like dreams

I started out this morning reading an article in my news feed (the real news, not fb). I’d like to say I started today with the Word but often He uses other words to reach me, especially while my brain is still waking up. This morning was one of those times. Serendipitously, the article I clicked on quoted a psalm. It was published in Relevant Magazine, with a mention of Chris Pratt’s new Hollywood star and his Instagram post of the event; his caption to the photo is a quote from the Bible: “The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy” (Psalm 126:3).

This is my husband’s and my psalm (some people have songs, but, well, not us). It’s engraved on our wedding rings. In particular, the part that says, in verse one, “We were like those who dream.” We’re dreamers, my husband and I.

But lately this psalm has kind of, well, shamed me, because I’ve not been much of a dreamer lately. Or maybe, really, I started to become aware of the feeling of shame when I realized I had dreams that I have been stifling. I haven’t been living as the me I really am deep inside. At least, not lately (like, the past 8 or so years). There are a whole lot of reasons for that, which I will whittle and condense down to one: transition. I could write a book on how not to do transition.

Anyway, so in addition to being surprised that Chris Pratt is a Christian, I spent this morning in his story, challenged and excited by the prospect that God is intimately involved in our dreams. This is something I’ve been aware of, a proponent and teacher of, but sometimes we have to be reminded of the truths behind our beliefs.

The article came on the heels of Elle Luna’s “The Crossroads of Should and Must,” which I read and reveled in yesterday. I found her article through a podcast, which came to me through a list on bloglovin’, which I had visited for eye candy, tempted there by the promise of design inspiration (and where I found two completely conflicting posts about design: one was a list of colors designers are saying are overdone; the other was a list of the colors designers are saying are in this season. The lists were virtually the same.).

So while I lay still cooling off in the wind of our fan (it’s HOT season again!) listening to Elle Luna speak to my soul, I felt an awakening. She was speaking right to the issue I’ve been trying to process over the past several months (year, maybe?). That’s the issue…reality…problem…that the majority of my decisions are based on should, and not, using her vocabulary, must. The must is your passion. It’s what drives you. It’s what makes you want to get up in the morning.

So today, I woke up to an awakening of must dreams and find this article about a guy who has a successful career doing what he loves because he followed his passion (it was cool to find out he’s a brother…heaven is going to be fun with that guy), and I’m slapped (in a gentle and sweet way) with “my” psalm. “We were like those who dream…” The Israelites came back from Babylonian captivity feeling like this must be a dream, going back to Jerusalem free and unfettered.

My husband and I loved the first verse of Psalm 126 because we are dreamers, but I’m reading the psalm now thinking about living in the middle of your dream coming true. To look around you and say, “This must be a dream! There’s no way this is real!”

In some ways, for sure, we are living in the middle of a dream, in the middle of our calling as missionaries. But for me, there’s still been something missing…there’s been a part of myself waiting to be lived in. The door has been blocked by a whole lot of shoulds that have crowded my vision, and I’ve been merely keeping up.

Today, I have an artist I just learned of yesterday and an actor who has made me laugh for years to thank for new commitments in my spirit to push on the door and see what dreams are waiting in my abandoned room.

What will it look like to look up and be living in the land that feels like a dream? My soul longs to go there. I’m setting my course in its direction. I have a lot of work to do. And it’s a delight to get started.

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