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I had a bona fide nightmare last night. Not only were bad things happening to me in my dream, but I was actually the bad guy. Oh my! I'll spare you the rather gory details, but let's just say it resembled an episode of Law and Order (which I watch way to much of, evidently).
I dream vivid and often exhausting dreams most every night. If you have a solution for that, please let me know. I'd love to turn life down a little more in my sleep. I think I'd rest better without having to star in my own technicolor nocturnal films every night. But alas I've dreamed big all my life.
Those midnight story lines aren't the biggest dreams in my life, however. While I may awaken tired from working things out with my head on my pillow, I have learned to put those imaginary antics away fairly quickly by turning my heart and mind to praising the Lord, anticipating the activities of the day or listening to encouraging music.
The dreams that really drive me are the ones God has planted in my heart. Like Martin Luther King, whom we celebrate today, I have dreamed dreams, too. I have dreamed of seeing God do great works in my church. I have dreamed of my children growing up to be adults who love and serve the Lord in the unique ways He has created them to. I have dreamed of my marriage growing in sweetness and joy, culminating in an adventurous retirement. I've dreamed of ministering God's Word and love to the hearts of women so that they find their hope and peace in Him. And I've dreamed other dreams too personal and fragile to share in such a public forum. You, too?
Some of my dreams have come true. Some are in process. And some are for future days. Sometimes my dreams frustrate me because life seems to take me on detours in the opposite direction from those dreams. Sometimes I feel I may have dreamed up my dreams, know what I mean? Like maybe they are more wishful thinking than God-inspired visions.
I don't think any of these dreams were birthed in my sleep. I guess that may happen to some people. It happened to Joseph in Genesis 37 and another Joseph in Matthew 1. But my dreams have all begun as joyful inclinations, tugs on my heart, tiny seeds of hope divinely planted by the mysterious hand of God.
Sometimes I didn't even know I had a dream until someone else noticed it first, pointing out to me that a certain desire seemed to be driving much of my thoughts, conversation and goals. Other times the dreams surfaced as I journaled or as I talked from my heart to someone who pressed in and asked the right questions. Still other times my dreams came alive in that still, quiet place I share with God alone...maybe as I read from His Word or poured out my heart to Him in prayer.
Nightmares and silly dreams often light up our nighttime slumber, but for God's dreams to burn in our hearts we must walk consistently in His light. He alone is the one who plants dreams of hope and passion and purpose...that actually come true.
Do you have dreams that tug at your heart and light up your soul? Do those dreams sometimes seem too big and out of this world? Do they feel improbable and, well, divine? And for those reasons, do those dreams sometimes seem silly and vain?
Don't discount your dreams, sweet friend. God plants dreams in our lives in order to spur us on to the good works He has divinely designed for each of us to accomplish (Ephesians 2:10). And if those dreams seem awfully big and beyond you, that's all the more reason to believe that indeed they come from God. After all, He's a mighty big God, able to accomplish so much more than you ever dreamed or imagined on your own (Ephesians 3:20-21).
Today I begin writing a new Bible study--one I've dreamed of writing for some time now. And I'll be carefully examining the life and amazing testimony of one of those dreamers: Joseph (Genesis 37-50). This man who lived thousands of years ago has been such a compelling example to me in recent months as I have begged God to keep my heart soft while walking through a hard place. For several weeks, however, I have dug deeper into Joseph's story and found oh so much more to grab hold of than I first thought was there. And I can't wait to share what I've found with you and others.
Will you pray for me as I walk full force into this dream? I would appreciate your prayer support and encouragement so much.
Meanwhile, if you'd like to explore the concept of God-planted dreams a little more and perhaps gain some perspective on how to better reach toward those dreams, may I suggest a couple of books that have blessed me tremendously?
First, check out Holley Gerth's You're Made for a God-Sized Dream. It's available both in paperback and electronic formats.
And then you also might enjoy her 40-day devotional guide, Opening the Door to Your God-Sized Dream. It's available in hardcover, paperback and ebook.
Dream on, sweet friend!
By the way, this post is not a paid or solicited endorsement of Holley Gerth's books. I just liked them and thought you might, too!
Labels: books, dreams, Joseph