One evening I was listening to a woman share her story about why she and her husband were moving despite thinking they would live in Houston forever, and she said, Sometimes we have to surrender our dream of what we think our life will be.
I am blessed to be living a dream. Kind handsome husband – check. Great career – check. Good church – check. Adorable precocious children (girl and boys) – check. Nice house, car, etc. – check.
This is what I had dreamed my life would be, and it’s truly more than I even thought I could hope for given some obstacles that were overcome solely by God’s miraculous work.
But whose dream is it anyway? Is it really MY dream? Or is it a dream filled up arbitrarily by what society deems success? Or a dream filled up with God’s vision and desires? Or maybe it’s a combination of a lot of those things?
I was pretty unsettled in 2012 when I started making this assessment. I’ve started looking at what God’s calling might entail in my life, and it’s uncomfortable. His plans for the years ahead didn’t really look like MY plans for the future. So when I heard those words earlier this week, they just hung in the air like the bubble coming out of the mouth of a cartoon character. Sometimes we have to surrender our dream of what we think our life will be.
Newsflash: God anticipated this. He realized that our dreams might not look like His. So He wrote about it. He warned us. He said, if you’ll give up what you think is your “dream,” it will be replaced with something so much better, so much richer, so much more fulfilling.
Isaiah 55 provides the perfect illustration of this: “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'”
From the beginning to the end, the Bible reminds us that He is perfect and that His ways, His path, His dreams are unbelievably incredible if we would just follow hard after Him:
Deuteronomy 32:4 – He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
Ephesians 3:20 – Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.
What He has dreamed up for us is more than we could dream up for ourselves. And at the end, when we get say to that we’ve “lived the dream,” don’t we want that to be His dream? A dream of a life that mattered. Today, that may mean that we have to surrender our tiny little dream and allow God to replace it with His much bigger, more exhilarating, stunningly wondrous one. Chris Tomlin sings this song that makes me realize that maybe it shouldn’t be my dream:
Where you go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I’ll love
How you serve I’ll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
Photo Credit: Teri Lynne Underwood