There’s a part of me that’s never been much of a dreamer. I’m a daydreamer, for sure– I’m in my own head a lot of the day, picturing what I want my life to look like. It’s an escape tactic, a “I wish this is how things worked out” picture reel, my ideal wannabe life playing in my head like a movie.
Except I’ve never really believed any of it could come true. Because daydreams are just dreams.
Daydreams are one thing, fueled mostly by boredom and the what-ifs of life. But actually dreaming about my life? Something I’ve never done.
I’m a planner by nature, not a dreamer. A logical, dedicated, helpful worker bee. I need schedules, goals, and a plan. I have a get-it-done mindset. It’s the reason I love helping people: I want to be useful, to be needed to help get things done (even when I can’t get anything done in my own life). I’m the capable, reliable, what-would-we-do-without-you? friend that spends more time focusing on what she can fix and do in front of her rather than what she could dream up for the future. A lot of this stems from my perfectionist, earning/proving my worth mindset, but it’s ingrained in me to plan, work, and do, and not to dream about unrealistic ideas or thoughts.
I like to do, put my words into action and actually accomplish something– something I never thought dreams could do.
Dreams have always seemed lofty to me. Dreams were too much pie-in-the-sky, head in the clouds wishful thinking and less working and doing and earning that I was accustomed to.
I’ve never been a dreamer, imagining beyond the scope of what I can work towards or plan. If it’s not something I can map out and figure out and work hard towards, then what’s the point?
If there’s not an end goal, a point B, a light at the end of the tunnel, then I want out. I don’t just wanna sit around and dream about things that can happen possibly; I want to make things happen that I know will happen.
Except I don’t. I don’t know that they will happen. I used to think I did. I had it all planned out, remember? Then God said no. And I had to say goodbye to a chapter that I thought was going to be forever. (and for the record: I’m so glad I did, because it’s changed my life for the better).
I had no clue what to do next. I didn’t have any plans, let alone dreams, to cling to.
It’s been a year almost to the day that my plans began to unravel. I’m happy to say that I’m truthfully in a great place— I’m in a job that i love, i feel at home with the people I live with, co-workers already feel like family, I’m enjoying my roles and responsibilities and actually feel supported and capable of the task at hand. Such. a. difference. I’m at such peace about where I’m at right now. Hallelujah amen.
But I’ve still not given thought to what my dreams of the future look like.
A few months ago at camp, my dear mentor Papa Steve told us at counselor training to “don’t just dream big. just DREAM.” Dream big, dream small, dream no matter the size. Just dream. The thought of dreams has been on my mind since then, but it faded quickly into the background due to in-front-of-me things like work and life changes. I didn’t have time for the abstract, lofty thinking that dreaming required.
Dreams are a big deal at the nonprofit I’m interning at. (Preston Taylor Ministries— they are awesome and you should totally check them out, especially if you’re local!). They have dream coaches that help kids discover and live out their God-inspired dreams, Fun Friday activities that provide enrichment activities for kids to work towards their dream and grow in the activities and dreams they’re passionate about, and summer camp opportunities to help kids at a more in-depth look at what their dreams could do.
All for helping kids dream about something more than they’re living in right now.
One of the major tenets of the mission statement at PTM is to help kids “discover and live their God-inspired dreams.”
I’d literally never even thought of that phrase before PTM.
God-inspired dreams?! I’ve heard of God’s plans. I’ve heard of God’s will. But dreams?! God inspires dreams?! This is all new to this type-A logical human, people.
On our get to know you posters, we were asked to write our own God-inspired dreams. I drew a complete blank, before scribbling something about writing on there that I have no clue what it means.
A few days ago one of my roommates/co-interns asked what I thought my God-inspired dream was, and I said I don’t know because I literally had no answer.
Because the path I’d been going down? It was all in a plan. It was never based off a dream. I’ve never based my life off of a dream.
I’ve never dreamed like that, if that makes sense. I’ve never really thought so much about dreams as being something to really put thought into like I would a plan or a goal. They’re just… well, dreams. Ideas. Lofty wishes that don’t add up to much.
I’ve merely planned, and hoped to God that it would work out. But as I’ve clearly learned over the past year, that’s not always the best route.
So as I’m encouraging my kids to discover their God-inspired dreams… I’m learning how to discover my own God-inspired dreams, too.
Because I want to dream instead of just plan.
I want to wonder instead of work towards something that isn’t guaranteed.
I want to learn how to dream without the fear of the unknown crashing down around me.
I want to believe what Ephesians 3:20 says–that God can do immeasurably more than I think. Or imagine. Or dream. He can do so much more than I can– so why not dream up something?
I used to be able to come up with a million reasons as to why not– it’s not logical. there’s no plan. i’m not capable or ready or able to do the things that people dream about. i’d rather plan something small, something I can do that’s tangible and realistic.
But that’s not our God, I’m learning (sometimes the hard way, ugh). Our God didn’t call us to be planners that only do what they think they’re capable of. He calls us to let Him do the work in us, and that could take us anywhere and doing anything. Even something we don’t understand or don’t think we’re capable of.
Here I am. Send me. Those words are usually a casting call for those that want God to use them to do extraordinary things only He can accomplish, right? They’re not meant to be said and then a path be planned and mapped out with pristine perfection– they’re meant to be lived. Boldly. Bravely.
That’s what dreams are, I’m realizing: they aren’t lofty wishful thinking. They’re bold, brave, loud declarations that God has given me these gifts and talents and passions to do something bigger than myself. They aren’t perfect paths or well mapped out courses where I work from point A to point B. Dreams are where our skills, talents, and gifts intersect with the passions and desires of the heart God has given us. They’re where we discover that God has given us our personalities and talents for a reason– and dreams are what we create when we figure out these things about ourselves.
At least that’s how I want to think–I’m in the process of changing my mindset on plans and dreams. It’s a work in progress. I’m still in my planner, worker-bee mindset, proving my worth by what I do and how I plan my path. But I’m learning how to give my plans over and let God plant a dream in me instead. It’s a total life change, but I believe God can take my mess and make it into something I can dream of using, right?!
So. How do I learn to be a dreamer? I have no clue. Truly.
I don’t know what dreams look like, let alone God-inspired dreams. But my prayer currently is for God to show me my dreams– and show me how to dream. How to discover the dreams– the skills, the passions, the desires of my heart that He’s given me to pursue Him and his people better.
I want to dream God-inspired dreams and not plans of my own volition. I want to be willing to dream instead of work towards something that may not come to pass on my own.
I’m going to start discovering less plans for my life and more dreams. I want to believe that God can do immeasurably more than I think… so I might as well take a risk and dream up something only God can do.