Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dreams

What is a dream? I don't mean the kind in your sleep, but that longing for something specific to happen.

There was a time when I didn’t believe in dreams. Someone asked me, “What do you dream about?” and I said “I don’t dream.” It seemed too fantastical to me, to spend time and energy indulging in thoughts about a plan that may never be realized.

I hated the “Where do you see yourself in five years?” question. My life is not my own. What if I answer the question and then things happen differently? Why verbalize something uncertain? When I tried to picture myself in the future, I could see only a black nothingness. Was I going to die? I couldn’t imagine what career I would have. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Why should I answer if I don’t know? If God has not revealed it to me, why should I make a guess?

I also dislike the wishes that come from other people. “I wish you well.” What does that mean? Am I obligated to say thank you? If they simply desire for me to have a good life, what does that do for me? Is there any action that accompanies the words? “I wish you love, happiness, success.” As if I weren’t already seeking those things for myself. “I wish you a Merry Christmas.” It sounds pretty, but is it effective?

It’s not that I’m superstitious. I don’t think that spoken wishes are in danger of remaining unfulfilled just because they have been publicized. However, timing does have importance.

13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit."
14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are {just} a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
15 Instead, {you ought} to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that."
(Jas.4:13-15)

The word “dream” sometimes has a lofty, ambitious feel to it, but here is the meaning it once had:
From Webster’s dictionary (1913):
“A visionary scheme; a wild conceit; an idle fancy; a vagary; a revery; -- in this sense, applied to an imaginary or anticipated state of happiness; as, a dream of bliss; the dream of his youth.

There sober thought pursued the amusing theme, Till Fancy colored it and formed a dream. -Pope.

It is not them a mere dream, but a very real aim which they propose. -J. C. Shairp.”

Meanwhile, my non-Christian friend was shocked that I didn’t have any “dreams.” I felt a little guilty for sounding negative. After all, I do have hope for the future, and I must tell others about it. God does make promises. Sometimes they aren’t as specific as we’d like, but they are enough to keep us looking towards the future. There are perfectly Biblical “dreams” we can have: dreams that our loved ones will turn to Jesus, dreams for our lives to glorify God, dreams that our children’s lives will glorify God. They are godly goals to strive towards.

I do have dreams. There are a few things that I strongly desire to see come about. I don’t know if the Lord wills it, but I will pray and ask Him about it. And maybe someday I will find the words and tell about it.

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