On the way to the retreat this year, before I even had time to pull my head out of life and get in retreat-mode, the Lord started nudging me. “I’ve noticed you don’t look forward to good things these days.”
“Well…. yeah,” I huffed back, a little taken aback that I hadn’t even made it to the 215 freeway yet and He was already doing work on my heart. “You know. A lot of disappointing things have happened over the past few years. I have learned not to get my hopes up any more.”
But He kept nudging me, “But what if you could dream like you used to – what would you want?” When He has asked me that kind of thing in the past, I usually jumped in gleefully with a list of stuff and adventures and ministries and relationships and everything my heart could possibly desire. This time I shut that conversation right down.
“I don’t want anything. If I don’t want anything, then I can’t be disappointed, and I’ve had too much disappointment to be able to handle any more. So don’t ask me that question. I know better than to hope, or dream. I am just keeping my expectations low and keeping busy enough to not have time to think about it.”
He left me alone then. At least, I thought He did, but of course he wasn’t finished
After the pre-retreat worship and prayer meeting that afternoon, I was chatting with a group of women when one of them asked me to translate a pendant another woman was wearing. It was in Latin and said “Somnium Iterum.”
So I did some thinking and some checking of Google and came to the conclusion that it means “dream again.”
I walked away from that conversation glad that I was able to help, but it took a good 20 steps or so before I went, “OH. It said DREAM AGAIN.”
I know better than to call that kind of stuff a coincidence, but even so I shrugged and said, “Okay, OKAY, Lord. But.. whatever. I have to go check in to my room.”
No, really. “WHATEVER?” Yes, I really did say that to the Almighty. He is exceeding in His patience.
I sat in the service that night mentally prepared and willing to hear from the Lord even while my heart was still shrugging. And then Lisa Whittle, our speaker, mentioned that while we have all had to learn about lowering expectations in life in order to not be disappointed, the one person we can have expectations of is God. In fact, He will deliver even more than we can expect.
I had one of those blinding “duh” moments then. I realized that hope is not actually a bad thing. Hope is not the thing to be avoided in order to shield oneself from disappointment.
The trick is to place that hope in the right Person, not in stuff and adventures and ministries and relationships and everything my heart could possibly desire.
Dreams are dangerous when they are my own vain imaginings, but they are good when they come from Him, and when they are surrendered to Him.
This gave me much to think upon. I still wasn’t ready to dream. Because I’m stubborn like that and, did I mention, I have been really, really disappointed lately. This was a tightrope I wasn’t just going to run across. But I was willing to take a step, and just as He was willing to meet me in my “whatever,” He was willing to meet me in that step…
Come back on Wednesday to hear the rest of Julia’s testimony.