The Risk of Dreaming

If dreams were sold on Amazon, they’d be shipped along with a Risk of Failure Waiver. It’s a package deal.

When we pour ourselves out for a vision, we run the risk of Failure. Not simply failed attempts, those are an inevitable part of dreaming big. Passion and belief in the vision give us the grit to get back up and try again after many failed attempts.

The real risk is ultimate Failure; disillusionment, realizing the vision was a mirage. That what you dreamed and poured yourself into is not going to be a reality.

Leaping into something you believe in with all of yourself means the crash landing of failure will hurt every part of you, threaten to wreck you.  You’re left feeling foolish for wasting your time, your passion, your self.

There’s this “What now?” moment when nothing looks the same as before. When the dreams you’ve invested in no longer exist and the landscape of your heart is foreign terrain. What now?

There’s a truth about God that makes all the difference in that moment.  It’s a truth that can silence the cynicism that threatens to take over. It brings a light of hope when pain darkens our vision. What is this truth?

The truth is, nothing is wasted in God’s economy. Nothing. Even in failure or change of direction. All that perseverance, faithfulness, hard work, love, sacrifice. In the face of crushed dreams and rejection. All the times you got it right. And every time you got it wrong. Not one moment is wasted.

It’s a little like Karate Kid.  Wax on. Wax off.

You may think you were learning how to polish a car, but God has been strategic. If you never touch a car again, still none of that effort was wasted.

You may have thought you were training to be a lawyer. Then a year into practicing law your life takes a major turn and suddenly you’re an entrepreneur, or serving in full time ministry. In God’s book, nothing about that is wasted. The studying, the financial discipline to get through school, the job search. Nothing was in vain.  

Wax on. Wax off.  

God has plans for putting all of it to use. It may just look different than you ever imagined. It may have been more about your heart than the skills you were building.

God is truly good and truly loving. He’s able to create the most magnificent things even out of those of us who have been crushed to dust. He’s dreaming for us! He’s inviting us to embrace the risk of broken dreams and walk with Him on this adventure of life. Because, even if we’re hurt again, broken dreams are not the final destination when we’ve surrendered our hearts to God.

So, what now?

Now we cling to this truth that nothing is wasted. We encourage our hearts with stories in the Bible where God proves Himself in this over, and over again. Look at David: tending sheep as a boy, in music ministry in the king’s service, defeating Goliath, living in caves while being hunted, reigning as king!  Nothing wasted.

We allow ourselves to grieve the dreams that were lost, but we don’t stay there because we have a hope that moves us forward. When our hearts refuse to dream again, we trust and rest in God’s goodness. He tells us in the Bible that He draws near to the broken hearted. As we find our joy in Him, He will fill our hearts with new dreams. 

We speak truth to a cynical heart, we trust that God is working for our good, and we ask Him to ignite a new dream in our hearts. And we trust that one day we will look back and see that nothing was wasted.

The Lord is close to the broken-hearted; and rescues those whose spirits are crushed. ~Psalm 34:18

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. ~Psalm 37:4

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. ~Romans 8:28

Trust changes everything…

When I was 17, I found myself in a place where I was being deeply impacted by other people’s choices.  Specifically, my parents.
They had decided to move out of state.  I had no control over it, and I didn’t like it.

I was old enough to have a very independent life, but not at all in a place to be financially independent.  And that’s a pretty important part of independence!

So, in the middle of anger, deep sadness and frustration, I schemed and planned out every possible way that I could stay behind.  Continue reading

Beautiful Truth

“If we are not waiting for God to approve of me, then why can’t I feel His approval?”
~ The Journal (April 9, 2012)

It’s one thing to make an honest assessment of where you are.  It’s another thing to figure out how to go where you want to be.

What started as an empty notebook where I poured my heart out on paper, turned into a several month long journaling journey.  I handed the notebook to my pastor and he returned it with his written reply.  I wrote again, he replied again.

In the very beginning, I tried to describe where I was on my journey.  I said I had been at the top of a mountain, doing good and connected with God, when I got kicked and fell off the side.  Before I could regain my footing, I got kicked again, and then another time.  Before I knew it, I had tumbled to the bottom of the mountain with the realization that I had no idea how to get back to the top.

The truth that I now see is this: We are only truly on the solid ground of the mountain top when we are trusting and resting in the truth.  No one can push you off the mountain.  You allow them to move you by believing a lie.  If I was so easily kicked off the mountain, I really wasn’t standing on solid ground to start off with.  It was simply an illusion.

This season of  journaling became the part of my journey where I navigated the rocky side of the mountain to climb to solid ground.  At times it was precarious.  There were jagged cliffs that I almost lost my grip trying to climb.  There were times I fell flat on my face tripping over a rock in my path.

There was one “rock” I tripped over so many times that it almost completely stopped my journey.  I so desperately wanted to feel God’s love and have an awareness of His presence.  But no matter how much I tried to find Him, there seemed to be only silence and emptiness in return.  I was plagued by the thought that maybe there wasn’t really a God.  Continue reading

An Honest Declaration

Sometimes I go to a coffee shop for coffee, sometimes I go because I’m drowning in the middle of the waves of life, and a latte with a journal to write in is a life preserver and a breath of fresh air!  Two years ago I was one wave away from going completely under, so I left my screaming toddler and our other kiddos with my husband and drove as fast as I could to the escape of a vanilla latte and some coffee shop jazz.  Since writing is always a good way for me to decompress, I found a notebook in the back seat of my minivan before I went inside.

As I sipped and sat in stillness, my brain gradually quit swirling with thoughts of diaper changes and laundry and phone calls I needed to return… and I began to focus on some thoughts that had been flitting in and out of my mind for a while.  The thoughts seemed a bit jumbled, so I just started to write to make some sense of them.  What I ended up with was the most honest assessment of my heart I had made in a long time. Continue reading

Here is Your Permission to be Honest

In case no one has granted you this freedom, or you have a hard time granting yourself this freedom, here it is:  You can be honest!

And to take it a step further, I will say this: The journey you are traveling in this life will not take you anywhere worth going until you are free to be honest with yourself, with God, and with the people around you.  You need to be honest.

Why does this need to be said so clearly?  Because too many of us have grown up in environments where honesty was not encouraged.  Where questioning the status quo was looked down upon.  Where ignoring our doubts and questions was the “right” thing to do if we wanted to remain in good standing.

The problem is, we are like builders who ignore gaping holes and cracks in our foundation and then continue to build the house.  It shouldn’t be a surprise when the walls start cracking!  In my case, eventually, the walls started to crumble. Continue reading