Thursday, September 6, 2018

Dreams & Desires

I am definitely a dreamer and a thinker. Not just sometimes, but all the time. The wheels in my head are constantly spinning and they won't stop- I'm always coming up with a new idea, painting a picture of what's next, or creating a fresh vision. This dreamer mind-set stirs up so much anticipation and excitement about the potential in situations or the possibilities in life that are yet to come. It's charming and spontaneous, perpetually striving for more and new and better. You know what, though? It's exhausting, too. It's this confusing blurred line. Which is it? Am I simply trying my hand at taking advantage of every moment given to me, not letting a second go to waste, not throwing away any gift or opportunity God has presented? Or have I actually entered into an ugly, never-ending competition with myself that will never be satisfied or completed? Am I challenging myself to creatively dream big dreams in a healthy way or am I weighing myself down with crazy expectations and only concerning myself with what could be? Honestly, I don't know. I'm asking God to deeply search my heart and draw out any toxins getting in the way of what He is truly calling me to.

This season of life is full. It is already brimming over with relationships, situations, and responsibilities that I know God has carefully selected and crafted for me in this time for His purpose. Yet, I feel like I'm always seeking more; I always feel like I could do more, I could reach more, I could be more. The truth is, there are a lot of days I wake up and I feel immediately overwhelmed in a (good or bad?) way when I think about all of the tasks, plans, people, visions, and dreams before me. My plate is already overflowing and I keep dreaming up more. I reason with myself that some of it is healthy, that it's all for God's kingdom and there's nothing wrong with infinitely dreaming, but sometimes I feel like it turns into expecting this long list of things I think I am owed.

I know that Jesus sees and knows my heart, but it is so easy to get lost in a sea of jealousy, wanting what someone else has or even just getting stuck in a fantasy and forgetting what is important. Before I continue, let me put a disclaimer out there: I am about to be completely transparent, handing over the key to deepest parts of my heart. Let me be honest, some of it (maybe and probably) all of what I am about to say is selfish, but this is the reality of what I have to work through with Jesus. I open up my selfish and awful heart to Him, spouting off ridiculous ideas and scenarios I've created in my head of what I think would be best, and He realigns my perspective, completely turns everything upside down, and shows me what I am truly promised when I enter into relationship with Him- not what I've somehow convinced myself I am promised.

I want a decent sized house with a writing space for me, a music room for my husband, and a green, lush yard with lots of space for gardening and growing all of my own fruits and vegetables. I want five little ones running around-maybe more. I want my own kids, and foster kids, and adopted kids, a playroom for them, and a homeschool room with cute little chalkboards and art and science experiments. In between the chaos, I want to write. I want to write books, blogs, articles- anything and everything. I want my home to be a sanctuary for my husband, for my babies, for family, for friends, and for broken and lost people God puts in my path. I want my home to be bright and inviting, a space I'm able to decorate with joy and cook healthy meals. I want to always have all the bills paid and have lots leftover to give away, without a second thought. I want to have lots of guests over and drink lots of coffee. I want sticky fingerprints on my refrigerator and a thousand little kisses each day. I want to travel and experience God's creation and people in all different part of the world, spreading the gospel with every step that I take. I want to be a wife and a mama to many and an encourager and a leader.

But you see, those are my dreams. Do I think some of them are from the heart of God? Yes. Do I think some of them have gotten clouded and mixed up, so that its hard for me to decipher which are mine and which are God's? Yes. I know that God did not create me to simply expel out a list of desires that I want and wait for the check mark to appear when they happen. Even if some of them are good, I am missing out on so much while I wait for my dream-world to happen. Not only that, but NONE of those things are promised to me. I am not owed ANYTHING, apart from the unearned, radical salvation, love, and grace that Jesus so freely offers. I am not promised security. I am not promised wealth. I am not promised a dream job. I am not promised that the bills will always be paid. I am not promised a home. I am not promised children, or a spouse, or a family.

My security, my hope, and my foundation are Jesus. 
He is my portion.
He alone is what I have been promised.

Everyday when I rise, Jesus is the only stable thing that I can count on and be sure of. I have to keep relearning this over and over again. I know this truth, but it is particularly challenging, especially in the age and generation we live in, to stay focused solely on Jesus. I wish it were easy to wake up each day and lay myself wide open as a blank slate for Jesus to use, completely disregarding my own so-called needs and wants. I wish it weren't so tempting for me to fall into the blurred line of dreaming so often that it turns into discontentment. It is hard. And it is sometimes downright painful to live in this world of credit scores, down-payments, and brushed-over Instagram posts. How on earth are we supposed to stay the course? There is nothing wrong with dreams and desires, especially for God's kingdom and especially when God's desires become my desires, but there is something terribly, horribly wrong when my yucky heart thinks I am owed everything that I have dreamed up.

"There is nothing outside of a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him."-Mark 7:15

We focus on the world and everything around us needing to change, but in reality we need desperately to change. The darkest sins come from lofty and greedy desires stemming from the depths of our own hearts. Yes, some of that is influenced by outside sources, but ultimately it comes from within.

"For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?"-Mark 8:35-36

It is so agonizing to not lose your life to the pressures and influences around you and from your own heart and mind. Sometimes we convince ourselves that we are "saving" our life by dreaming and doing and accomplishing and being independent and unmovable, but its quite the opposite. In the pursuit of contentment, we lose our souls and forget what is actually promised to us.

My home could be taken away today. I might never be able to have children. My writing may never reach trillions of people. My loved ones might die. There might be nothing left in my bank account.

But I still have Jesus. 

Maybe you crave comfort, security, and stability like me. Somehow, in some way, though, pieces of that will slowly get chiseled and/or ripped away. Then what? Are Jesus' promises somehow void?

We all have access to the true peace and contentment that Jesus brings, but we are all running away. How long can we run? Instead of flocking towards Him like we read in the gospels, we are running away from Him, breathless and scared.

"And wherever He came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well."-Mark 6:56

I want to be desperate to touch Jesus like that. I want to yearn after Him. I want each day to be a new chance to accomplish His will and appreciate the beauty that He is building, not that I am building. I want to be obedient to His calls and plans, pushing away my own. I want to radiate joy when it doesn't make logical sense. I want to be generous when I have nothing; love when hate is the theme all around me.

And then....when I look back on my life, I will know it has been a true masterpiece, because the creator of life itself has crafted every twist and turn.

Let's journey together, because I am far from fully grasping this. Reach out to me with your honest thoughts!