Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year the dreams surface to only get buried deep inside. Sometimes the dreams resurface and sparks begin to flutter in the darkness but the fire never seems to light. Other times the dreams get buried so deep that they never again see the light of day. Why is it so? What keeps the fire from lighting so that you can live out your dreams? What does it take to resurrect dreams?
I’m tired of dreaming the same dream over and over and never seeing the fire light. Are you tired of never seeing the fire light? Are you like me and longing for this year to be different? I want the fire to light and burn brightly. I want to live out the dreams that have resurfaced year after year. I want to see what kind of influence the fire will have on my life. How will its light and heat influence the world around me? Where will it take me? I’m dreaming big this year and believing that the sparks I see inside will light a fire that will never burn out.
For the last few years I’ve had a theme word. Two years ago the word “enough” created a greater understanding in my heart and life about the truth that there will always be enough money, food, time, etc. But more importantly I ended 2013 with a deep peace believing that Jesus is enough. Last year the word “maturity” led me down paths that were difficult; paths I never wanted included in my life’s story. But looking back I see my roots of faith, hope and trust all grew stronger. Can you guess this year’s word, “dream”. This past August we moved into a new apartment and feeling the need for a fresh new look I found myself at Hobby Lobby. On several occasions I came home with shopping bags filled with dream items. While unpacking I discovered that my new journal, which is a part of a journal series I bought three years ago, has dare to dream written on the cover. It occurred to me that 2015 is my year to dream as I found myself sitting at home with my dare to dream journal on the table, the new “Dream Big” picture hanging in the kitchen, the “Do What You Love” sign at the front door entrance and the “Let Your Dreams Take You Places” canvas waiting to be placed on my desk at work. But the biggest confirmation came at a time when I needed hope more than ever. Joe and I stood up front at the church receiving hugs from our friends and family who had come to celebrate Zoe’s life. Keileen, one of the girls in our youth group came up and gave me a great big hug. She then reached for her wrist, took off a bracelet and began putting it on my wrist. I stood speechless and then with a big smile I excitedly proclaimed, God is real. Ok I might have jumped up and down and let out a little shriek. Yes the bracelet said DREAM. Keileen bought the bracelet three years ago during a Kohls shopping trip we took together. On a day when my dream of being a mom to my little Zoe was coming to a close God showed up and reminded me that 2015 is my year to dream big.
We’ve all experienced frequency illusion. You learn or notice something and then you start seeing it everywhere. With dream already on my mind it showed up early one morning as I read the book of Nehemiah. “I was at the fortress of Susa. Hanani, one of my brothers, came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had survived the captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem. They said to me, “The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire.” When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of Heaven.” Nehemiah 1-1-4 Later Nehemiah goes on to pray and asks God to allow him favor with the king so he can return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city walls. Nehemiah had passion. Nehemiah had a dream that he would one day see the walls of Jerusalem rebuilt. Reading this part of Nehemiah got me thinking about passion. When was the last time I was so passionate about something that I sat down and wept, mourned and fasted? Am I passionate about anything? I couldn’t stop thinking about Nehemiah’s response to hearing about Jerusalem. A deep longing in my heart surfaced, I wanted to be passionate. I wanted to know that I had a passion so great that I would mourn, fast and pray about it. Dreams that have surfaced year after year, dreams that are buried and new dreams began sparking within.
How could this year be different? How could I keep my dreams from getting buried? What would it take for the sparks to catch fire so my dreams could burn bright?
I spent a few more days thinking about passion. I tried to pinpoint what I’m really passionate about. Passion is defined as a strong feeling of enthusiasm/excitement for something or about doing something. It hit me that dreams really are the same as passion. Dreams are often things we are excited about doing. They are things we want to see happen. I do have passion. There are quite a few things that I get excited about. There are things that energize me just thinking about doing them. But why do I struggle to do them? Why does it sometimes feel impossible to do the things that energize and excite me?
So I began to ponder another question. Why do we do the things we do?
1st step to resurrecting your dreams- Take time to think about why you do the things you do!
Have you ever stopped and thought about why you do what you do each day? What if the simple act of thinking about why you do what you do could change your future? What if knowing why you do things could be a part of seeing your dreams stay alive and burn bright? I recently realized that taking time to discover the why behind what I do creates more time and energy to invest in my dreams. Like me you might find that some of the things you do each day are habits that suck precious time from your day. Reclaiming even twenty or thirty minutes a day could propel you closer to your dreams fulfillment. Letting go of things that are done out of fear might open space in your day for doing things fueled by love and passion.
2nd step to resurrecting your dreams- Make a list of the things you don’t do!
In her book, Bittersweet, Shauna Niequist talks about the importance of creating a list of things you don’t do. Why do you need a list of things you don’t do? Because you only have so much time and energy in your day and each thing you do impacts your present and future. Deciding what you can stop doing each day will increase your ability to start doing the things you dream about. I’m in the process of creating this list. I’m writing down the things I do because I feel I should do them even though I don’t enjoy them and truly I’m not that gifted with them. I’m looking forward to seeing how having this list of things I don’t do will help me move closer to where I want to be at the end of 2015.
3rd step to resurrecting your dreams- Make a list of the things you love!
Sharing a few hours over lunch with one of the sweetest teenage girls I know. Snuggling up on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea. Running. Dreaming about the future with my husband. Talking with a co-worker about the day my baby girl was born. A salad with crisp romaine lettuce, chunks of avocado, feta cheese, craisins, breaded chicken bites tossed in homemade poppy seed dressing. Playing board games with my parents. Writing this blog entry. Just a few of the things I loved this week.
One more list to make. Listing out the things you love to do will help you shape your dreams. The dreams easiest to achieve will be the dreams fueled by love. Without knowing it we make dreams that really aren’t our dreams at all. They are other people’s dreams that we think we should fulfill. Or they are dreams we want to fulfill because we believe others will think favorably about us upon there fulfillment. But what if love is fueling your dreams? Love creates passion like Nehemiah had for seeing the walls of Jerusalem to be rebuilt. Love creates a passion so deep that you are willing to fast and pray to see your dreams catch fire and stay lit. Creating a list of the things you love just might resurrect that dream that has been buried deep inside.
It’s not too late to make 2015 a year where dreams come true. Carving out thirty to sixty minutes this week to make a few lists might just change the world. You will never know the influence your dream can have until you live it out.
In my next post, Decaffeinated Dreams, I plan to share a few more tips that are helping my dreams catch fire. I’d love for you to join me in this journey. Let’s dream big together and let our dreams take us places!