Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dreams (and how we can miss them)

It's after midnight and I can't sleep.
My hubby and the kids are asleep.
My parents are asleep downstairs.
My brother-in-law and sister-in-law and adorable niece are asleep down the hall.
Rosie the Ferret was asleep, but now she's crunching her food behind me and it sounds like she keeps playing in the food bowl.
I sit here on the couch in my cozy fleece Christmas robe and fleece Christmas lounge-y pants, awash in the glow of Christmas tree lights and covered by my favorite fluffy faux-fur blanket.

I keep thinking back to a conversation I had with a friend the other day.
About dreams, about expectations, about knowing that something is coming, but not knowing how it's going to happen.
Or, worse yet, knowing it's coming and assuming we know how it's going to get here.

God places dreams in our hearts because He is calling us to something.
He knows what we are capable of, what He created us for.
He gives us glimpses of the future in our mind's eye, but very rarely does He show us how we will get there.
That's the part we're supposed to walk out... in faith... expectantly...
void of assumption.

It's the assumption part that can really mess with us.
Because we see ourselves at the start, we think we see the finish of the dream in our heart that we so desperately yearn for, and then we assume we know how the race should be run.
Many times we assume because we look at how other people are running their race,
and we think, "Oh! That's how it's done! Just how they're doing it!"

The thing is, we were created to run our own race, walk out our own calling.
And the people around us were created to run their own race and walk out their own calling.
Even if the callings are similar and the dreams seem to run parallel, it's our own folly to assume we're going to reach them the same way
...or to watch someone's life from afar and, not knowing what their true life is like or what they've gone through to reach their dream, think that we'll slide into it easy-peasey like they seem to have done.

We can know something is coming, we can yearn for the dream, and yet miss it altogether if we assume.

It's Christmas.
I love this season.
Yet, I think of an unassuming stable in Bethlehem that seems so obvious to us now...
and how it wasn't so obvious to the Jews of that day.
I think of how they knew something was coming.
A Savior had been promised to come and rescue, come and save, come and redeem, come and reign.
The dream of His arrival was in every Jews' heart, yearning for the day when God would send His Son to overthrow the world's kingdom and establish His throne forever.
But they missed it.
He came, and they missed it... because they assumed.
He walked the earth in front of their very eyes, and they couldn't see it.
He conquered death right in the middle of their everyday life, and they were unable to recognize it for what it was... because they assumed.
They assumed it would happen a certain way. They knew the signs. They knew the calling.
They knew what would happen.
Yet they missed it because it didn't happen how they assumed it would.

The fulfillment of great dreams nearly always comes from very humble beginnings.
Because God can and will use anything.
In the dirtiest and most overlooked of places He will give rise to hope.
From the most common and ordinary of people He will raise heroes.
From the most impossible of circumstances He will bring victory.
And even in the midst of great criticism and attack, He will accomplish His plan.

What are we missing because of our assumptions?
Are we enduring unnecessary pain and frustration because our dream isn't happening the way we assumed it would?
Are we upset or annoyed with God... with life... because our calling isn't being used in the way we assumed it would be?
Our assumptions can grow large,
and they can ultimately blind us to the fulfillment of our dream... of our calling.

Did you catch that?
Our assumptions of how our dream should happen can blind us to the reality that it is.
That it is happening.
That we're walking through it right now.
Because we think it should like ________.
That it should bring us ________.
That it should feel like _________.
That those around us should say ________.

But the reality is that we see through a glass, darkly.
Only God knows how we will reach the dream He so lovingly placed in our hearts.
Only He knows the path that we'll follow in walking out what He's called us to.
But, it will happen. Because He said it will. Because He's placed it in us. Because He's called us to it.

"And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord." Luke 1:45

Our only job is to walk out, step by step, what He leads us to walk out.
Without assuming. 
Without getting angry because the path to our dream doesn't look like the path someone else took to a dream that seems similar.
Without getting frustrated at what is in our path, or where our path takes us.
Without being so confident in what we think will happen that we miss what is actually happening.

Because the fulfillment of very great dreams nearly always comes from very humble beginnings.

From the most menial of tasks will come the training we need to step into our future.
From the most frustrating of circumstances will come the courage to step forward and take hold of the seemingly impossible.
From the most unlikely of relationships will come the foundation of support for what we're dreaming of and called to.

Even you, sitting there reading this now, thinking your dreams have been lost and that you are called to nothing...
that, too, is an assumption.
And if you assume, then you are indeed at risk of missing it.
Just like the nation of Israel 2000 years ago.
Just like the Jews who are still waiting for the arrival of their Savior... who already came.
Or just like those who have given up waiting and think He has not/will not come... because they missed His coming and refuse to believe that they may have missed it.

What are you missing?
What have you missed?
What are you in danger of missing?

Let's put aside our assumptions and embrace the One who sees clearly the past, the future and the right now...
and walk into it.

(And everyone is still asleep, except me, but now including Rosie the Ferret who decided my fleece Christmas robe was a good place to take up residence.)

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