You know those times, I’m sure of it.
Those times when a friend shares a success of hers and you suddenly are consumed with the desire to have the same success — even if you never even once thought about it before.
Or those times when a friend experiences a huge milestone in her life and you instantly compare where you are in your journey with where she is and are overcome with dissatisfaction — even if moments before your heart was so full it could burst.
Those times. You know them, right? I can’t be the only one.
I like to call those the Chasing Dreams I Never Had moments.
I never dreamed of being a vice president of an advertising agency — in fact, I quit my career long ago because it never was a dream. Yet as soon as a friend receives that promotion, I’m transported back to that world and dollar signs flash before my eyes and I am beating my chest with thoughts of “I could do that. Should I do that?”
I love my part-time work that allows me room for writing — but when I hear about her successful business and high-end clients and travel around the world, I feel like my work is child’s play.
But I don’t want my husband to work in a corporate job. I don’t want to own a graphics design business. I don’t want another degree. I don’t want to be an amazing cook. I don’t want to run a women’s ministry. There are a million dreams that never crossed my mind that the devil would love for me to chase that just aren’t mine.
And when I chase dreams that aren’t mine I not only lose time, I lose a little bit of myself and who I’m created to be. Each and every time.
Just this morning, I re-read something I wrote over six years ago in a journal,
If it weren’t for the sobering thought patterns of Christ, my head would be off in la-la land chasing dreams I never had.
Reading this six years later has brought two truths to my mind:
1) This is still true today — I’m tempted with the same desires every time someone else follows their dream, wondering if I should be chasing that one too.
2) But it’s less true today than it was that day when I wrote it. Because in the six years since that cold fall morning, God has made it much clearer which dreams are mine to chase, which aren’t, and the confidence in being at peace with them both.
A friend and I talked last night about how hard it is to accept when God starts making your dreams a reality, because of the bizarre belief that we should always be unhappy and suffering in our work for the Lord. Yet scripture tells us over and over
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. (Romans 12:11)
How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you. (Psalm 31:19)
Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. (Joel 2:23)
I came to give life with joy and abundance. (John 10:10)
and that I will gain a supernatural strength and not get weary and not faint when I wait on Him to bring fulfillment of the dreams He has for me. And our zeal and fervor and abundance and gladness comes from living a life serving the Lord with the gifts and talents and abilities He has given us.
So as I sit here this morning, on the cusp of a small possibility of a dream turning into reality, I praise the Lord for reminding me that I was right to ignore chasing dreams I never had. That I was listening correctly when He told me to walk away from dreams that were never mine to dream. That by waiting on Him, I will soar like an eagle, never running out of fresh strength.
What dreams do you need to stop chasing that were never yours to dream?