I’ve had dreams a lot on my mind lately. Not the while-sleeping type (even though my pastor has been talking about those), but the while-awake variety…dreams of visiting far off places…dreams of accomplishing things and becoming things.
I’ve had lots of those kinds of dreams in my life. Some of them have faded as time went by. Others have morphed into something different. Still others, God has fulfilled the substance and the desire behind the dream in a way I never could have dreamed of.
Many of the dreams I’ve dreamed over the years have been downright selfish. Surprisingly, God has even granted some of those.
But over the course of this last year or so, I’ve discovered a new joy and fulfillment in ministry. No…I have no big, in-front-of-people ministry like many people think of when they hear that word. I’m just talking about the ministry we’re all called to…that of loving people. Actively, sacrificially, (and in some inexplicably way effortlessly), distributing love…love that seems to flow from God to them, depositing wells of joy in my heart on its way through.
That joy is feeding a new dream. It’s a dream birthed and fed and only possible through supernatural love, and it’s a dream only possible in the natural if/when God approves and provides the resources, the way, the connections, the grace, the approval, the support, and the stamina.
But I don’t doubt He has all of those things. He is, after all, God.
I’ve only shared bits and pieces of this dream with only a few people.Why? Well…it would so completely have to be a God-thing, that it just seems pointless to do much other than watch. And wait. To see if this dream was God-breathed or not. To see if the current version of this dream is just a shadow of what He’s intending. To see if it morphs into something that is still currently beyond my wildest dreams. After all…the only One who could orchestrate the fulfillment of this dream is also beyond my wildest dreams. It’s also a dream that would involve a lot of life-pouring, and I know that only works when God is the one behind it.
And so I wait.
But I’ve been handed–in a total God-sort-of-way– a chance to go to a conference next week that might…just maybe…be a thread that is part of the fabric of this dream. I’m in a bit of awe about how it dropped in my lap, but in a quiet sort of way. It’s hard to get too excited about one small thread. Yet it stirs a bit of joy and curiosity in my spirit just to watch that thread float down from heaven.
Maybe all of this is why this other blog post ministered to me this morning. I haven’t followed many other blogs lately, but this morning I ran down my feed reader to see what was there, and for some not-really-all-that-unknown reason, my eyes landed on a post from Justin and Trisha titled “Dream Releaser, not Giver.”
Justin and Trisha’s blog is more centered on their amazing marriage testimony and ministry, but sometimes they post on other things. Like today’s.
Justin talked about his son and the discovery that his son’s dream was less his son’s, and more his own. And so he asked about his son’s dreams, and what he heard floored him. His son’s dream is, for a 12-year-old, about the size that my dream is for me. You see, this 12-year-old dreams of raising $30,000 for Africa and missions.
And you know what God whispered to Justin’s heart?
“Your job is to be a dream releaser for your sons, not a dream giver. I am the giver of dreams. I want you to release them.”
In following my resolution, I asked myself, “Is this Biblical?” I believe it is.
Consider Phil. 2:13. My NAS says, “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Several other translations interpret it as “It is God who produces in you the desires and actions that please Him.” I can agree with that. The sort of dreams that please God certainly aren’t going to come from anywhere else!
God also promises that He gives us the desires of our heart, if we seek Him first. It seems fairly obvious to me that the only way God could/would give that kind of promise is because, as we seek Him, the desires of our heart become aligned with the desires of His heart. And if you want to know God’s desires, just read the Bible! I think that 12-year-old is going to watch God make his dream come true.
There’s also these other two little verses I really like.
Exodus 31 and 1 Kings 7:13 talk about the men who would craft His tabernacle and build His temple.
Imagine these men with the skills to create beautiful things out of gold, silver, bronze, and the best of materials. But they weren’t kings. I hardly think it’s likely that they had these sorts of materials laying around to do whatever they wanted to with them. Most likely they carved things out of stone and clay and dreamed. I know, because I’ve done it. You can’t have a skill without wishing you could stretch it’s boundaries and see just what you’re capable of.
If only I had the money to buy the silks I’ve heard of! Wow, the way they drape and hang and shimmer…I could create such beautiful things with them!
If only I had a bunch of gold! It’s so much softer than this stone…the things I could create with it would be so incredible! And bronze! This tiny piece is amazing to work with. If only I had enough to create this idea I have! But it’s not like I’ll ever be able to afford that. I’m no king.
But then came the day when the leader of their people called them, and their entire nation supplied the gold and silver and bronze…which just so happened to have once been the wealth of Egypt. Then came the day when the richest king in the world called them and placed the greatest treasury in the world at their disposal…to create their masterpieces, as worship to God.
But this wasn’t just them dreaming and God choosing to grant them their dreams. This was God placing the dreams their hearts to begin with. God said, “See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship. And behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you…”
Almost five years ago, I posted here about a new song I’d found. It has the line, “God of my dreams” in it. I wrote:
That phrase, “God of all my dreams” spoke to me so much.
It has a double meaning.
One meaning places God inside the dream, and one places Him outside of it… one meaning originates within us, and the other within God. Our part of it is to make God the God of our dreams… to keep our dreams for our future and for our children and our loved ones submitted to Him and His will… to make Him the center of our dreams.
BUT… oh the wonder of realizing that God is infinitely capable of making the dreams of our heart come true! He is so much bigger than our dreams. Though we should place Him inside the center of our dreams, He can’t be contained there. In fact, He holds our future and the realization of those dreams in the palm of His hand! In reality, all of this is nothing more than what Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I guess it just ministered to me in a fresh way, coming through a song.
I still love that song.