I wouldn’t exactly define myself as dreamer – when I’m awake at least. I do a lot of self-reflecting, and I find it interesting that I dream so much at night (I actually remember a lot of it) but I don’t let myself dream when I am awake. I’ve developed a bad habit of shutting myself down before I even get started being creative about something that I think I may enjoy. This has gotten to the point where when I am asked what I do for a living, what I want to do with my life, or what my hobbies are (I am a stay at home wife with no children), I immediately start feeling guilty for being home while my husband works, even though we believe this is what God specifically told us to do in this season of our lives. I feel guilty because I don’t feel like I accomplish much. I feel like I don’t accomplish much because I don’t set goals. I don’t set goals because I don’t dream. I’ve been asking God about this. “Why am I like this?” and “What can I do about my way of thinking?” seem to be my prayers on repeat. Thankfully, He has been revealing to me things about what my heart and mind condition have been in this area.
I believe that years of feeling like my dreams didn’t matter made me close off that part of me from God, and everyone else. As a child, I had a relative who I was extremely close with. She was like a second mother to me in many ways. This woman loved God with all her heart. She had struggles in her life but she always made time for me. She spoke into my life and showed me about God’s love. She encouraged me to dream for myself, not just rely on the opinions others have about my life to determine my future. Sadly, she couldn’t find freedom from alcoholism. She died when I was in third grade. From that point on, I don’t remember many times when I wasn’t struggling with depression or anxiety in some way (this lasted until I was 22 years old). Not because I was sad that she passed away, but because I no longer had someone speaking into my life like that and encouraging me unconditionally. She may have done things the wrong way for her own life but she was so positive and loving toward me that it gave me hope for my life that I didn’t get anywhere else for years.
I couldn’t bring myself to dream about anything anymore because every time I would get involved in something I loved, I would be criticized by someone, told that it was a waste of time and money, or manipulated into doing something else that I found less enjoyable. I loved drawing, dancing, singing, basketball, math, and writing. I excelled in a few of these, but none would last long because what would start as me being encouraged by those around me would turn into me being expected to do everything right all the time. All of the pressure eventually got to me and by the time I got to high school I stopped entertaining any creative thoughts and expressions. I dropped out of choir. I began struggling in classes I was once great at. I stopped playing basketball because I would have panic attacks so bad that I would get physically ill (feeling like I had to do everything right again). I missed so many school days my junior year of high school because of this that I wouldn’t have been allowed to move on except that I kept my grades up. Even just writing about all of this right now I can remember specific moments from that time like it was yesterday. The feeling of hopelessness is hard to forget.
God brought me through a lot of healing for depression and anxiety, but I only just realized recently that I never really started dreaming again. The Holy Spirit showed me He has been giving me dreams when I sleep for years to revive and awaken the living and breathing dreams that I used to have so I can do something about it when I am awake. He gave me those dreams so something beautiful could be brought to fruition for His glory! When He showed me this, I could feel a spark in my spirit like He was lighting a fire in me. Making this connection is HUGE for me. Years of suppressed dreams for my life are beginning to bubble up into something new. This is such a new revelation for me that I am even gaining more understanding of it as I type this.
The more I become aware of this, the more I am able to see it in others as well. So many Christians have lost hope and refuse to dream anymore because they feel like they have been disappointed too many times. Some feel like the expectations people put on them are so high that they can never reach the bar. It is so hard for people to talk about once it gets to that point because they don’t want people to know that they have given up. I feel like God has revealed this to me about myself so that I can dream again, but also for me to gain more compassion for those who are still deep in the fight.
I pray for those who may be reading this who, for whatever reason, have given up on dreaming for their life. I ask that God will come into the room with you right now and overwhelm you with His love… that His presence will show you of the dreams He has for you, to bring Him glory and to bring you joy. I pray that God will show you which dreams are of Him and which are counterfeit, that all fear of failure will be crushed under your feet, and that you will find hope and peace in the fact that God is good and doesn’t give us dreams just to take them away. Thank you Lord that You want to walk out those dreams with us!
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