Have you experienced “dreams come true”?