When my son woke this morning, the first thing he wanted to tell me about was the dream he had last night. He couldn’t contain his excitement as he described the entire dream in detail. As he explained every minute of the dream, I could see his mind wandering back to it again. He dreamed that he and his best friend had gone to Disney World together, by themselves, and it sounded like they had a blast. The color that he brought over from the dream in his description was extraordinary. His imagination was running full steam ahead in his little brain while he slept. As he talked, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of envy. When was the last time I had a dream that was that colorful, fun and steeped in imagination? For sure I have dreams, but typically they are born out of anxiety, stress or worry.
As a child, I had very vivid dreams. Occasionally they were scary, but mostly they were exciting and farfetched. I was also prone to day dream. My day dreams always centered around places I wanted to visit one day or what I wanted to be when I grew up. Some days I imagined myself as a fashion designer who designed the latest fashions in New York. Sometimes I was a doctor curing childhood diseases. The next day I was a journalist writing hard hitting news. More often than not, I dreamed of being a writer or poet.
The dreams started to slow down as I went off to college but not right at first, hence the multiple major changes from pre-med, to journalism, to public health, etc. As I approached my senior year, I started to feel the pressure of what in the actual heck am I going to do with my life? And in that moment, the realism bug hit. I needed to pick something practical and I needed to pick something fast. I settled on health education. Quickly after making that decision, I felt the tug from God that maybe, just maybe He wanted me go into ministry. After I graduated college I went to seminary, but while I felt like I was following God’s call what I didn’t realize was everyday I was become less of a dreamer and more of a realist.
Don’t get me wrong, becoming less of a dreamer and more of a realist is part of the natural process of growing out of childhood into adulthood. But, I would surmise that more often than not us adults swing the pendulum a little too far into the realm of being way more “adultish” and less and less of a dreamer with an active imagination.
The past few years, at the beginning of the year, I’ve tried to sit down to think and pray about one word for the upcoming year. Last year, my word was brave. This year, I believe the word for me is imagine. I feel like God is calling me to return a little bit back to my life as a dreamer.
No, I have no plans to move to some cabin in the woods and spend all my time in an imaginary world. Nor do I plan to sit at my desk and stare out the window all day, daydreaming. But, I do feel the pull to maybe a little more often than not, imagine possibilities that at first don’t seem logical or realistic or practical.
As I sit here and type, the thought of maybe re-kindling a little bit of the imagination that I believe is God-given, brings tears to my eyes. What have I been missing out on because I too often choose the practical road with the known results? What about if sometimes I chose the road that seems wildly far-fetched, outside the realm of possibility, or dare I say, sometimes even scary? Yes, maybe life won’t fall into place exactly how I imagine, but maybe it will be a little bit closer to the life God has for me instead of the one I’ve designed by putting Him and my practical plans in a little box.
Honestly, the thought of spending more time imagining and dreaming sounds terribly fun and romantic. What’s scary is the thought of pursuing in reality the stuff of dreams. What about you? What dreams have you let die in favor of realism? Do you feel the tug at all to maybe occasionally step into your imagination and dream a little bigger? Do you have a “one word” for your 2018?
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV