Do not give up, readjust

100_3909I have been a dreamer ever since I can remember.  Adventuring through the caverns and canyons and mountains of my mind has always been a fascinating past time for me.  It is incredible what is in my mind.  Truly, I am one of the greatest wonders of God.

I dream big, hairy, audacious dreams.  I like to push myself extremely hard to see what I can do to accomplish those dreams and see them realized.  I carry a very worn out list of my dreams in my Bible.  I wrote them once after a dear friend of mine gave a sermon about this very topic.

My list has been revised and edited a bit.  Let me share with you where it is at right now.  These are not in any priority order.  I simply wrote them as they came.

  • To be gloriously alive and in love with the God that created me
  • To be a wonderful wife
  • To be a marvelous mother
  • To grow in wisdom and knowledge
  • To become a person at rest with who I am
  • To have eyes that sparkle
  • To have a smile that lights up a room
  • To write words and prayers that speak to the hearts of others
  • To be the face of God to the women in my life – the face of grace, of delight and of mercy
  • To have true beauty that comes from a depth of soul that can only be attained through living many years well
  • To be strong and confident, yet soft and inviting
  • To encourage with love, passion and prayer
  • To encourage, nurture and mother others to become their true selves
  • Help others discover that reading is a beautiful dance between readers and writers
  • To refine recipes with my family and bring the joy of creativity into the kitchen
  • To give people tools to leave a legacy of positive change
  • To speak at women’s conferences, teaching them how to pray in a way through which may help them find their righteous confidence
  • To help equip people with job seeking skills and encourage them in their search
  • To obtain a PHD in Encouragement and be a Professional Encourager
  • To work at Dairy Queen

Did the last one make you laugh?  When I was five that was my goal in life.  I wanted to work at Dairy Queen.  I love Dairy Queen.  Truth be told, I’m a HUGE fan of ice cream in general.  Yum.  Oh that ice cream was healthy.  I’m sure that is a prayer that God chuckles at when I offer it up.

You may be wondering why I leave my five year old dream on my list.  First of all it makes me smile.  It also helps me to remember that dreams do not have to be richly extravagant.  It reminds me where I came from.

Even more so, keeping my five year old dream on the list reminds me of how easy it is to tell God how we think things should be accomplished.  Let me give you an example.  Formerly, my list did not look this way, some of the lines have been edited.

Before: To work in bookstore or library to help others discover that reading is a beautiful dance between readers and writers.  After: Help others discover that reading is a beautiful dance between readers and writers

It may not seem like a major change, language wise the only thing that is different is a couple of words.  But with the removal of those words came the removal of a major constraint.  I was limiting myself to bookstores or libraries.  What if God did not actually purpose me for that.  Maybe God will take the heart with a passion for reading and apply it somewhere else.

In my life I use this dream to benefit my children tremendously.  We’re pretty avid readers in our household.  We invest a lot in books.  We also pass along a lot of books.  It’s really fun to take books that we have outgrown and give them away.  It multiplies the joy of reading.  It’s really delightful to read at my daughter’s elementary school, or to the kids at Sunday school in church, or to share books with the ladies in my Bible study.

Funny how the dream is coming true, but not in the way that I originally thought is would.

At times there are ideas on my list that I feel like taking off.  Perhaps they seem impossible.  How on earth does one become a Professional Encourager?  Where and how do you get a PHD in Encouragement?  I’m thinking there has to be a school out there with a create your own program offering that I could eventually make that work.  Right now it seems about as distance as working at Dairy Queen did to me when I was five, just as grand, but very distant.

Then there are times where I feel like I have tried without any success.  Take for instance my desire to write words and prayers that speak into the hearts of others.  Sometimes my writing just stinks.  It is dull, listless and lifeless.  It is read once and quickly filtered through to a mental garbage can to be forgotten.  I pray prayers that feel devoid and empty.  Just lacking something, as if one just ate a mediocre meal from a random restaurant.  It was not necessarily bad, but it was not real good and you will probably never go back for more.

There are days when being a person at rest with whom God made me to be seems like a joke.  I can be so critical of myself; so quick to remind me of all my flaws.  If I can not be at rest with me, how could I possibly help others to be at rest.  At this point it is easy to begin to believe that I am all wrong in my thinking, and that dreaming is for someone else more worthy than I.  My train runs rampant from this point downhill, without breaks, careening towards a cliff with no bridge.
That is when God reminds me to

STOP

Just breathe.

The Lord so sweetly reminds us that He is always sending us messages.  Peace.  Contentment.  Reminding us that the work we are called to may be frequently changing in form and shifting shapes.  He is always preparing us.  God has not given us a million tasks in final exam test form.  The Lord is not the strict professor peering through glasses watching us struggle through the test with the clock reverberating in our very souls.

God is there to help us with every task we get from Him.  We’re never alone in that.  God is even there to take away some of the tasks we create in our own minds; those things we feel that need to be done to show our commitment to excellence.  For some of us, I think we set the bar so high that we have placed ourselves where the air is thin and hard to breathe, but yet expect ourselves to be able to run like we could at lower altitudes.  For me that is when God helps me realize that it is no wonder I can not breath and He takes my hand and slowly walks me down to a lower elevation that I am capable of working at.

It has been my blessed experience that God does not often ask us to scrap everything and completely give up.  Instead, it seems as if more often He asks for some minor adjustments.  God can take where we currently are, what we currently have, make a small modification here and an alteration there.  Then, voila.  Train is back on the track, breaks are working and everyone is breathing deep and normal breaths again at a manageable altitude.

For all of those out there who feel like quitting, washing your hands of it all, throwing in the towel or walking away.  I understand where you are at.  I know how nasty those feelings are.  But, I want you to know that there is hope.  God has redemptive and creative powers beyond anything that we can believe.  We need to turn to Him, to seek His help, to take His advice and to listen to Him.

“This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” Jeremiah 33:2-3 Message

We can never figure it out on our own.  We have to go to God for that revelation knowledge and wisdom.  Just like a parent delights in showing a child how something works in wonder, I believe God delights in showing us a few tricks in our lives that we can wonder at.

Dearest and Beloved Lord,

Please help us when we get to the point where we are ready to give up.  Help us to remember to come to You and ask You all of the questions that are pulsing through our veins.  Help us to be open to Your adaptations and modifications when it comes to our dreams and to our lives.  May we show a willingness to follow where You lead. 

Lord, I pray especially for those who are struggling to find purpose and reason in their lives.  I pray that Your love would overwhelm the darkest of thoughts with Your radiance and that You would calm the desperate weeping in their souls with Your compassionate touch.  Bring us all to a place where we can breathe deeply in the abundant life that You have prepared for us.  May we give the deepest of thanks and gratitude to You for it.

Glory to Your mighty name, Jesus, amen.   

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