Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Dreams Gone Sideways
In my last post (Dream a Little Dream) , I ended with the possibility that the dream you have concerning what you might like to do in service to God might have been planted by God. Today I thought I'd share a little of what I have learned travelling dreaming pathways.
Sometimes the dream takes over. I dreamed of adoption for at least 12 years. When I finally felt like God was moving us toward the "achieving part", I easily and quickly became obsessed. I started entering "bulldozer mode" and wanted to knock down anything and everything to get to the destination. It became my first and last thought of each day. I started out believing God had led us to this but became tempted to focus so much on my SERVICE to Him that I was forgetting HIM. I am thankful that God had me meeting with other sisters in Christ who were loving TRUTH SPEAKERS and would gently warn me when I got off course. But seeking must ALWAYS precede service.
"But seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you." Matthew 6:33
Dreams often require an awful lot of waiting. There can be so many reasons for this. Perhaps God is preparing us. He is definitely growing us and bringing us to spiritual maturity! Besides maturing me and preparing me for what He was actually planning, God was preparing me for a BIGGER plan that He had. I was dreaming of adopting one little one, God planned for 4. I was dreaming of adoption within the U.S., God was planning to send me to Nicaragua for 5 months. As my desire (dare I say "desperation"?) grew, God was able to bring me to places I would have not previously been willing to go. In my praying and seeking God to provide for this dream I had to lean into Him. As I waited for God to communicate to my husband (I was already so sure) I looked up every Bible passage on "the poor, the oppressed, the orphan, the widow" (and more) to make sure I was really praying the heart of God. I listened to countless hours of sermons to keep my mind on God and off being obsessed.
"I will lead the blind in a way they did not know; I will guide them on paths they have not known. I will turn darkness to light in front of them and rough places into level ground. This is what I will do for them, and I will not forsake them." ~Isaiah 42:16
In the end, you may need to lay down the dream and see if God lets you pick it back up again. The dream can go sideways. God's plans are bigger than ours. His perspective is eternal. There are things we can't see and don't understand. Maybe the goal was our "yes". Maybe it was a step toward another dream. This is where we must cling to Christ and our faith in His goodness for all we are worth. I remember a family called to serve as missionaries in another country. Everything looked like it was falling into place. And then the word "cancer" was uttered. The mom died. Some things we just don't understand on THIS side of eternity. When our kids' orphanage was closed and our lawyer did not know where are kids even were, in my mind I did not know if our dream would be realized but I did know I needed to lay it down as a sacrifice to God and see if He gave it back to me. (12 years previous after taking classes for our foster care license, I realized adopting was not in God's timing and I didn't know if it ever would be.) It can be a confusing time. But it's a time to reaffirm that our walk with God is more important than our dreams. It's a time to trust that He knows what is best and is the One in control. It's hard and heartbreaking. But it is a wake up call that the One we serve is so much more important than the SERVICE. And just because you had to lay down the dream DOES NOT MEAN you heard wrong, that you did not know God's will for you. It is so possible that He wanted you to walk that EXACT path. You have to trust Him with it. And even if you got it wrong, you have to trust that He can redeem it and use it for good.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways." This is the Lord's declaration. "For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." ~Isaiah 55:8-9
It's good to support the dreamer. God made us to need each other! We are in community together. When another is walking through a fiery trial, we can be that cup of cold water. We can sit together with them in the heartbreak and remind them that they are loved by THE Everlasting God, that they are not forgotten. We don't need the right words (weren't Job's friends at their absolute BEST when they were QUIET?). Our presence and faithful prayers can speak volumes! We can love on them, support them, minister to them. A cooked meal, a listening ear, a ready hug can speak volumes. LOVE and AVAILABILITY are priceless jewels! It's okay if you can't make sense to things we just don't understand. And frankly, it's best not to try (it's how "foot in mouth" syndrome gets started). We can be the hands and feet of Jesus to the struggling dreamer who, through their dreaming, is an active living sacrifice! We're all in this together.
"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." ~Romans 12:15