Monday, October 20, 2008

Letting Go of Dreams, Holding onto Ideals

In the last month or so, I have been developing the thought that to let go of dreams is actually a good thing. To dream--while exciting--is also restrictive and possibly altogether preventative or counterproductive of whatever God wills for your life.

To dream is to project your own desires upon your life. And while desires can be good things, they can also be things which set us up for disappointment, especially if God has other plans for our lives.

We should always trust that God has our best interests in mind and will systematically reveal that to us if we seek Him first. So--in effect--to let go of one's dreams is to surrender oneself completely to the will of God. Ah, the relief of total abandonment!

But do not think I am advocating passivity, dear reader. To let go of dreams and surrender to God's will may very well mean the taking-up of one's cross or the decisive action of doing something you should have done long ago.

I believe that a spiritually mature person should view her life not as something to be owned by oneself for one's own pleasure, but instead is a fragile gift to be treasured and guarded while it is in the custody of our free will.

But dreams are not altogether bad. In fact, they serve a very good purpose, and we need them (at least initially). From dreams we can gain inspirations, and these inspirations can (and should) solidify themselves into ideals. These ideals are the jewels which we are to carry close to our hearts throughout our lives. No matter what life gives us, if we do not compromise our ideals, then we have not compromised our identities which were first formed by the dreams which we had.

I am an idealistic person, and I know I'm still dreaming. I want to dream and dream and dream, not because I want to dictate the course of this life God has given me, but because I want to solidify as many ideals as I possibly can while I still can.

But lately, I have become disenchanted with how people so easily let go of their dreams AND their ideals. It saddens me greatly. It's like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I wish I could scream out to them that the two are separate! Unrealized dreams, while initially disappointing, are not a summation of one's entire life; in fact, they can be viewed as road markers for the progression of one's walk with the Lord. The shedding of desires and dreams, however, must be done with two very important things in mind:

1. God may very well restore those unrealized dreams to you as a reality in the future,
2. The ideals gained from the dreaming experience should not be discarded when the dream itself has been set free.

I pray that all of us dream for the pursuit of ideals, and--when we have reached the place in our lives where we shed personal dreams in exchange for submission to God--I pray that the ideals we gathered are kept in our breast pockets, forever close to our hearts.