Dreams and Desires

I’m a dreamer and a doer. The wheels in my head are constantly spinning and they won’t stop. I’m always coming up with a new idea, painting a picture of what’s next, or creating a fresh vision. This dreamer mind-set stirs up so much anticipation and excitement about the potential in situations or the possibilities in life that are yet to come. It’s charming and spontaneous, perpetually striving for more and new and better. You know what, though? It’s exhausting, too. It is a confusing, blurred line. Have I actually entered into an ugly, never-ending competition with myself that will never be satisfied or completed? I’m asking God to deeply search my heart and draw out any toxins getting in the way of what He is truly calling me to.

Do you ever feel like your plate is spilling over in every direction? Have you ever felt caught in a dreary pile of tasks, busyness, to-do lists, and 5-year-plans? There is nothing wrong with productivity, accomplishing goals, or chasing after dreams. However, we can easily become over-scheduled and hyper-organized, searching to uncover joy underneath busyness, tasks, and checked-boxes. This isn’t the life God designed for us, leaving no room for Him to breathe into our weary souls

Many of us are in seasons of life that feel full. We may have a plate that is visibly overflowing. We live in a culture screaming at us all to “keep up”. Do you ever feel like you are always seeking more? Do you struggle with feeling like you could do more or be more? Do you sometimes wake up and feel immediately overwhelmed at the tasks before you, yet you feel paralyzed and stuck, unable to find refreshment for your soul?

It is so easy to get caught up in a sea of accomplishing goals and striving after dreams. Can some of the dreams in our heart come directly from God? Yes. However, sometimes the dreams and visions can get clouded and mixed-up, making it hard to know if we are following God’s desires or our own. God did not create us to simply expel out a list of desires that we want and wait for the check mark to appear. Even if some of the dreams we envision are good and honorable, we can easily miss out on so much while we fantasize and wait. In the same way, if we become too busy and encompassed with noise, never slowing down to breathe, we don’t leave any margin to allow God to move. While we concern ourselves with building an earthly kingdom, making perfectly-curated vision boards and running on empty in a dark cloud of do, do, do, we begin to neglect our purpose on this earth and stray further and further from it. We are not owed ANYTHING apart from the unearned, radical salvation that Jesus so freely offers when we allow Him in. We are not promised security. We are not promised wealth. We are not promised a dream job. We are not promised that the bills will always be paid. We are not promised a home. We are not promised children, or a spouse, or a family.

My security, my hope, and my foundation are Jesus. 
He is my portion.
He alone is what I have been promised.

Everyday when we rise, Jesus is the only stable thing that can be counted on. We have to keep relearning this over and over again. We may feel like we know this truth, but do we truly KNOW it? Do we truly know it even in the midst of disaster and darkness and idols lurking in the shadows waiting to consume us? Each day we have a chance to wake up and lay our hearts wide open as a blank slate for Jesus to use, completely disregarding our own needs and wants. Oh, but it’s hard – so, so hard to put our flesh to death and choose Him over discontentment and busyness. Not only is it hard, but it is sometimes downright painful to live in this world full of credit scores, down-payments, and brushed-over Instagram posts. How on earth are we supposed to stay the course? There is nothing wrong with dreams and desires, especially for God’s kingdom and especially when God’s desires become our desires, but there is something terribly, horribly wrong when our blackened hearts think we are owed everything that we’ve dreamed up.

There is nothing outside of a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”-Mark 7:15
We focus on the world and everything around us needing to change, but in reality we need desperately to change. The darkest sins come from lofty and greedy desires stemming from the depths of our own hearts. Yes, some of that is influenced by outside sources, but ultimately it comes from within. The problem isn’t our neighbors; the problem is us. The darkness all around isn’t something out there in the world to protect our children from, instead it is right inside of us. Until we realize that without Jesus we are literally nothing, unable to move or push the rubble off of ourselves, we will continue spinning aimlessly on a wheel without a destination.

“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?”-Mark 8:35-36
The temptation to give our lives over to the pressures and influences around us and from within us has never been stronger. Sometimes we convince ourselves that we are doing “good” by accomplishing and “checking-off”, by over-scheduling and constant-dreaming, but its quite the opposite. In the pursuit of contentment, we lose our souls and forget what is actually promised to us.

Our homes could be taken away today. We may never be able to have children. We may never put our gifts and dreams on a platform for the whole world to applaud. Our loved ones might die. There might be nothing left in the bank account.

But we still have Jesus. 

We must find contentment in Him alone, minus all of the stuff distracting us.

Maybe you crave comfort, security, and stability like me. At some point, though, pieces of that security will slowly get chiseled and ripped away. Then what? Are Jesus’ promises somehow void?

We all have access to the true peace and contentment that Jesus brings, but we are all running away. How long can we run? Instead of flocking towards Him like we read in the gospels we can sometimes find ourselves running away from Him, breathless and scared.

“And wherever He came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.”-Mark 6:56
I want to be desperate to touch Jesus like that. I want to yearn after Him. I want each day to be a new chance to accomplish His will and appreciate the beauty that He is building, not that I am building. I want to be obedient to His calls and plans, pushing away my own. I want to radiate joy when it doesn’t make logical sense. I want to be generous when I have nothing; love when hate is the theme all around me.
And then….when I look back on my life, I will know it has been a true masterpiece, because the Creator of life itself has crafted every twist and turn.

Wife to Simon and mama to Theodore Samuel. Hannah began her walk with Christ at age 17 and He is radically reshaping her world daily. She find so much joy in coffee cup conversations with other women at her home, serving alongside her husband at our church’s middle/high school youth group, exploring new cities, cozy days with a book, decorating/reorganizing, filling journals with brightly-colored pens, hand-writing notes on pretty stationary and time at the beach.