If you knew you were going to die in 4 years 5 months 3 days and 2 hours and 1 minute, how would you change your life? What would you do differently than you presently do? What if you could see your future 20 years from now – what you would be doing, what you would look like – what would you change in your life now?
I had an epiphany that slowly crept up on me this week. I was unexplicably happy, despite my weight gain. I was dancing a little, smiling and joking. I felt freer and more at peace. I didn’t realize it was because I had given up all hope – on being “thin and pretty”, my previous life goal.
That meant I could enjoy food and not feel like I was ruining my life. It meant I didn’t have to kill myself with anxiety over what size clothes I wear and whether the scale went up or down. I could stop agonizing over what other people may say about me. Why? Because I had given up all hope on achieving my very carnal dream, and it was like setting a prisoner free from a cage.
It’s hard to give up on a dream, although we have all had to do that throughout our lives. Some of our dreams change, some remain the same, but some dreams simply have to be released, especially if they are not healthy for us. If those dreams keep us in anxiety and emotional stress, they are not God’s dream for us. They are our own dream for us, or maybe a family member’s dream for us that we have accepted as our own.
Most of our dreams are attached to needs to be loved, accepted and approved of by others. It is an elusive desire for many of us, since the ones who raised us didn’t receive it from their parents so couldn’t give it to us, and neither could the broken partners we chose for ourselves. But if our dream includes earning others’ love and acceptance by our actions or our appearance, there is a very good chance God will NOT help you achieve that dream. Unhealthy dreams lead us to chase ghosts that don’t exist instead of seeking the Lord.
Furthermore, if these dreams do not make us more like Jesus, but more like the world, we are doing ourselves a disservice. We are setting ourselves up for more disappointment and hurt, because the world will never meet our needs. We will be like dogs chasing our tails.
But when we accept God’s will and God’s plan for us where we are, and even for the future, there is peace and joy unending. God can sovereignly bring us love, joy and peace apart from our dream, so we don’t have to cling to dreams that will never come true. Then, we can cling to him instead.
So what unhealthy dream are you holding on to that is not of God? What desire of your heart makes you chase after the world, the people and the things in it instead of the things of the Lord? Ask God to reveal them to you and ask Him to help you see why it is your dream, and what God wants you to do instead of chasing that dream. He will give you the desires of your heart (love, joy, peace and righteousness) if you will let Him do it His way and not yours.