Big Dreams. Big is relative, but we all dream. Many of those dreams may be seeded in reality or at least in the realms of human possibility … but we all have aspirations blended with a dose of whimsy.
I’m a dreamer. I keep mental lists of dream vacations; top 20 places to visit before I’m 50; family activities; career goals, mission activities, etc. Sadly, many of the dreams and wishes I’ve claimed as my own, really aren’t mine at all. I named those dreams … talked about them excitedly, and placed each one on an invisible line of dots connecting to my future. I lived like those dreams were mine, but they belonged to the girl I wanted to be, or at least the girl I thought I should become.
Somewhere along the timeline of my life – and I cannot pinpoint the exact day it happened or why it happened – I deemed myself undesirable. I knew that God loved me and that Jesus died for me, but never grasped the entire beauty that resides in that truth. Instead, I viewed myself as someone that God had to love … and someone whom most humans would never want to get close enough to know, let alone love. And with that warped world view, I began my quest to be wanted. I began changing everything about myself … starting with my dreams.
Since I thought myself drossy, many of my interests became guilty by association. It is not uncommon for teenage girls to want to look and act like everyone else, so at first, my confused sense of self identity was normal for someone of my age. Yet, my desire to be anyone but me grew and aged with my body and morphed into perfectionism. Knowing that no one was perfect, but thinking that everyone else was superior to me, I began to take parts of others to create the “perfect me.”
My friend Casandra is a champion cleaner. Her base boards shine and counter tops glisten. Even the doorknobs on her closet doors sparkle. I added this trait to my repertoire, along with my friend Melinda’s impeccable sense of style, and my friend Molly’s up-beat demeanor and zeal for multitasking. I could list at least twenty-five friends and acquaintances from whom I’ve stolen parts of their identity and weaved them into my own.
And I didn’t stop at personality traits. I added their dreams and goals to my lists as well. In fact, the sheer notion of me making a dream list to begin with was something my friend Doreen did. When she mentioned her desire to Jet Ski through the Everglades before moving from Florida, I added that to my new list. Why not? It sounds like fun, right? Actually, it does not sound like fun to me. I am terrified of alligators and have no desire to soar into their territory. It doesn’t matter that the loud engine would probably scare them away…it only takes one hungry, insubordinate gator to take the bait. Yet for years, and I mean twelve long years, I honest-to-goodness thought that I would enjoy jet skiing in alligator infested waters.
While I think there is no harm in being influenced by Godly friends and acquiring positive traits and ideas, disregarding my talents, dreams, and desires was not only befuddling, it was sin. I was disobeying the voice of God and trying to recreate what He already made.
God didn’t create me to imitate His other creations. He created me to serve Him with the specific qualities he gifted to me. And knowing this doesn’t make me prideful or hoity-toity, it humbles me. It’s OK that I don’t want to teach preschool, ride a mule down the Grand Canyon, or deep sea dive.
God also did not create me to be perfect this side of heaven. If assigned mass and tied to a string, my character flaws, quirky habits, and sins would circle the planet at least once. But God did create me for a purpose, and I will never discover or live up to that purpose if keep exchanging my character traits for those of another. It’s simply unacceptable for me to hide who I am and yearn to be who I am not.
I still struggle with who I am, but each day I try to take every ounce of my flesh, every molecule of my soul, every pound of baggage, and each and every one of my dreams and I am lay them down – without shame – at the throne of the Holy of Holies. For with His masterful hands, He will use all I am and all I can become for His glory. And that is my dream.
“But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you. What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.”
Ephesians 4:17-25 (The Message)
Read more thoughts by Angela Nazworth at WombWoven.