I had it all mapped out in my heart and head. I’d be a good student, make the necessary graduations, get married, have some kids and live healthily and happily ever after in my own home. Well, by the grace of God most of those things happened, but I’ve been feeling rather stupid and wondering what happened to the “happily ever after” part. That’s the part that I get to do what I think God created me to do, using tools I believe He’s supplied, completely satisfied with my past efforts and full of hope in my current endeavors, knowing the blessing of loving support from friends and family.
Except it isn’t exactly happening that way. Over the past few years my dreams have been challenged.
Relationally, I’ve had to just accept that some people will never accept me the way I am (pshaw, *I* don’t even like the way I am!). Some will make false assumptions and even lie about my beliefs. Some will attack my character, either in jest (which isn’t really funny) or on the internet highways. Some will take advantage and bleed me dry. Some will patronize me and yet others elevate me to a nonsensical supergirl. And, the fact is, my own expectations of what constitutes a good relationship are just as damning. I, too, don’t make time for others I supposedly care about (except of course I’d make time to attend their funeral…). I, too, say unloving and flippant things (except of course they deserved that…). I, too, avoid saying what’s needed (when I’m not saying what’s hurtful!). It’s enough to make me want to lie in a cave. Alone. Except of course I dream of acceptance.
My accomplishments have suffered. My ideas of what I’m supposed to do have taken some serious hits. Weeds have grown knee-high, animals around here have been lost, suppers (and appointments) have been late. I haven’t been the picture of a proverbs 31 woman and I can’t even seem to finish a project more than 80%. My motivation sometimes stops at pulling up my own bootstraps and then I’m snarky towards those that wear them well. Naturally I am keenly aware of womenfolk who never seem to suffer even a hair out-of-place, but that just puts me right back into the last paragraph of some folks making false assumptions and now I am one of them.
More? Material things have buried me. One of the reasons Pinterest drives me crazy (as helpful as it really can be) is I see all of the open dreaming and I want to respond to them. Oh, I want that huge ginormous open cabinetry in my kitchen (really? you want to dust all of that because believe me dust bunnies will party), oh to have a whole acre to grow cabbage in (you do realize that will take copious amounts of time and weeding and pest control,right? and you might still only get one head of cabbage. maybe.). The truth is I have the big house, the five acres, the big gardens, the farm animals, the long dirt road and yes, four bathrooms. And because there is no internet site titled “Gratitude Pinterest for What I Already Have”, I am the one pinning one-bedroom cottages and pining for them (oh to clean the whole house in one hour! oh to have only one flower bed to weed! oh to have no mortgage! oh to live off grid!). Too bad being a contented and grateful child of the King of Kings hasn’t been one of my *dreams*.
I’m not even going to hit all of the dreams about health (full and vibrant of course!), marriage (a lifelong intense love affair!), mothering (attentive and appreciative children of course!) and so forth.
So sometimes dreams go away. Sometimes they are put aside for tomorrow, and sometimes, in reality, they die.
Because when the dream dies, its ashes reveal our hearts and the sandy foundations you and I have built those dreams upon. It fillets our true motives and gives an honest assessment of what we really believe (despite what we say). When the dream dies, it feels like the ground has moved, and it has. That ground was probably fertilized with self-centered pride (ouch), and not exactly on the Rock of Ages and what HIS plans were and are.
What I really wanted to do here was whine about my trials (you got some of that, right?). But I will also tell you that God is faithful, He is good, and He is ever-present even when it feels like He is not. There is His wisdom and grace and provision in it all. And yes, He does know what He’s doing in it all. AND, friend, unless your dreams sometimes die, you will miss the very best thing there is, even better than those ideals you have created for yourself: God Himself.
Maybe, just maybe, if that is true, we ought to courageously be praying for more of our dreams to turn to dust. Truth?