Dreams. Everyone has them. Your dream job. Dream spouse. Dream vacation. Dream life. They are supposed to be freeing – a way to motivate you and propel you into the future. To give you endurance and perseverance. To give you purpose. But I’ve been noticing lately that far too many of us let our dreams become burdens. Things that weigh us down and make us hate the life that we have. Dreams that once motivated us to be better people and try hard things, now paralyze us. I think it’s because we get stuck in them. We have this massive revelation about what we are supposed to do with the rest of our lives sometime in our early twenties, and then after a few years, when real life hits us & things don’t turn out exactly how we planned, we turn from wide-eyed, idealistic dreamers, into depressed, paralyzed failures.
I am guilty of this. Somewhere between App State & Thailand, I discovered my passion to fight sex trafficking. I dreamed of living overseas, starting a safe house, and rescuing prostitutes. I dreamed of showing people in America the horrors of sex trafficking, and raising up an army to fight it. I dreamed of showing mafias and gangs who was really boss, and taking back the lives of the girls they’d destroyed. And I got to do a lot of those things. There was a time that I was so fearless and determined, that nothing could get in my way. I was motivated and optimistic beyond reason. But when that life ended a little more abruptly than I thought it would, and I found myself back home in North Carolina opening up a coffee shop with my mom – I was paralyzed. I had these huge dreams to do great things, but here I was – a college graduate, living at home, making lattes.
But during that season, God started to do something new in me. And I think I resisted it for a long, long time. It didn’t make sense with my “dreams” and my “passions.” Shortly after returning home from Thailand, I met my husband and got married. Then, six short months later, we got pregnant with our first baby girl. In two short years, I would go from rescuing prostitutes on the other side of the world, to being a Stay At Home Mom in the suburbs of Raleigh. And even though I love my husband and my daughter more than anything in this entire world, that was hard for me for a while. I would get anxiety thinking about the dreams and passions that God had put in my heart and how there was no way I could feasibly pursue them AND be a good mom and a good wife.
But slowly, he has started to show me new dreams that he has planted in my heart. Dreams to raise up two warrior daughters to advance His kingdom and change the world. Dreams to change our small community with the passion and joy that come from living as a family committed to God’s purposes and open to His Spirit. Dreams to see miracles and signs and wonders in a place where people have seemed to forget that they are possible. Dreams to see new families created and old families restored. And He’s showing me how to live just as fearlessly and just as optimistic beyond reason here, in this season, pursuing these dreams. He’s uncovering old childhood dreams in my heart – dreams that seem insignificant or trivial, and bringing them back to life. Dreams like having a baby the same time as my sister, and building houses on the same street.
I am telling you all of this to say – God KNOWS your dreams. All of them. The old ones, the scary ones, the deep hidden ones that you’re too afraid to say out loud. He is the one who put them there. And HE is the one who makes those dreams come to life. And when you start living where He has you, and you start embracing the dreams He has for you NOW, your dreams will set you free again. They will bring you joy again. I know God has not forgotten about my dreams of fighting sex trafficking and I truly believe He will bring me back to that, but He has given me new dreams in this season that are for RIGHT NOW. And they are good dreams. Dreams worth fighting for. Dreams worth chasing after. Dreams worth my passion and my time. I haven’t given up on my old dreams. I’m just embracing the dreams God is stirring in my heart for this season. Letting go of control and plans and “what ifs” and “should have beens” and grabbing hold of the here and now. Letting God mold and form my heart into the kingdom minded wife and mom that He has called me to be. Stepping out in faith in places I never thought I’d be, and choosing to see Him and take His presence with me.
So let yourself dream. Dream the things you didn’t think you’d ever dream. The things you didn’t think were valid. The things you thought were too small or too normal or too big or too scary. Because letting your heart and your imagination go to those places invites God to show you all He has for you. It softens your heart, breaks your resolve and breathes life back into your weary heart. Trust what He is doing in you. What He is birthing in you for right now. That is where his kingdom lives. In the tiny sparks you let Him fan into flame in your heart that take over and turn into consuming fires. As we keep pursuing Him, keep trusting Him, this is what will keep happening. The fire will keep burning. It might look different than you thought. It might change over the years. But it’s the same fire, the same Spirit, the same purpose that He stirred in you from the beginning.
I pray that I can always live with the same determination, fearlessness and passion no matter what the season and no matter what the dream.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:18-19