By Sheila Jacobs
Publishers note: Sheila often guest writes and we’d love to share her recent article ‘Dreaming’ as it’s too good not to share!
Did you ever have ‘heroes’ when you were growing up? You know: ‘I’d really like to be like her/him/them when I’m older!’ Perhaps you admired a look, or an ability. Or perhaps it was more than that – you wanted the lifestyle, the opportunities, the material ‘stuff’, the relationship…
When I was a kid, I loved horses. I once ‘lived the dream’ and took care of a pony for two weeks, but in reality, my childhood horsey encounters were generally only found in books and during pony treks on family holidays. My ambition, though, was to live in a cottage (or a caravan) in the middle of a field, with dogs and horses, and write books.
When I was older, I fell in love with Laura Ashley style. I wanted to look good in long floaty skirts and bake brilliant cakes to sell on summer stalls in the park. Sadly, my attempt at this ended badly when I made some chocolate truffles which quickly melted in the hot sun and I ‘had’ to eat most of them.
Outside the wall
I was reminded of some of my young ambitions recently when I went out for lunch with a friend to a lovely village. We sat on bench by a stone wall which surrounded the sort of house I could only dream about living in.
The fact is, we all have dreams. But sometimes our dreams take over. We want to ‘live the dream’ and we get frustrated that we just can’t make it happen. You may have the kind of imagination that means you could almost ‘see’ yourself living the life you want, but however much you envisage it, real life just doesn’t measure up. At times, we need to sit back and reflect: who am I, really? What do I want? Is it achievable? What can I do about that? What’s just fantasy?
Reality is better
None of us are perfect. Any potential partner we are hoping to meet won’t be perfect either. They’ll make mistakes. They may not be the right height/weight or have the hair colour we’ve been dreaming about. Their job might not be the one we wished they had. Guess what? We may not measure up to their dream either – and that’s alright.
Of course, it’s nice to dream about what may be – and perhaps it will even happen (after all, I did write books, learned to ride properly – eventually – and some might say my garden is so much like an unkempt field that that bit happened as well). But reality can be so much better than dreaming. We can’t live on trifle – it’s the sensible main course that truly sustains us.
If we know Jesus, we are an adopted son or daughter of the living God (Romans 8:15). That’s our identity. We are family. We belong. We aren’t sitting outside the garden wall, we are invited inside, to live day by day with our heavenly Father in his ‘house’ – his presence. If we know him, we are accepted. If we are content in that, we don’t have to be ‘like’ anyone else or want what others may have.
As we live with him, we may begin to change – our views, our ideas, our expectations – as they come into line with his own plans for our life. God just wants relationship with us. It’s not about making his will bend to ours, or telling him our plans and hoping he will rubber-stamp them. You’re an original! And there’s a special plan for you.
If we believe we are unique, and special, we know we don’t have to ‘measure up’. We can be secure in our identity in Christ, who died and rose so that we may live in relationship with God – that’s grace: his unmerited favour.
Perhaps it’s time to lay our own dreams down and ask God what his dream is for us!
All scriptures NIV 2011 (UK)
Sheila Jacobs is a writer, editor, and an award-winning author of 19 books to date. Her new title is A Little Book of Rest: Walking Out of Anxiety and Fear (Malcolm Down).