Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Foolish Dreams

What are your dreams?

When I was young, I had a dream of being a writer. I wanted to write books. I wanted to write stories that were fun and sweet and heartwarming, like the "Ramona" Books by Beverly Cleary. I thought she was a great writer, and I wanted to be just like her. I wanted to be an author.

The problem with having that kind of career-goal is there's no sure-fire way to get there. If you want to be a teacher, an accountant, a lawyer, a doctor, a computer programmer, a real estate agent...there are programs and college courses to follow. You might not succeed if somewhere along the way you can't keep up, pass the exams, change your mind, or life gets in the way--but there is a clear path for those who can make it from start to finish.

To be an author though? Not so much. It's easier today with advances in technology and the success of the Internet, but when I was in school, the only path was "a hope and a prayer". And for a long time, that's all it was for me: a little dream in my heart. I pursued other things. I went to college, but my major wasn't English, Literature, or Journalism--the three that most aspiring writers choose, since there is no listed major of "Authorship". (Pretty ridiculous when you consider that most college courses require reading-material written by whom?  Authors! But that's another topic.)

We're talking about dreams. Dreams that may or may not have a clear path for you to follow. Dreams that may be realistic or more lofty. Dreams that may not be clearly defined at this point. Perhaps you want to help others, but you're not sure how. Perhaps you want to work in a particular field, but you're not sure in what capacity. Perhaps you already have the career you want, a family of your own, and other childhood dreams, but now you wish your marriage was better, your job more fulfilling, your efforts more fruitful, your family more peaceful, your friendships more meaningful, your spiritual life more solid.

Most of those kinds of dreams don't have a specific path either. You live from day to day, hoping for a brighter one. You try harder. You pray. You do the best you can. But then you fail, or your best isn't good enough, or others let you down. God lets you down. Everything seems so unfair and pointless.

My journey to becoming an author was never guaranteed, and I did a lot of meandering along the way. But I never gave up hope. It was a foolish dream, an imaginary destination for a lot of years, but I could always picture it in my mind and held onto it in my heart. I've learned to do the same when it comes to my day-to-day life. Hopes I have for myself, my family, my friends, my readers, and this world in general. Hopes for love, peace, others knowing God, having more faith, and being more fruitful.

In John 17 we can read about Jesus' foolish dreams. He asked His Father for things like eternal life for all, for everyone to know Him and believe He came from God, divine protection for His followers, unity, complete joy, purity, His glory to be in them, and the fullness of His love indwelling their hearts! Talk about reaching for the sky.

Whatever your dreams are, no matter how foolish, lofty, or out-of-reach they may seem...don't give up. Keep hoping. Keep praying. Keep listening. And keep following. Jesus can get you there. He knows the way. So follow Him, trust Him, get to know Him, and rest in His love. That's a superhighway to wherever you are meant to go. Ride it all the way to whatever ultimate destination you're hoping for, and enjoy the journey along the way. Roadblocks and detours can be discouraging, frustrating, and make you feel lost and hopeless, but you are never alone. Let Jesus light the way, give you what you need, and carry you when you can't take another step.

"I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life." ~ Jesus  (John 8:12, NLT)