Thursday, 18 September 2008

When dreams go bad

I have been thinking about what to do when my plans and dreams do not happen. What do you do when the things you dream of do not happen when and how you want? What if they are things beyond your control?

I think there are two choices or ends of the continuum of reaction to this situation. At one end I could doggedly stick to the plan and the dream despite the fact that it continues to not be fulfilled in the hope that one day it will be. This could be viewed as a faithful and hopeful response, especially if you feel that the dream is one God has placed on your heart and in your mind.

However the risk is that this approach will result in the quiet creep of despair. I don't think the human heart can cope with continual disappointment if there is not something sustaining it in the wait for the dream to be fulfilled.

And this brings me to where I find myself. No matter what I dream of and hope for, my life must be meaningful and purposeful now. The tension of a hope not yet realised will always remain, but God is with me now, active in my life now, not just when I reach that hoped for moment or goal. So what am I going to do now to live out God's presence and reality in the place I find myself?

What do you do when you find yourself in a place you never wanted to arrive at with a set of experiences as your baggage which you would quite happily have lost in transit or never packed in the first place? For me I continue to wrestle with the fact that at the core of me I am changed and I can never be the same. I cannot switch off the part of me that stands before God, shocked to the core and traumatised by the reality and randomness of this world. But something new is emerging...

I have no plan anymore. I have no more delusions of control or security in the things of this world. No plan or job or success can protect any of us from loss and pain and tragedy. So I don't want to strive for those things any more.
Now all I want is meaning in my life. If life can throw such painful curve balls then I want every moment of my own life to be about the love and hope and faith which holds me together. I want to feel my life has purpose and meaning beyond just daily survival and going through the motions.

And so with no plan and with the realisation of the fragility of life there is a new freedom I am realising that I would have never known otherwise. My security is in following Jesus, clinging to him and living out what he places on my heart. Because nothing else has sustained me, healed me and held me together over the last year. Busyness, work, money and even friends and family cannot fill that cavernous hole. But God's miraclous love does seep into the parts of me which cannot be reached. The hole, the scars will always be there but God is making things new and his grace is bringing real and tangible hope into my hopelessness.

A woman I am priviledged to know had a breast removed due to cancer. Instead of breast reconstruction she had a tatoo of daisies placed along the line of the scar. There is no denying the scars, but beautiful things can grow. A new freedom can begin new dreams and plans and reorder my priorities so that life has a fullness of joy I never would have experienced otherwise.

May the Lord, who has begun a good work in me, see it to completion.

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