Taking Time to Dream

Andrea and I just took a trip… a chance to get away… to create a little space in our lives.  One of the things Andrea and I have made part of our “road trip” rituals is to give each other space to share what’s going on with us.   And, one of the core questions we often ask each other is “What have you been dreaming about lately?”

So, on the drive home (sort of leaving the best for last) Andrea turns to me and says, “I want to talk about our Dreams.  Let’s dream a little.  Tell me a dream of yours.”  She said, “If you were handed a magic wand and could sort of turn back the clock on time, what would you do?  With the healing and freedom and wisdom you’ve gained… What is your dream?”

I pause.  My mind races.  I didn’t have an answer. I’m out of practice.  I’m not sure what I want.

I begin to share, but there is confusion and frustration and uncertainty in my voice. What DO I want?!  Did I ever want anything? Maybe it’s too late anyway… maybe… Ok… wait… this is just me starting to go overboard… it’s a sort of panic-reaction at the thought of opening up my heart again to what has gone too long without a visit.  My heart needs this (more than I know)… so I try again…

So, I reflect back on an exercise I did at a recent “Calling” retreat.  I think back to a word-exercise… words like “teach”, “creativity”, “facilitate”, “share”, “give”, “influence”, and “life” come to mind. I think of the list of things that I like to do and dislike to do… things that bring me life and things that take it away.  I say to Andrea, “I like to be creative. I don’t like 8-5, mundane jobs. I like working with others. I like missional/event-type work/activities.”  I’m getting closer to what Andrea’s asking (my Dreams) but, I’m not quite there yet.  So, in my frustration, I ask her to share her dreams. (Thinking that might help guide my own heart in the right direction.)

Andrea shares a dream of hers.

She shares a dream of what her life might look like.  She shares with growing detail of where she’d live… what kind of house she’d have… who would be there in her life with her… she shares how she might live out her dream “job” and how she might impact others. It was simple and beautiful.

I’m beginning to get it, again. I’m beginning to remember WHY we dream.

So, I take another, deeper shot at it. I fill in the blanks around all the word-exercises and likes/dislikes/etc and begin to share a dream. I dream of a friend and I having our own photography business… we do outdoor photography… we hang over the edges of cliffs and shoot photos of climbers reaching for the next hand-hold… at dawn we hike into the Rockies to capture a special shot of some rare scene… and we love interacting with people, so we also do fun, really cool, really high-end wedding photography… they love us and we get the $10k/day shooting fees… we’re worth it… we’re doing what we love and so the creativity comes with each satisfying effort.  The dreaming gets easier as I go on…. we live in the mountains outside of Denver or Colorado Springs or Boulder.  It’s a log house, with room for family and many visitors.  And, my friend and I use our time/money to do missional/events. We host small groups of men and of women to come to a retreat site to be led on a journey of spiritual discovery and healing and restoration and freedom.  The dreams are getting larger… more defined… more “heart” and “desire” and less “analysis” and less “but how”s.  (Just doing this exercise has brought to mind other dreams that take me in 10 other directions.)  There is more and more and more to dream…

I’m not sure if a Mountain home or photography business is literally what I need or should be doing.  But, the Dream gives me the chance to test out life as it might be. It gives me the chance to uncover what is CORE about my life and my heart.  This short exercise in dreaming has brought encouragement and hope and vision and faith.  It has helped us open our minds… maybe even change our minds… it is giving God space to take our view of the future and shape it into something He knows will work for us, uniquely.  I had somehow begun to view “dreaming” as a sort of literal planning session… a “game plan” or “decision” or the final, unchangeable word on my life & future.  And because of this, I think I feared really dreaming. I feared disappointment. So I was editing my dreams, limiting them to my limited view of my present circumstances.  I had forgotten the value of simply letting desire (the desires of my heart, Ps 20:4) have space to dream & believe.  “We simply must learn the lesson of these moments, or we will not be able to bring our hearts along in our life’s journey.” (Eldredge)

So, How about you — What are some of YOUR dreams?  Are you willing to give yourself freedom to dream… space to dream?  Maybe you need to spend some time listening to someone else’s dreams to get your bearings.  Would you be willing to ask someone else what they’ve been dreaming about?

I’d love it if you’d share how the conversations go when you do it.  Post back, please.  I’d benefit… we’d all benefit… from your willingness to dream.

Hoping all the desires of our hearts come true,

Mark

A few pieces of advice for dreaming

  1. Let God edit your dreams, don’t do it yourself. (It’s too easy to edit or chop our dreams into pieces simply because we can’t figure out HOW they could ever come to pass or if they should.)
  2. Let your dreams be what they are — Dreams. You don’t have to negotiate them… harness them… live by them… stress over them… calculate the cost of them… analyze the worth of them… decide if they should be pursued… figure out how to pay for them… or even how to achieve them.  The ones that you need will return to you often, God will return them to you.
  3. Take time to do dream.  It won’t happen unless you intentionally create some space and time in your life.
  4. And, if you are blessed to be the recipient of hearing someone else’s dreams —
  • Be patient and listen
  • Don’t be quick to edit
  • Don’t jump to “how do we make this happen…?”
  • Pray that they’ll see if the dream literally should come to pass or whether it speaks of deeper longings or lacking in their life
  • Ask lots of questions.  Explore and meander  and enjoy!

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UPDATE:  Be sure to check out Taking Time to Dream, Part 2

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