This post will be a slight departure from my usual writing style & topics. All with good reason of course…writing isn’t intended to be stale. Think of this as a literary vacation. The Greece to the written state in which I live, if you will.
I’ve recently had a few conversations with a friend that broached the subject of the future…the plans of God and the dreams of man. Obviously I have hopes and dreams for the future, but I also have a heart to be submitted to the plans of God for me (even if they’re contradictory to mine…I should actually say, especially if they are). But with the recent passing of my friend, Ricky (Let me pause here and take a moment to say that TSgt Ricky Smith was a great friend and an even greater Patriot if ever I met one. I had the distinct honor of escorting him home to Pennsylvania. My deepest sympathies are with his wife Calyssa, his parents Rick and Caren, and the rest of his family. My heart cries for you…Ricky, you will be missed.) I’ve been thinking about just how fleeting life is and what that means to the dreams that dwell in the same places of my heart and mind that hope is cultivated in.
I sometimes wonder if we dream too small or if we too easily dismiss our dreams as unattainable, ridiculous, or irrational. I’m not sure when it became not acceptable for adults to dream the same way we did as children. I think back (and I look at my 11 & 13 year old sons) and as a kid I had some (and they do too) amazing dreams. It’s not that I wanted to do or be everything, but that I totes (heh, totes) believed I could. It’s that right there that made the difference…I (we) believed I (we) could. Because I believed I could, I was willing to dream big. Whoa! Dream big!
Sadly, at some point that all changes. We’re told to be reasonable. We’re told to dream rationally. The ability to dream big is conditioned out of us and replaced with acceptance for what the world says we’re capable of. I don’t for one second want to give the impression that we can dream big, then have the ability to achieve it. Some people are able to achieve great success and make it “big” and NEVER give a second thought to God. But, they also never reach the fullness that God intended for them. Our humanity comes with a limit to the “fullness” we can experience, a thresh hold if you will. Christ meets us at that threshold and allows us to cross it, into complete fullness. <—-That’s another blog.
When we get to the place where we realize we can still dream big and God can still move us toward those dreams, there are a few things that come connected to those dreams and need to be realized. Things that if not realized can send us crashing back to rational.
Dreams are built out of hope. Hope is that thing we can only see with our heart. It is attached to things unseen and unrealized. Our logical side would call it silliness for us to hope. But, here’s the rub…dreams also build hope. When you dream of the future it gives you a hope of what’s to come. The bigger the dream the deeper the hope. A “dream” that is rational and easily attainable requires little or no hope. Without hope we begin to lose faith in bigger stuff. Hope is what our faith is built on, but not hope in the dream. Hope in the God that can fulfill that dream.
With any unfulfilled and longed for notion there is an anticipation of it’s coming…an expectancy. Whether it is known or not as to when the desire will come to fruition, anticipation still hangs low. Dictionary.com defines expectancy as anticipation and anticipation as hope. It all returns to the idea that hope is the basis for all of this. Essentially the idea remains that if we are to dream big, we should hope in God big. We should be taking our desires and dreams to God in the deepest sense of the word. When we depend on our own strength and ability to see our dreams through, the results are mediocre compared to when we let God meet our expectations. Why settle for average when we have amazing available to us?
I didn’t want this post to be negative, but this next part is a reality. Sometimes, sadly, our dreams are not only unrealized, sometimes they’re shattered. Although it is amazing to dream big, if we live in a state of delusion in which we cling to the idea that just because we dream it, we can have it. When the dream is shattered and disappointment comes (because it sometimes will) devastation surely follows. And because your hope is tied up in the dream itself, there is no comfort. On the other end of that, if you live in a state of surrender (in which you see the One that can fulfill the dreams and not the dream fulfilled) then you place hope in the one that can comfort you when disappointment comes. I don’t say this to cause you to dwell on the fact that that your dream may end in disappointment. I say this to draw you to a realization that although what we dream may not ever be realized, if your hope is correctly place, so to will your openness to be comforted by the One your hope is in.
Dream BIG, hope deeply, expect the amazing and realize that disappointment is not synonymous with devastation. What was is not the best there is…so dream dreams that make your memories jealous.