Blog by Jenny & Mark Rowan
A few years back I had a dream in which Pastor Steve and I were visiting a jungle in Central America. He was explaining to me how he discovered gold. After this, I saw gold coins lying on the ground and began picking them up. Later in the dream I was with Pastor Steve in his office and he pulls out a plain looking stone. With a chisel he cracks it open to reveal a beautiful, sparkling blue geode. He hands over half of the stone to me. We’ll get back to this later.
When Fantine belts out the famous tune “I Dreamed a Dream” in the Les Miserables musical, the song ends on quite the downer … “Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.” If you’ve read the novel, seen the play or movie I’m sure you can see why the tragic character had this sentiment. She is an illiterate orphan who had an illegitimate child who loses her factory job and turns to prostitution whereupon she contracts tuberculosis and dies of a seizure. That’s a nightmare not a dream.
We may not experience the level of tragedy that our fictional friend Fantine suffered through, but life often does try to kill our dreams. The New Year gives us the opportunity to assess where we are and where we want to go. Often this can be an exciting, hope-filled exercise as we set new goals and resolve to do better with health, finances, relationships and more. On the other hand, it can be a reminder that the hopes and dreams of previous years never really materialized the way we envisioned.
Generally speaking, dreams are seen as a good thing. Every day people are pursuing the American Dream which could include finding their dream house or meeting a spouse who is beyond their wildest dreams. (I can cross that one off the list!) However, there are some thoughts that enter into our minds that dreams are only for fairytales and Disney movies. You may recognize some of these idioms that have a not-so-positive connotation.
“In your dreams!”
“That’s a pipe dream!”
“Stop day dreaming!”
These phrases come from a place where life killed a dream at some point in time. They are uttered when people begin to do or believe for something that seems unrealistic. The attitudes surrounding these words are negative and hopeless. We may or may not hear them from outside voices but more often than not our dream killers involve an internal dialogue.
Today, we change things. It’s time to redefine these nagging voices of unbelief. We are flipping the script from “only in your dreams” to “dreams really do come true!”
In Your Dreams!
If you have been around me any length of time, you will know that I’m really into dreams. The kind you have while you are sleeping. God uses dreams all the time to speak to us. Just like the one I mentioned at the beginning. I love diving into the mystery and finding out what He is saying. Dreams are full of symbols and the same object can mean completely different things to different people. God is especially good at crafting unique messages that address our life in a very specific way. In other words, dreams are personal.
The next time you hear “in your dreams!” realize it is YOUR dream. Take ownership of the vision and goals that God has put inside of you. Just as He expertly designed your one-of-a-kind fingerprint, our Father has put inside of you a dream that is like nobody else’s. No one on earth can complete the destiny that God set up for you. Before you were born God was dreaming about you and all that you would do. He’s got plans for you. Not only are they your dreams but they are His, as well. Jeremiah 29:11(NIV) reminds us that God is dreaming about us, “I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Our job is to believe with Him and know they are our dreams to fulfill.
If you are not familiar with the origin of “pipe dreams” I will let you research that on your own In today’s vernacular it conveys the idea of “that is too big of a dream to ever happen.” You’re crazy if you are dreaming to become the next president, break Usain Bolt’s 100 meter time, earn multi-millions of dollars, etc. At one point motorized horse carriages, space travel and instantaneous worldwide communication were all pipe dreams. Someone had the audacity to dream big and go for it. What is one person’s pipe dream is another person’s reality.
We have a great example to follow in the department of “go big or go home.” Just look into the night sky and marvel at the vastness of creation to get a glimpse of how to dream big. While God is interested in the intricate details of life, He is a big God with big goals. The most quoted verse in the Bible, John 3:16(ESV), reminds us of His gargantuan vision, “For God so loved the WORLD, He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not die but have eternal life.” This verse is full of God’s big, inclusive heart … the world, whoever, everlasting. He is looking to each one of us to go big in our dreams to help Him reach the world.
It is not a time to hold back but to stretch out. If your dream scares you a little bit, that’s a good sign! Leave room for faith in your dreams. While God has chosen to rely on us, we have to rely on Him to see our pipe dreams come true.
Economics classes, doctor’s offices and airport terminals seem to be where day dreams tend to manifest. Many would claim that this type of dreaming is the result of lack of focus or boredom. I will not be convincing you to ditch your responsibilities and take a trip to la-la land, though. We’re going more practical with day dreams.
One reason we write down our goals and resolutions each January is so we can keep track of our progress. In order to see our dreams come true, we cannot forget what they are. If you haven’t taken time to transcribe your dreams, do it now. You can read the rest of this later. Go on. Do it! Habakkuk 2:2(NKJV) says, “Write the vision; make it plain so he may run who reads it.” In order to move forward effectively, have a well written plan.
Each day is opportunity to take some action towards that dream. Choose your favorite platitude to insert here … Rome was not built in a day or every journey starts with one step. We’ve heard those all of our lives but they still resonate. Even day dreaming about what it will be like to live out your goals has value. However small the step you take, make it a point to keep the dream alive on a regular basis.
To recap, take ownership of your big dream and don’t forget it takes small steps to get there.
Remember my dream with Pastor Steve? Five years ago I titled it “Gifts from God.” At their core that’s what dreams are — a gift for you to unwrap. While this dream was personal to me, I do believe it has application to us all. Let’s unwrap this mystery together.
In this dream, Pastor Steve represents the voice or heart of God. God wants to take us to places we’ve never been before and help us discover valuable treasure. Spending time with the Father allows our dreams to be awakened. Not only that but he will use people around us to reveal what we previously did not know was there. In this, we find that what is on the inside of us is much more beautiful than we ever thought.
Your dream is valuable because you are valuable. God saw fit to deposit it into your heart before you knew it was there. Treasure is waiting to be discovered. Dreams are waiting to be fulfilled. Breathe life into the dream you dreamed.
Bible Study: Go more in depth with dreams with Jennie Allen’s 14 day devotional “Discover God’s Dream for You.” https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1360-discover-gods-dream-for-you-by-jennie-allen