I think we all have an idea of what we want our lives to look like. Goals, dreams, and expectations for our families, friendships, careers, health, etc. ‘By the time I’m (whatever age or time frame) I want to accomplish x, y, z’. Some of you may have done or are in the process of doing everything you set out to do. I applaud you. I admire you.
But for those of you who fall into the other category with me, you’ve achieved some things but others are still up in the air. I’ve crossed off many things on my list. Other goals have question marks beside them and a few have disappeared altogether.
Some things have not be as easy to accomplish as others. As I’ve grown and evolved some things I wanted when I was younger seem so silly now, but I’ve acquired new goals along the way. Pursuing dreams while remaining level-headed can be a tricky and delicate balance.
I’m simultaneously a dreamer and a realist. I’m still trying to figure out how that can be. Both of these sides contradict one another and at the same time they need one another to survive. I sometimes have a hard time balancing the two. No dream is ever accomplished without setbacks, failures, and stumbles along the way. But if you’re going to pursue it you have to expect it to happen.
What happens when your dream doesn’t come to pass? What if it’s delayed? What if it happens, but it doesn’t turn out how you thought it would? Disappointment cannot be avoided. This is when you have to evaluate your expectations. Was your hope in the goal or in God?
Where my man-made fantasies may fail, dreams from God will always prevail.
This can be a hard realization. We can get so caught up in what we want, that we lose sight of the Dream Giver. Just because an idea is good, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s part of God’s plan for you. Yet when he is the author of your dream, you have to trust him to write the story and finish it. You have to take a leap of faith and trust the results to him. Dreaming big demands taking big risks!
As a young man, Joseph had a dream that he would be great and highly regarded over his older brothers. In his naiveté, he shared with them his great vision and they betrayed him because of it [read Genesis 37 – 50]. It was God-given, but the path to seeing his dream become reality would be full of difficulties and took many years. Through it all he remained faithful to God and when the time came he showed his brothers mercy in spite of what they had done to him.
We can learn so much about ourselves in looking at Joseph’s life. I’ve learned to let go of my preconceived expectations and not everyone will understand the desires in my heart. I still have goals I want to conquer before I leave this earth, but I’m always checking to make sure they’re from God and not just some purely selfish ambition.
I’m constantly working to place my expectation in him, and not solely in how I want my life to turn out. I’m learning to release some plans in order to adopt different objectives as God redirects and realigns my life. You must be open and fluid in this journey. Have the type of faith that knows when to fight and when to let go.
I share my innermost longings with the Lord. I lay all my dreams, hopes, and desires before him. My great expectation has to be not in what I lay down, but in the One who will pick them up and make it what he wants it to be. He may even replace some dreams with new ones in the process. I have to believe that he will give me peace when it doesn’t work out how I imagine, and indescribable joy when it does.