Sometimes we are surprised when things don't look like we thought they would. Has that ever happened to you?
When it comes to walking with Jesus, we will learn He is far more interested in who we become than on us ending up with a pre-planned, preconceived idea of how we thought things would turn out.
For example, as I ventured towards a career in the film industry in my late twenties, which I totally believed God was calling me to, I discovered many years later He wasn't calling me into the film industry at all. He was simply using that vehicle as my "school bus" to take me where I'd learn how to be a better person. That path introduced me to people who would completely change who I was ... for the better.
There have been many times God called me to do something and I misunderstood the purpose of why He had me there.
When I was 22 He told me to go to Bible college. I thought I was going to be a pastor's wife. That didn't happen. But, obviously, He wanted to teach me the basics of biblical truth so I could walk out a healthy life.
When I was 25 He called me to return to college and study screenplay writing for film. I thought I was there to become a screenplay writer. However, He using my two years there to teach me I was capable of doing anything through Christ who showed up everyday as my strength and provider. I had been dyslexic and struggled with reading comprehension prior to this. I was amazed at what my brain was able to do when I stepped into obedience to go to college as God had asked me to. I thought I was going to make films. He just wanted me to break out of my comfort zone.
When I was 27 I was depressed and thought my life was over. However, He taught me how to love the wounded when they are lashing out in anger at us. I entered that season thinking I was simply there to be a mama and wife and die. That season helped me understand, on a very deep level, the plight of foster care parents and parents who feel unequipped to handle the needs of a certain child.
When I was 28 I thought I was getting ready to simply bring a new baby girl into the world, yet God taught me how to pray, I mean really pray. I learned in that season how to pray for the sick and actually see healings manifested for physical illness, mental illness, and even PTSD. So cool! Prior to that I had seen God answer prayers other people prayed, but in that season I learned He would show up and answer my prayers as I learned how to pray in accordance to His will.
When I was 29 I thought I was about to make a movie I had written. Little did I know that journey wasn't about getting to Hollywood. It was about teaching me how to care for widows and orphans. I knew how to have compassion on those who had been divorced because I had been divorced, However, I had no idea how to have compassion on widows or children. I'd never naturally empathised with either of them in my life experience. He began teaching me how to identify with and have empathy for widows, orphans and single parents who were carrying far too much weight on their own. Jesus' heart really is for us to be His hands and feet of provision and friendship towards these people groups. No matter what our social standing, we are SO VERY VALUABLE as individuals to Jesus Christ.
When I was 31 I thought God was opening up doors in the entertainment industry for me, little did I know He was just, once again, trying to teach me something. He taught me His heart towards homosexuals and the gender-confused. How to love them, pray for them, suffer long with them until His truth illuminated their confusion with clarity and peace.
At 32 He began teaching me how to love and help those with PTSD and understand those who are bent towards self-destruction and addiction.
When I was 34 He taught me how to love people who had absolutely no ability or desire to love me in return.
When I was 36 He began teaching me how to overcome grief, and He let me go to some very dark places to broaden my understanding of how grief works and how to help others walk out of it in a healthy way.
When I was 37, while learning how to die to selfish ambitions and experiencing great sorry and grief, He taught me how to love and serve the poor and understand, on a deep level, the struggles they face and what it takes to get them, and their communities, to a healthy place.
If my young daydreams had worked out like I thought they would, I would have a small home in Malibu right now, an apartment in NYC, and be working in the entertainment industry. Or maybe I'd be a Theologian married to a missionary serving in Syria. Or be a world travelling novelist on her way towards a Pulitzer Prize. I don't know.
I know I NEVER saw myself ending up in Middle Georgia with a 9-5 job. Never once. Yet, God uses this place and the people here to make me better.
My dreams may have been far fetched at the time, but they were the vehicle God used to teach me how to be more like Him.
Be careful not to squash other's dreams, no matter how outrageous they may seem. Whether they fulfill them or not, those dreams may be given to that person by the Lord and used as the very pathway to mold them into the image of Jesus Christ.
It's not about where we end up or how successful we are. It's not about our every dream coming true. It's about enjoying the journey with ourselves and those in our lives as we learn how to grow from glory to glory, walking out our salvation and personal development.
In this place of embracing the process of growth, we give ourselves and the people around us room to make mistakes. And we give ourselves and others permission to change the course direction as needed.
Yesterday's dreams brought us to here. The death of a dream might take us somewhere new. And the new dream that comes forth will teach us something we haven't even thought of yet.
Don't be afraid to dream. Don't be afraid to champion the dreams of others. The journey is supposed to be exciting and fun. Christ longs to reveal new things to us each day if we'll posture ourselves to learn in each season.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."
2 Cor. 5:17
"Behold, He is making all things NEW..."
If things haven't worked out in your life like you thought they would, know God desires to breathe newness into every area of your life ... physically, spiritually, emotionally, and even financially!
Let go of the old. Ask God, "What dream do You want me to chase today?" Posturing yourself to dream with God this way will put you on the bus towards becoming more like Him.
Don't be afraid to dream again <3