The summer months are dwindling, slowly but surely. With each new dawn that develops into dusk before our eyes, we get a little closer- a little closer to growing up. I think that the process of growing up can be a virus: a virus in the business of caging up our spirits and souls, taming them, silencing them. Growing up doesn't stop, and it doesn't discriminate. Life gets busier by the minute, but the Father has been teaching me that there is a way to make sure the light in us doesn't go out. In fact, He's showing me how to make it burn even brighter.
The answer is dreams.
I've seen it my whole life. I watch people become adults. They create families, get jobs, and they become martyrs. They sacrifice. And they do this for their families, and it's beautiful. People sacrifice because they love who they do life with and want the best for them. But somewhere along the way in this beautiful process, something gets overlooked. Spirits get locked away and people forget where they put the key. All of the sudden, eyes don't see the little things so clearly anymore, because the big responsibilities take up their entire field of vision. And maybe I lack lots of experience here. I'm 18 years old, in college, and I have no one else I'm obligated to provide for except for myself. But I know that I don't ever want "life happening" to get in the way of what really matters. And I know that I want to share what really matters with who I do life with.
And the other day it occurred to me, as I read through Love Does by Bob Goff again- dreams. They're magical. When the Lord puts a dream in our hearts, and we choose to obey Him and go after it, we're choosing adventure. We're choosing struggle. But we're choosing joy too.
Then my heart tore in two- because sometimes when people grow up, they forget that they're still allowed to dream. Or maybe they were never even told they were allowed to. Too many people are letting their dreams die, or letting the world define their dreams, not dreaming at all, or forgetting to look to Jesus when they do dream. I think that dreams matter, and that dreams should bring joy. Like I said, maybe it's just easier for me. I'm more able to dream than most, because I don't really have to share my dreams with anyone but Jesus. But the joy these dreams bring me is too great for anyone to be cheated of it. No dreams are too big, and none too small, but they should be shared with the Father.
I just desire for people to remember what it feels like to want things, to have ideas, and to choose joy. Risks and frivolousness don't really matter in the long run. Maybe your dream won't get rid of sickness, and maybe it won't save the world- but if it invites joy into your heart and makes Jesus smile and makes others smile, just dream it. And then take your dream and translate it into an action.
So explore, sail from sea to sea, chase things intently and deliberately, don't be afraid of a good idea. But also, don't be crushed if any of your dreams fall through; remember, our dreams are not what define us. M. Craig Barnes once said: that we spend most of our lives trying to make things happen for ourselves and for people we love. But life is not reduced to what you give or know or achieve. Nor is it reduced to your mistakes, your failures, or your sin. Life isn't even defined by whom you love. Rather, it is defined by the God who loves you. In other words, you are not the central character-- not even of your own life's story. This is not meant to demean you; it is meant to set you free.
The Father's plan is good- let Him be the central character, let Him love you, trust that He has joy for you, and seek it! Love does. Dreaming does. And if we're not loving and dreaming, what are we doing?
Recently, the Lord opened my eyes up to the difference between existing and living. He showed me the image of a caged up bird, and made it clear that I am the bird, we are the bird, locked up in the cage. He gave us the power to push the cage door open. And He can help us to fly- we just have to ask. And He continued to make it clear that dreaming is part of learning to fly. Being passionate about something is an important part of living. And after spending so long just merely existing, I desire for people to know that the Lord wants them to seek joy in fully living. He wants you to seek joy in fully living.
So it's time for you and it's time for me to open up the cage door, to seek joy in adventure, and to dream the dream(s) Jesus put in our hearts. The best way to cure existence is to live-- and today is the day to start doing that.