Again and Again
As we go through seasons of death and rebirth where our hearts and minds are reborn, our hopes and dreams will have to keep up.
An early dream of mine was that God would heal me of my stutter. I hoped that if I stepped out in faith to answer his call into public ministry he would take my speech impediment away. But as my understanding of what God was going to do in my life matured—usually through the disorder of disappointment and failure—my hope had to take a new shape and allow for the stutter I once thought was a wound God would heal to become a powerful tool he would use to bring healing to others.
It’s worth noting, though, that it was that first draft version of the dream that got me out the door and onto the stage in the first place--even if it was incomplete. Of course, I couldn’t have seen where things were headed when I started out, so hoping and dreaming requires starting the journey with a willingness to improvise along the way and an openness to the fact that what might seem like a detour in the moment may actually be the main road to get me where I'm supposed to be.
As we move, step by step, it’s good to remember that our first draft hopes and dreams rose up from who we were at the time we hoped and dreamed them. But as we grow, new dreams can be unlocked. If we cling too tightly to an older vision for our life, we may miss a powerful new vision that who we are today could dream up.
It’s tricky, though, since anyone who has chased a dream knows that it takes an almost fanatical resolve to keep after it! Our dreams give us a target for aiming our life, and that's what's needed to pull us forward and raise us up from where we are now. We have to throw our whole life at it with everything we have in us if we hope to hit it!
So how do we do both at once? Tenaciously pursuing the desire of our heart while also allowing it to get away from us if that’s what’s best?
I keep returning to the image of holding everything with an open hand. I’m still holding my dreams, but not clinging to them--ready to let them go at any moment.
It’s something like that old cliché: “If you love something set it free. If it comes back it’s yours. If not, it was never meant to be.” Or maybe better yet, it can become a stepping stone that leads you to the thing that was meant to be yours all along.
Letting go of something can be painful and scary. In another song of mine, “Not Right Now,” I wrote, “some day we’ll talk about the dreams that had to die for the new ones to come alive…”
Sometimes what’s needed is to let old things die. But we can do this with great anticipation. Christian hope teaches us that resurrection follows death and new life is always rising from the ashes of the old life that was burned up in the refining fire of God’s lovingkindness.
“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”