I have a hard time seeing God as good. Specifically, as a good Father.
I mean, I see him as a good father in the sense that a father feeds his children spinach, because it’s good for them.... but for the longest time, I wasn’t able to comprehend that he’s ALSO the kind of father who takes his kids out for ice cream. Just to make them smile.
I heard the phrase, “God wants to make you holy, not happy” quite a lot as a teenager, and it’s a good sentiment— God’s not Santa Claus, and following Him doesn’t guarantee a life free from pain or suffering... quite the opposite— BUT I think, somewhere along the line, I took it too far the other way.
I took that phrase and took it to mean: “God is good, and His plans are good, but only good in the sense that they’ll make you look more like Him. They won’t line up with your desires for your life... but He knows best. He basically exists to make you miserable, in order to make you holier.”
Honestly, that’s a pretty screwed up view of God.
So, for the longest time, I didn’t allow myself to dream about my life. Why would I allow myself to dream, if God’s plans were never going to line up with mine?
I viewed the future with so much apprehension: How many things was God going to force me to do? How many dreams was He going to say “no” to? Who was He going to force me to marry? What job was He going to force me to do?
Much easier to just never dream, and then I’d never have to worry about having those dreams crushed.
Oddly enough, that’s actually a horrible way to live.
For the past few years (and especially since I’ve been here in Tijuana), God’s been revealing that He actually really cares about my dreams. And He gets really really excited about the things I’m excited about. He’s excited about my future. And He wants me to get excited about it to.
He wants me to view it with less fear and dread, and more with the anticipation of a little child on Christmas morning.
As I spent time with Jesus by the shore of the sea the other week, I felt like He whispered to me, “Let's dream together.”
So, we did. Nothing fancy, but we started making a list together. A list of things I would love to do with my life: different ways I could serve God with it. They're just baby steps, but He's slowly teaching me how to dream again. And He's teaching me how to dream with Him.
I’m dreaming with open hands, not clenching tightly to my dreams, but holding them openly. Surrendering them up to God. Asking Him to have His way with them.
While I spent time with God the other day, I asked Him, “God, how do you see me?”
His response? “You're a dreamer.”
I actually had to take a step back and ask, “Hang on, that can't really be from You, can it? That's not who I am.”
Ever since I was young, I’d gotten into the habit of labeling myself a “realist...” but I think a more accurate term would be “embittered cynic.” I kind of assumed that I was the kind of person who didn’t dream: that being cynical and realistic was just part of who I was.
But it's not. I’m a dreamer. Deep down, I think I always have been.
It just took God to remind me of that.
And you know what? Ever since I've been here, ever since I started allowing myself to dream with God... the dreams have just kept coming! I don't even know where they're all coming from, but it's like the floodgates have opened up!
I never thought I would be able to return to that childlike state of wonder I once had: that child that dreamt about slaying dragons and saving the world.
Here’s to the God who never ceases to surprise me.