Learning To Dream Again

I've been talking to a lot of people lately who have shared their struggles over the past couple of years to dream and plan for the future when everything around them is so very uncertain. 

When all you seem to be doing is reacting to the crises around you, it's hard to figure out where you're headed, or even if you want to go there.  

I know what that's like because I've had that very same struggle---many of us have, in fact.  And when you lose your ability to dream, things fall apart quickly if you're not careful.  

For those of us who do our best to stumble after Jesus, some of the things that fall apart tend to be directly connected to our thoughts on faith and life, and God.  When you lose your ability to dream, it can feel like God is a thousand miles away.  

There was this line in a song by Donovan Wood that I wrote down over a year ago, and it's haunted me ever since.  

I  am trying to remember where I  gave up… 

The singer is reflecting back on his life and relationships and realizes that somewhere along the way he stopped dreaming and hoping and silently acquiesced to the despair that accompanies such a surrender. 

It happened so gradually, the singer seems to be saying, that he can't even remember the moment it happened.   

Maybe you have felt that way, too.  I want you to know that you are not alone in this, but I also want you to know something very important---so important, in fact, that you need to pay close attention to what I'm about to say. 

It might feel as though God has left you to twist in the wind of all of the uncertainty you might be facing.  It might feel that God has checked out, too.  You might even be carrying around the guilt that somehow you did something to warrant God's absence in your life. 

All of that is malarky.  It's "stinkin' thinkin'," to coin a phrase.  God has not left you.  God never will leave you.  

Just because you think you've lost your ability to dream and to hope doesn't mean that God's dreams for you aren't still alive and well somewhere in your chest, aching to burst out and transform everything.  

Fr. Richard Rohr once wrote: 
I  have never been separate from God, nor can I  be, except in my mind. 

When you feel as though you have lost your dreams and hope, and that God is far away, it's all too easy to begin to blame yourself, or at the very least to feel guilty and shamed that you caused it somehow. 

I remember being taught when I was a kid that if you were a sinner, a doubter, or a "lukewarm" Christian that the Spirit of God would be removed from your life.  

I took the bad theology that idea was grounded in and carried it even further.  I imagined God as far away, detached, and seemingly unable to act until I repented and gave my assent. 

But God is never far from us.  In fact, I believe that when we struggle and despair, God is even closer and more present.  

All we need to do to experience God's presence is to surrender our own outcomes, trust that God's purposes for us are not meant for our harm---they are meant to fill us with peace and hope.  

God has our best interests, our welfare, and our future firmly in God's loving hand.  Know this and be at peace.  Know this, and be filled with joy.  Know this and learn to dream again.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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