I wish I could tell you that I’ve always dreamed of being a writer or a speaker. Or that I practiced preaching to millions of my toys and autographed construction paper books for the crowds. I didn’t have those dreams. Looking back, I think I feared facing the scary part of dreaming. Oh I played house, and teacher, and ponies, with great fervor and imagination. In fact, I even officiated a wedding for my brother and a friend in our playroom. But dream of a creative future for myself — no.
Dreaming was just too scary.
It only took once, one disappointment laced with shame, to teach me the treachery of dreaming. I’d practiced for trophies but only won disappointment. When I rode that horse in front of that judge, I failed miserably, horrifically. It was the start of a double-decade-long dialog in my head.
What if what I dream of really isn’t meant for me?
What if I invest all sorts of hope only in the end to be utterly shredded by disappointment, by failure?
What if I’m really not capable of (or worthy of) having that dream fulfilled?
For the longest time, these possibilities were too much to bear. Any dream was too precarious and I was too fragile to overcome. You see, the scary part of dreaming is the fear of “what if”.
I’d been a shell. Dead to any dream. If you were to go back over my journals throughout highschool and college you’d find me begging God to make me “good at something”; begging Him to reveal “what made me unique”. But my eyes were clouded by cataracts of fear, fear that I wasn’t worthy enough. That’s when God started reminding me.
It is easy to forget who we are, who we were created to reflect. We weren’t meant to wear the cloak of failure and shameful colors of “not enough” that fear tries to sell us. We were created to fully be, and to be free.
Listen to the LORD who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
Others were given in exchange for you.
I traded their lives for yours
because you are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you.
Bring all who claim me as their God,
for I have made them for my glory.
It was I who created them.’” Isaiah 43:1,4,7
We are God’s handiwork, His masterpieces set apart to display His majestic splendor. He created us for His glory. He won’t forsake us or leave us empty and barren. Let go of the lies and shame-filled venom swirling in the world of comparison and allow a transfusion of His blood to fill our veins with life. Then we will dream, the dreams of our creator.
He dreams dreams of you and I, did you know that? He has plans and designs for us. He created us with purpose. And He created us each with unique passions that will glorify Him. It is our choice to believe Him, to receive His truth. Redemption is so much more than overcoming sin and being rescued from the depths of hell — it is an abundance, a security, a freedom. With His blood comes approval and honor, not for what we do but for who we are. I am not the sum of my failures, or even the sum of other’s perceptions. I am a complete sum of His love.
And so are you.
As we lean into Him, fully embracing His love and redemption for us He begins to nurture the creative seeds of purpose already planted in our souls. As we grow in confidence in our identity as a child of God, dreams and passions begin to bloom as well. His creation cannot help but praise Him, and we do so with our gifts and passions.
Dreaming how to fully worship my Savior with all that I am is not so perilous after all. Dreaming from the place of acceptance and redemptive love is satisfaction that far outreaches fear.
I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, Oh God! Psalm 139:14
Dream on dear dreamer, dream on.
This post first appeared as a guest post on Abby McDonalds Fearfully Made Mom back in March 0f 2015 – but as I was combing through my writing journal this one struck me again- and I had to re-share. Don’t you love it when something you wrote/experienced years ago, comes back to deepen the lesson. Yup. Cheers.