MAKING SPACE FOR OUR DREAMS

When we were young, we declared our dreams and hung them like banners -- visible and in plain sight. But, as our lives expanded to include careers, relationships, and the various responsibilities that we have on a day to day basis, we took the thing that seemed impossible and we shoved it into a shoe box; tucked away in a dusty closet. Maybe now and then we'd take that old shoe box out and reminisce on possibility and hope, but only for a little while. We'd claim that we had no space for dreaming in our lives- that we're too busy, too tired, too old, too seasoned, or too afraid. 

All these things have become excuses for not doing what was planted within us to do. As we've grown, we've realized that we're further from the ground --  the fall has become more intimidating, and so we've become stagnant and paralyzed. 

Generally speaking, I for one, am not the dreamer I used to be. Especially within my marriage. Where my husband can easily spend hours talking about the various details of our one day imaginary home; I have a difficult time transplanting myself into a future that could be out of our reach. Where my husband casts vision, I create the action plan. Where he reaches for the impossible, I often settle into the right here, the right now.

Anyone else like that? This certainly isn't a challenge to change the very essence of who we are. We can be planners, be realistic, and seek the tangible. However, I think that these things can't come at the cost of resigning what we've longed for.

It's time to take that shoe box out of the closet, dust off the cobwebs, and open it up. Maybe we're not in a place to take action and move forward into making our dreams happen, just yet. That's okay. Maybe we know we are supposed to prioritize other things, or people. That's okay, too. But, whatever junction of life we are at - we should pocket our dreams and carry them with us. We should still make a space in our homes, our hearts, and our conversations for them.

Our dreams don’t have to be spoken with resentment, wistfulness or discontentment. We get to decide their significance. We get to decide their meaning. We get to decide whether or not they will come to fruition.

We must remember that our dreams aren't just our own, they belong to Jesus too. When we gave Him access to all the nooks and crannies of our heart, that didn't exclude our desires, wants, and longings. These are just as important to Him as our brokenness and our sin.

When we make space for our dreams, we might just be making even more space for Jesus too. 

Let's clean up a shelf and purge some of the "shoulds," "musts," and "to dos". Let's include our dreams in our prayers, our journals, our thoughts, and even in our conversations with others. It's a small thing to do; but its one of the most significant.  Because, in making this space, we give room to possibilities and instead of living in stagnation; we resurrect hope. 

WITH COURAGE

We live in a world that is dark, ugly, and full of tragedy. It’s everywhere. What’s more – it’s always been that way. But with the advent of technology and the pursuit of science, we are far more aware than we have ever been – able to slink into the lives of African villages and relentless genocide all the way to the crevices of our own cell structures.

You’d think this kind of knowledge would be freeing, exacting, and giving us our drive to pursue a better world and a better self. Instead, we find ourselves afraid. Fearful.

Perhaps not so much cowering in our homes, but in our hearts.

For me, the very definition of fear is being alone in the middle of the night- awake and aware. It’s the tension of knowing too much and knowing too little. Fear is the nightmare that has our feet permanently entrenched in the ground as a great big ‘something’ closes in on us. We know it’s coming – but we don’t even know what ‘it’ is. And clearly, as our hearts beat rapidly and the adrenaline pumps through us – there’s nowhere for us to hide. We can’t move.

Realistically, fear takes its shape in many forms. Nuclear Weapons. Impending War. Disease. Presidential Candidates. Federal Laws. WebMD. Loneliness. Failure. Purposelessness. Poverty. Worry. Death.  

And so we lock our doors and isolate ourselves. We avoid, blame, and scapegoat. We sign petitions, join protests, and post controversial Facebook statuses. We go out and buy guns, learn how to shoot, and get certified to carry and conceal. We vote in those who we believe can ban assault rifles and we ask for stricter laws. We medicate. We shut our phones off, go outside, and pretend that all is well. We pray. We vote. We abandon our faith. We abide by all the rules. We become apathetic. Or we become enraged. We don’t take risks. We become reckless. We rely on ourselves. We lose hope. We send money. We volunteer.

Fear is potent and contagious. It’s also unavoidable. We see it as we scroll through Instagram, read the newspaper, and experience all the commentary on click-bait articles invading our Facebook feed. We hear it preached to us from all parties of the government and even from the pulpits of our churches. Fear is the ultimate artillery and its main purpose is to kill, steal, and destroy. Often, we don’t even recognize how deeply entrenched fear is within our society, our responses, and ourselves.

But friends, we have the choice. We don’t have to partake in fear.  

We don’t have to buy into this product that the world, and more significantly- the enemy, is peddling. Fear quickly becomes an addictive self-fulfilling prophecy. And that’s largely the problem – fear is a constant focus on ourselves. People who are limited, flawed, and divided. People who live fundamentally on hindsight. People who have lost all sense of who they are, who they come from, and to whom they belong.

Fear is a by-product of mistaken identity and of mistaken citizenship. We are not people of this world; we are people of God, and of His kingdom. When we are able to identify that our home is not here – the problems of this world no longer define us, but embolden us. We’re no longer sinking with the ship, but walking on water. We’re anchored to something that will not whittle away, but that is everlasting and eternal. Simply put, because He offers us freedom, there is no room for fear.

Maybe it’s time to shut the computer off, put the phone down, and recycle the newspaper- just for a little bit. Because it seems that instead of opening our bibles to remind ourselves of who we are, we’re turning to our flickering screens that just reflect who we once were.

God gave His one and only son to extinguish fear. And we, instead of reveling in the hope that came with His sacrifice - are fanning the flames. In order for us to conquer fear, we must remember that it’s already been conquered. The world is a dark, ugly, and tragic place but we carry within us the light to move forward, not in fear – but with courage.