I dream just about every night. Some dreams are wild, crazy, unrealistic figments of my very active imagination that have me flying through outer space with sparkly wings eating a piece of banana cheesecake and squeezing my little son's cheeks with glee.
What? I know. I said "crazy . . . and active imagination."
But then there are other dreams that wake me up in a cold sweat, heart pounding, and I know . . . I've been in touch with destiny. Purpose has been born, and even if I don't always know the exact meaning of the dream, I know I'd better "wake up," be alert and pay attention . . . something's coming.
One of my favorite authors and speakers, Lisa Bevere, says, "God gives us visions (or dreams) to enlarge us." No one gets anything big by dreaming small!
Think back to when you were a child. What did you want to be? Do? Go? More importantly, WHO did you want to be? I'm not talking about singing to Mariah Carey in the mirror and wanting to be her. I'm asking you to close your eyes and think back to what type of person you wanted to be. Were you strong, courageous, funny, loving, nurturing? Did you have a small army of children nestled at your feet while you read them goodnight stories or were you taking the corporate world by storm? What did your husband look like? Act like? How did your wife treat you? One thing I'll bet---you were happy, weren't you?
So what has happened to us? When did we stop dreaming? Why did we allow the naysayers and the "Debbie Downers" (think SNL) to tell us who we would be or what we would become? When did we believe the nonsense ourselves?
Today, I am asking God to reawaken the dreams in me. I believe He put them for a reason. And if I could look you in the eyes, I'd say the same to you, "Keep Dreamin.'" Because sometimes, dreams really do come true.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Fast forward several years, and now I'm in my mid-20's. Whitney's life is spinning out of control as most media outlets report scenes of wild parties and heavy drug use. I can't believe it! What happened to the classy, elegant Whitney I had grown up listening to? Her infamous Diane Sawyer interview airs and I watch her declare, "Crack is whack!" proving media reports to be true. How could this be? I wondered. Why would a woman who has so much give it all up for . . . drugs?
I, thankfully, have never experienced the horrors of battling drug addiction, so I cannot speak from experience. However, I have faced enormous emotional pain, so thick I thought it would swallow me whole. I do know what it's like to feel like your life is totally out of control, and no matter what you do, you'll never win. I know what it's like to cry so hard there are no tears left. I think I can relate to the pain Whitney must have felt in her short life.
Which brings me to the point: Where do you turn when you have nothing left? When your heart is shattered and your life destroyed, when those you thought you could turn to turn out to betray you, when your hopes and dreams come crashing down, who can you go to? The difference between "Christians" and "those who know their God" (Daniel 11:32) is as different as Mother Teresa and Chelsea Handler. Many claim to be "Christians," but not many can truly say they KNOW God. I have learned in my own emotional struggles that God is so much more than just a religious figurehead or distant unknown. He is such a friend! I have learned to truly "cast all my cares on Him" and allowed Him to sustain me (Psalm 55:22).
Drugs, sex, money, power---none of it truly satisfies or brings the healing our hearts so desperately seek after. My prayer is that Whitney's life will serve to be a "life lesson" for those who struggle. There is a God who is waiting on you to cast your cares on Him and trust Him as he exchanges your pain for His peace, your shame for his grace, your life for his purpose. So, next time you need a "fix," will you try Him? I guarantee, you will not be disappointed.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
What about you? Are you like my friend, feeling all alone this holiday season? If so, take comfort in knowing that Jesus can relate! I say, if you are feeling alone, look up and look out. Look up to Christ, and tell him what you're feeling. Don't worry, you're not complaining: you're just being honest with a God who loves you. How about playing some soft worship music to set the atmosphere of your home? Pandora has a huge selection.
Next, look out. Who can you bless this holiday season? Remember, not all blessings involve money. Who do you know that is alone? What about someone in a nursing home? We know they are often rejected and left alone day after day. How about that neighbor you barely know? I've learned that in order to get what you want, you've got to give what you've got. If you need love, give some. If you need friendship, be a friend. If you need peace, make some. As you begin to "look out," watch your own feelings of loneliness evaporate.
As we begin to take the focus off of our own need, and look after the needs of others, God is able to do his "magic" and fill our lives and hearts with love, peace and joy.
Merry Christmas to all of you, and especially those who feel rejected and alone!
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
As I continue to reflect on the events of today, I realize that it is not in the lofty words we speak, the new ventures that come our way or even the pursuit of our own happiness that makes living life worthwhile. It's in the simple hug of a loved one we haven't seen in years, the easy banter between childhood friends reminiscing over memories of long ago and the simplistic knowing that we are right on target in where we should be in our lives.
Someone once said that "happiness is the highest human emotion." I'd like to offer another take. I say, "Living life fulfilled (whole and complete with a sense of joy and purpose--my definition) surpasses any human emotion! For happiness is a temporary fix induced by chance. Fulfillment is on a whole other level. It is a sense of wholeness in which happiness cannot compare
I suppose that's the beauty in the death of a believer. There is true fulfillment knowing you have touched the lives of others in a deep, profound way that will far outlive you.
So it's now up to you. What are you grappling after? pining over? regretting? Let today be a new day full of new dreams . . . not dreams of materialistic possessions or notoriety, but in finding your "sweet spot"--the place where you become fulfilled.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Something we rarely even think about
It's something we barely even notice
Until we have to go without
Without it, your food will spoil
Your normal tasks become a toil
In darkness you grasp at things
You're hopeless without it's means
I could go on and on, but this is just a little "freestyle" intro to the surprise that awaited me when my family and I returned from my daughter's softball game this evening. Our house was nearly dark; all the lights were out. "What happened?" I exclaimed. "I know I paid that bill!" I called my neighbor who lives a few doors down, and interestingly, she still had power. I peered out of my window and noticed the street lights were still on, and the neighborhood pretty much looked undisturbed. WITW? Am I the only one who was affected by this sudden outage? I wondered.
After an immediate call to the power company, I settled in the family room with my children and some scented, lit candles, a flashlight and said a prayer. Geesh, Lord, really? I have an assignment that is due tonight, and I really need my computer. Tonight of all nights, why did the power have to go out? I thought to myself.
Not long after, the power company pulled onto my street with two oversized trucks and several workers. "They're here, they're here!" my four-year old cheered. He doesn't know much about lights and electricity or their functions, but he knew these guys looked like they could fix our problem. This got me to thinking about how many things we take for granted. I mean, who really appreciates having electricity until you don't have it? You go into the bedroom, flip the light on, never thinking to yourself, "What if this light doesn't come on." We need electricity. I mean, really, really need it. Thank God for the utility workers!
This brings me to my final thought (sorry, nothing profound this time!). How often do we take the time to appreciate the men and women who work tirelessly (in the middle of the night even) to ensure our comforts? As we watched out of a bedroom window the men working quickly and carefully, I thought of how they risk their lives every day so we can have light. My heart was tenderized to their sacrifice. So after they finished working (hey, I needed to make sure they did the job right!), I ran outside and yelled, "Thank you, thank you!" over the loud humdrum of their trucks.
A simple "You're welcome" was all they said. But I knew in my heart, they walked a little taller tonight knowing they had restored light to a family in need. So the next time you flip a switch, open a nice cold can of soda or take a hot shower, how about saying a little prayer of thanks for all the little things we take for granted. Let there be light! And there was light.