Somewhere along the way I stopped dreaming. Not the kind of dream that happens when you drift off to sleep, but belief in the extraordinary kind. The fountain from which these dreams once flowed effortlessly had dried up. Unfulfilled hopes alongside unmet expectations that were entangled with sacrifices that didn’t pay off had certainly contributed to my newfound impoverished ambition. I can’t quite remember when the drought began, but I could feel something in me changing.
At first, I noticed a pattern of setting fewer goals and giving in to ordinary, everyday life. One New Year’s Eve a few years back a friend asked me what “dreams” I had for the next year”. Like a deer in headlights, I stared at her thinking, “OMG, I have no ‘bleeping’ clue! When was the last time I spoke out loud a dream for my life? I don’t do THAT anymore!”
Once so full of hope, believing ANYTHING was possible, I had now become practical and pragmatic. Rational and rigid. Cut and Dry. Dependable…but not a dreamer. Over time, I settled for the familiarity of the same old-same old. Yet settling had become like snuggling up with a tattered blanket on a cold day expecting its holes and tears to keep me warm.
The Alternative to Growing Old
Some say the death of new dreams is just what happens to all of us as we become adults and live in real life. My soul, however, was screaming out something entirely different. Because I was not made for safe and boring I knew deep down I’d headed off course. God’s love and grace didn’t save me so I’d remain stagnant and apathetic. A purposeful God created me to live a purposeful life.
The Bible tells us that, “Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” Therefore, life with Jesus is expansively more than a one-and-done decision made on the day we surrender to Him. In a life-changing and real relationship with God, renewal is something we can expect to experience.
I’m challenged by the way Jesus messed with people’s old way of living and being. Even more so, I’m challenged by the way He messes with mine. Whether He was offering an alternative to a death sentence for the woman caught in adultery, instructing people to love their enemies, healing on the Sabbath, or honoring a woman’s sacrifice when she anointed Him while scandalously wiping his feet with her tears and hair… Jesus modeled a new way to connect with God and others. It seems like this new way challenged the religiosity through which the leaders of his day filtered everything. The ‘New’ stood right in front of them but they couldn’t embrace it because it would require letting go of what had always been.
Grabbing Hold of What’s New
My husband and I talk about how moving into something new is like a monkey swinging through a jungle of vines. It must surrender its hold of one vine to move forward to the next. If it tries to grab both at the same time, it won’t take long before all momentum is lost. Sadly, its progress comes to a halt. The little monkey ends up stuck, holding two vines at once, but going nowhere.
I believe that scenario is true for us. Deep down we want to experience the wonder of dreaming and grabbing onto something new with God. But we’re resistant to let go of the perceived security of what’s in our current grasp. And scarier yet, what if we fall as we reach out?
The New Year is a time for fresh momentum. It’s a time to clear out the old and make room for the new. It’s an opportunity to hit the reset button in places where we feel stuck. When we renew our decision to reach for more of Jesus, He will be faithful to help us grab hold of what’s next because he is holding onto us. Our every breath is in his grasp. Oh, the confidence this should give us to dream big for our lives and for the lives of others.
As we step into 2017, let’s remember that everything new begins with Jesus. Our ‘Real Focus’ and worship set for this weekend is centered around this scriptural truth. “The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word. The Word was God, in readiness for God from day one. Everything was created through him; nothing—not one thing came into being without him. What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by.” John 1:1-4 MSG
Jesus is the foundation of all creation. This includes us! Therefore, He is the beginning from which all of our aspirations should be built. From day one, let’s be ready for all that He is going to do in and through us this new year. Finally, if, like me, you’ve been holding onto vines of discouragement, disappointment, dying dreams, or anything else to slow your momentum… release it! Instead, let’s believe this new year begins with, and will be sustained by, grabbing hold of the newness Jesus gives as we place our lives securely in Him. I’m excited to dream and make great things happen as we move forward together!
Real Focus Reflection:
As you prepare for new possibilities this year, is there anything old weighing you down that you need to let go of so you can fully grab hold of what’s on the way?
Is there an area of your life that you are desperate for God to come and renew?
Do you have an unfulfilled dream inside of you? If you’re willing, share that with someone who can pray with, and perhaps help you turn, that dream into a reality this year.
Finally, ask God to show you how you can pray for those you serve alongside in our Creative Department. Is there anyone specifically that he may be highlighting for you to pray for and encourage this week?