It’s funny how you can really get into a routine that’s on a steady incline, everything’s even keel, and suddenly the Spirit just interrupts and says “Hey, (your name), remember this? Well I want you to know this.” Or something along those lines.
Today, I was working on uploading some material on social media, and it was taking a while. I listen to Spotify, like most, while I work. But today, I got a little tired of my regular playlist, so I switched over to something different. Remembering a conversation I had with my cousin Thomas, I opted for some Jonathan David and Melissa Helser. The tempo, melody, and harmony was the perfect fit for the ambiance at my little desk. So I continued to work, and then suddenly this extremely familiar song came on. One that I knew the words to. It was like remembering something from a dream, and I couldn’t figure out why I knew the song. It was fun listening to it, and I continued to work, with the hushed thought in the back of mind wondering about when and where I listened to this song so often to know the words. Out of curiosity, I looked up the release date of the song, faintly remembering downloading it onto my iPod… (it was before my iPhone days if that tells you anything). When Google told me that it was released in 2012, a light bulb went off.
Weird, how you can look back on your life with such a different perspective, huh?
Recently, my mom and I had a conversation about the differences between sin and a mistake. How making the same mistake, knowingly, becomes a sin because you deliberately commit the mistake knowing that it isn’t what Jesus would want. Heavy stuff, I know. That’s actually pretty common for us. But interestingly enough, there was a sense a relief that washed over me when I realized some of the sinful mistakes I made in my past, were (although still sinful, because I am a human born into original sin), were more like mistakes because I didn’t actually look Jesus in the eye and say, “I know you did that for me, but I’m going to do this instead.”
I know your wondering, “did she copy and paste something and forget a transitional paragraph between those two?” Nope. I didn’t. You’re reading it the way it’s intended. Just roll with me. It’ll make sense in a little bit.
Back to the song.
I randomly downloaded that song back in 2012, right after it’s release. Around that time (January into the Spring), I started turning my running sessions into worship sessions by listening to worship music when I’d run. So I ran to that song a lot. I never got tired of the song, I just started listening to other songs and forgot about that one. Y’all know how it is. That was the summer that I interned in DC. Right before I left for our nation’s Capital, I had experienced some pretty serious heart break because my dreams that I had had for the preceding 3 years hadn’t come to fruition. The song was a little bit like a salve for my soul because it says,
On the shores of my soul I give You permission To wash my tears away And take all my disappointment [and] fill me with joy once again I’m gonna sing out loud And let my voice be heard It’s a song of victory And it’s ringing in the earth
So I could sing that song, make it like a prayer, and by doing so, I was reminding myself to sing through the storm.
I think I’ve said it before, but I am a big time dreamer. If I could tune people into my brain, it’d probably make excellent television. I don’t say that with pride. I say that with equal parts embarrassment and equal parts praise for how wonderfully my Father made me. But the point it is, my dreams are big, they happen without prompting, and my imagination builds and builds and builds them to the point that my expectations are set so high that I have to rely on God to see them come to life, because there is no earthly way to even make them a possibility. It’s been a reoccurring thing throughout my entire life. And while I know it’s one of the most unique things that God formed about me when He created me, it’s also one of those vulnerabilities that Satan has made low blows to throughout my life.
Three years ago, my imagination was let down further than it ever had been. I thought I had nothing else to look forward to, that it was the end of the road and nothing else could happen. Was it because I had allowed myself to dream too big? Was it because The Lord was trying to teach me humility? Why could something go so far up and come so much further down?
Fast forward a couple years and that whole imagination thing became a roadblock for me, because I became too afraid to put 100% of my trust in Him. Instead of using such a wonderfully crafted part of me to serve Him, I became too absorbed in worldly expectations and let the whole thing become corrupt.
In simpler terms, it went like this. My heart was for Jesus, but I hadn’t allowed myself enough time with Him to become more like Him. By not being more like Him, my desires became for worldly things even when I didn’t see it that way. (This was a MISTAKE…reference that blip about mistake v. sin above). As they became more worldly, so did my dreams. But here’s the funny thing about being worldly: when your heart becomes worldly, your vision becomes nearsighted. So in this process, I felt the need to limit myself, because certain things “just weren’t possible”. Then, by limiting myself, and by following what I thought was my dream, I ended up in a huge messy pile of disappointment. ITS CRAZY HOW TWISTED THINGS CAN GET… isn’t it? Satan specializes in making a mess of things.
Over the past several months (nearly a year), my schedule has thankfully slowed down enough to let the Holy Spirit (in His fullness) back in. He’s sweetly, and swiftly helped me get back to the root of my dreams and aspirations and helped me realize what He has given me. Let me tall ya, where I am now is VASTLY different from where I was for a while. And my dreams look much different too. The biggest differences now are that my dreams take into account absolutely ZERO limits, and ultimately He and His glory are the final destination.
I feel like I’ve probably lost you, my dear reader, by now. So, I’m going to be more literal.
Why am I writing this right now? Well to be honest, I’m at the end of the diving board again. I have my big ole dreams of how I can serve Jesus in tow and my faith is acting as my little floaties on either arm. It’s time to jump. And the truth is I’ve been reluctant to do so, simply because I don’t want to be disappointed anymore. I don’t want to let my dreams run wild, only to have nothing happen. The moment I do that, the moment I give Jesus my already large dreams, I know they will grow like weeds and I will have no control over them OR the actual situation that is my life. The fear of disappointment is just a creepin’ around the corner.
However, here is the main, very important, difference this time: my dreams are built on Jesus and wanting to love and serve Him. I actually do not care about what happens to me as long as it brings Him glory. And I am not boasting on my behalf. No, no, no. His Holy Spirit so thankfully has taken my heart and made it more like His, something that I could have never done on my own. Let that serve as a testimony to His goodness, because it’s hard to be like Jesus sometimes, and it’s not by my own effort, but by His retaliation when I let myself go and take up my cross. How awesome is that?
That all being the case, here’s what I know. He loves me so much. He will never let me fail. Even if my dreams don’t play out exactly the way I dream them, doesn’t that mean He has something better waiting for me? I mean ultimately, heaven is waiting for us, and I’m positive that it can’t get better than that. So what have I to fear? No matter what, no matter what, no matter what, it is all going to be okay.
So we’ve addressed that end of it. Now here’s the faith boost: no matter what our dreams or expectations are, the reality is Jesus defeated sin and death in 3 days (Just 3. Something that had an effect over all of time, took 3 days for Him to defeat). AND He rose from the dead. Nothing is impossible. And when His presence is in our lives, we have all we need.
Why am I making this a post for all to read? Well folks, I earnestly believe that one of the most defining characteristics of our generation is that we all dream big, and the reason that all of us millennials are having a hard time with being in this phase of life is because we’re afraid that all that’s around the corner is disappointment. We can make jokes about it all we want to, but by giving it so much time and attention, it’s just making the problem worse.
So my message to all of you is to pick up your little floaties, and jump. Jesus is not telling you to jump into something that’s going to kill you. Your eternity is secured, and He should know because He’s the one that did it for you. BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU. And why would someone that loves us, tell us to do something that is going to hurt us? If we place everything in Him, nothing bad can happen. Don’t try to figure out the logic in it, because that’s thinking in worldly terms, and we are spiritual beings my dears!
And here’s something else. Three years ago I made the mistake of letting other things besides Jesus define my dreams. At this point it’d be a sin to do anything but let Him fan those flames. There’s no way I can’t give Jesus these crazy dreams and let them run wild. So just go ahead and take it from me, it’s better to give Him your heart, and go after your God-given dreams than to not.
So let’s face our challenges and opportunities today with confidence and faith-filled hearts, all the while meeting everyone with love (that’s the most important part, so don’t forget!).
And here’s my technical update: for me, change is around the corner again. I have dreams for how it could all work out, but I know that if it doesn’t it’ll be okay. I don’t even need a “fail safe” for my hope (ahem, a distraction, as in “well, if ths doesn’t work out, then I will focus on this”), because my hope is in Jesus. He is the one that leads my footsteps, not my emotions. I would share what all I’m dreaming, but it’s not even nearly as important as what’s written above, and it would just make all this even longer. Also, you’d be like whaaaaa? So go forth, and give all you got to Jesus. Don’t fear disappointment cause it’s not even worth it! Love y’all,