A dream is a wish your heart makes…
I’d like to amend that lyric this morning, to instead say:
A dream is a prayer you’re too afraid to pray.
You know what I’m talking about. You think “the desires of your heart” are only worth fulfillment if they’re “His desires” too. You think that your dreams are too big or, worse, too small for God to care about meeting. You think that He doesn’t want your heart with all it’s smashed up, bruised, anxious thoughts that spin around these dreams you’ve carried for so long.
I’m here to tell you: He’s carried them too.
He’s been listening to your heart this whole time. Smiling at the big dreams, cupping the small ones in His father-hands. He cares. He wants your heart. And He wants to fulfill your dreams, big and small.
Notice I did not say: God will make all your dreams come true.
God’s not in the blanket-business, covering all the bases and all your dreams in one fell swoop. He’s not in the business of giving you all your desires. He’s in the business of waiting, the business of hope, the business of endurance and patience and long-suffering. He’s in the business of perfect timing and sanctification.
He’s in the business of giving you the best dreams you have ever dreamed. He’s definitely in the business of the best, because He is, by His very nature, the best. And He knows what is best—and when, and how, and why. He knows every detail of every dream you’ve ever dreamed, and even of every dream you’ve let fear hold you back from getting past the initial hazy images of half-closed eyes.
He knows what dreams are best for you. He is for you. He is for your dreams. He is also for His glory, and that is why some dreams aren’t best. Some dreams are deferred. Some dreams don’t come true. But, my friends, oh, my dear friends—some dreams do.
Some dreams do.
I thought coming back to India was my dream—the ultimate dream, the life-forever-changed-type of dream. So when my dream started crumbling, eroding with poor language skills and deep emotional darkness knocking out chunks of who I thought I was right alongside what I thought this dream meant to me, it felt like a dream shattered. And then, for a season, I stopped dreaming altogether. I didn’t know how to trust God with my heart that felt bigger things than it could handle when it all fell apart. I didn’t know how to think beyond the hour, the day I was in, let alone the season. I thought I needed a radical life change. Turns out, I just needed to encounter Him in all the rubble where I was trying to rock myself to sleep, and let Him say to me:
This was never meant to be a dream.
It was meant to be obedience.
And it remained obedience only for a season, a very long season, where I learned more about myself and my heart. Until one day, a friend knelt down beside me and my tears and said, He wants His daughter to dream again.
To get to that dream, the rubble had to be swept away. And it was, in just a few weeks, until I found myself standing where all my dreaming began. In my first city here, now 7 years ago, I encountered the God of Jacob who said, “I will keep you wherever you go.” But wherever became an idol and I stopped letting Him keep me. The God who set dreaming within me became the God of this one dream, boxed in and tightly sealed against anything and anyone that might deter me from it.
*Cue the box exploding and the rubble sending me into hiding.
But He brought me out. And He brought me out with two dreams.
First, a very literal dream. I was trying to find help, at a doctor and at a counseling center, with everyone ignoring me (and my sobbing) or saying they didn’t know why I was so upset. I awoke shaken, knowing this wasn’t an accidental dream. About 7 months later, I finally started counseling.
And then, an extensive weekend of research based on a not-so-literal dream. I was looking into going back to school, and was led to look into MFA programs. I started making lists of deadlines, requirements, and my heart soared alive again. 9 months later, though my confidence often fails and my fear assails me with doubt, this is still the trajectory I’m tracking with Him.
I haven’t seen the fulfillment of this second dream yet. But I’ve gotten affirmation again and again, even in daydreams that tell me to get my PhD, too. I’m not hiding anymore. The rubble is cleared, and He’s rebuilding what He started in me. He’s letting me dream here and now. But He’s also leading me home. To dream different dreams. (And in between, He’s fulfilling another life-long dream to visit Europe).
This is our God. He cares about our dreams. He fulfills our dreams.
He doesn’t want fear to hold us back. He doesn’t want fear to whisper, He’s holding you back. He doesn’t want fear to silence us, to keep us from dreaming. He wants to hear about them, big and small, broken and whole.
But the only antidote is to let ourselves dream. And to tell Him our dreams.
Give voice to your heart’s desires today. He’ll answer them. He’ll answer you. Every single time.