I recently got to see The Great Showman. I haven’t felt this way about a movie in a long time - undone, touched, inspired and something more; I felt pain. The lead character dreamed words into existence! I remember dreaming like that. But, recently, dream sessions with God ended by staring at a blank, black screen. I’ve realized the amount of work that goes into a single dream. I’ve also seen how easily a bad decision (mine or others) can derail momentum and progress. And, negative experiences can pile on top of this beautiful gift.
Before fear and disappointment introduced themselves to me, unhindered imagining came naturally. My DNA as a daughter of God carries the ability to imagine and create with my Father. Even though it was buried under hard days, disappointment and the fear of failing, again, it was still there. When I saw the possibility of dreaming on the screen, I started to cry as I could feel God throwing aside the clutter, searching for the gift of imagination.
God was knocking on my dreamer to come back out and “play” with Him.
Hope instead of Disappointment
On a walk the next day, I decided to ask God for help to regain my faith-filled imagination. He told me that I needed new hope. Having a mental atmosphere of hope is the perfect birthplace for dreams. Hope comes from renewed promises from God, seeing God’s new ideas for my life and others’.
“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. To give you hope and a future,’” Jer 29:11
I played basketball for three years in high school. I had a tough but loving coach. When we would mess up in a game, we were sometimes “benched.” If we showed the coach that we worked hard during practice, he put us back, but not as a starter. We were in the “B” string. That was my idea of how kingdom repentance and restoration worked. In this faulty mindset, I saw myself repenting, then working hard, and maybe, one day, working myself back into his original plan for my life. But, that’s not what God does. He puts us back into the starting team, and, sometimes, in an even better position than before! After repentance, God’s “next” plan for our life is even better than the one before! We don’t get placed on the “B string” of the kingdom.
If you are like me, you may be thinking, “That’s not fair!” And, you’d be right! It’s not fair. God’s grace doesn’t make any logical sense. I’m someone who really values and adheres to consequences. And, God’s grace and redemption can seem almost a violation of justice. If I messed up on God’s plan for my life, don’t I deserve to be relegated to the “B” plan - a subpar calling with less joy and fulfillment? Not to God.
God’s idea of “perfect justice” is demonstrated in the parable of the Good Father. The dishonoring, scandal-making son journeys home hoping to work for his dad. The son sees this as the best-case scenario. But, he had no clue just how merciful his good father could be! The father hugged him, kissed him and gave him clothes! In one “power encounter,” His dad restored his son’s reputation, authority, position and sense of belonging. He gave him (and thereby re-trusted him with) the very thing that tore him away from his destiny and family —wealth and pleasure (a ring for his finger and a lavish party).
If you have tragedy, missed-moments, and broken dreams, consider yourself valuable to the Lord! He is amazing at restoring to a standard that you could have never imaged. All it takes is simple repentance and the faith to dream with Him again.
Fresh Dreams where We are Empty
When I was growing up, I used to make picture slideshows for myself and my friends. I used the alphabet to put them in chronological order to make it easier to keep them in order before putting them in the slideshow program. If I found a picture that preceded the “A” instead of reassigning all of the letters, I would just put “Aa” on the one that was formerly the lead, and put “A” on the new top picture. That sent it to the top! If I found another one, I would put “Aaa” on the third (which used to be the top), “Aa” on the second, and so on. The Lord’s redemption operates similarly. We have an original vision (“picture”) of what our ultimate best can be. Life happens. Maybe we accomplish all that we see and are wondering what comes next. Maybe we epically fail. Either way, God wants to come back in with a new “A” plan--a plan to precede the former promise. One that will relegate the former plan to a sub-point status.
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen,” Eph 3:20-21
There are many areas of my own life where I accomplished all that was in my heart to do. I got married to the handsomest, smartest, funniest, most spiritual guy I knew. I had a kid with him! I wrote and published a book and hosted a conference (two, actually). I dreamed in areas with God, and worked hard to create with Him. I saw a picture at the top of my list and I am living in it. God has more! He wants to put a new picture at the top of the list. He has a new “A” plan for my family and my life.
My good friend just had a baby recently and said that she almost felt guilty for how much she loved being a mom. It was the most spiritual experience she had ever had, surpassing her salvation and wedding. But, as she processed, she realized that each new spiritual moment grows into the next, and the better. Her relationship with God sanctified her marriage and made it holy and supernatural. The marriage birthed the baby and gifted her her new identity as a mother. The experiences build on one another. Our journey with God should continue to get better and better as we walk with God. A lot of people think that their best moments are behind them, but all the best moments lie ahead, hopefully, progressively increasing until heaven. There won’t be a more spiritual moment in your life than seeing Jesus face to face!
I am praying for myself and for our church family to have a revelation of how unfair and awesome God’s redemption plan is for every one of His kids. He has a plan “Aa” “Aaa” “Aaaa” “Aaaaa” “Aaaaa” waiting for you! You are not outside the realm of His creativity and imagination.