I love the words to this song! As I sang them over and over again, I realized the words didn’t stay on the surface of my mind like a fun catchy tune, but sunk down do the deep places in my heart. God was stirring something around in there, and as I processed, this is what I discovered…
I dreamed all the time as a kid. And I’m not talking night time dreams. I’m talking big DREAMS of what I wanted to do with my life. I would practice my smile in the bathroom mirror while my shower water warmed up, or make a list of the people I’d like to thank for helping me get this far. I saw myself as the new up and coming young journalist who always asked the right questions, didn’t ask the stupid ones and elegantly, yet plainly spoke the truth of what happened. I could hear the newsroom, feel the adrenaline, see my headline story. Then after all my experiences, I’d write a NY Times Best Seller and help the next young dreamer achieve all his or her own dreams. All before I turned 30.
‘Cause this story of life is MINE to write, right?
Well, not for me. I quit college to pursue our first business venture. Two years later all that was left was a $20 thousand credit card balance and some empty boxes. Failure #1. Then life ushered me into the role of a mother, then homeschool teacher. The main reason I ever pick up a pencil or paper is when I pick them up off the floor. We did start another small business, needing to pay past and present bills. Thankfully, the Lord provided through that, although the journey has not been without further dashed hopes, dreams and financial despair. Through it all, I have continued to journal my thoughts and feelings, marking life’s highs and lows, but left it to accumulate in the privacy of the bookshelf.
No journalism job. No best-selling book. My smile has faded, to which a few more lines have been added, and my list of
names, unwritten. What happened?
I realized the other day that I decided not long after Business Venture Failure #1 that I quit dreaming. If I don’t dream, I won’t fail. If I don’t fail, I won’t be disappointed again. It’s like goal setting. If I don’t write it down that I hope to accomplish this great feat, then when it doesn’t happen, no one will know but me. And I can stuff that disappointment way down deep and cover it up really well with a big happy face.
The reality of taking that position, unfortunately, is that I also miss the blessings – that feeling of complete elation – when I do meet the goal and pursue the dream. Celebration parties complete with food, friends, music, food, lights, cameras, and more food always follow something like that!
But on the other side, I decide, I don’t really like parties anyway. No one would come…the cake probably wouldn’t be home made, so it’d be dry…too sweet…lights give me a headache…this generation takes too many pictures anyway…I already have so much to be thankful for…yep…it’s safer here, in my non-dreaming bubble, I conclude.
Plus, God says you have to “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven where moth and mold and rust won’t destroy it.” Yeah, it’d be my luck, I’d earn a reward and the kids would use the certificate as part of a mosaic. Doesn’t Jesus also say something about to be first in the kingdom, I have to be last? And I should live a peaceful and quiet life and just work with my hands, minding my own affairs. I’ll stick to those verses and life will sound something like this:
“Kids, I better go mop the floor. You know it is so satisfying! I love the sound of the squishy water and the seeing all that dirt swirl down the drain! Oh no, you guys go on without me, I’m completely satisfied crocheting Suzie’s little socks here. You know, we have to prepare for winter!”
Now, I’m not knocking those things. I enjoy crocheting! But completely satisfying? Not really! When I put on this mask, inside, I’m shriveling up inside, stitch by stitch, because God created me for something more.
So then I resort to prayers (cries/sobs really) like this:
But Lord, the last dream I had, you squashed it, flat, while almost squashing ME with it!”
“What are you dreaming about Julie?”
You know what I’m dreaming about Lord. What if I tell you and you say you won’t allow it?
“What if I created it?”
Well, then I’m scared that it would actually happen!
“Will you trust me?”
Yes. Will you help me?
“What do you think?”
So, all these words to say, I’m opening up my heart again to dream like a little kid. I’ve placed my ladder against this thing that’s bigger than me. As I climb, step by step, I see the scars from the last time I climbed a similar ladder. Those scars remind me of the lessons God has taught me through many falls that really hurt. This time, I’m asking the Lord to show me His dreams for me, instead of me stating my dreams for me and commanding Him to bless them. For He’s told me He doesn’t really like it when I talk to Him that way. I’m not asking Him for a piece of candy that I can just say please really sweet and give the puppy dog face for.
I’ve confessed to Him I need Him to start the dream, show me how to follow the dream and I will need Him to complete the dream. I cannot. I am the clay. The clay doesn’t form itself. In the end, though, it is a beautiful display to the glory and honor of the Craftsman.
I’m not practicing my smile yet, but I am confident that He who began a good work in me will carry it out unto completion at the day of Jesus’ return. And I’ll keep you posted!
Putting it In Our Own Words,