Dreams. There is a narrative in our culture that tells us we must create a dream and live it out in order to find purpose and fulfilment. In the backdrop of our minds there is a silent pressure to embrace this philosophical notion and if we don’t we are left questioning, “did I miss the dream boat that sailed off into the sunset”? There is a ringing in our ears to “live your dream” or “if you quit your dream, what’s left?” And then there is the famous quote by Henry David Thoreau “If one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams, and endeavours to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” 1 Whilst some of these thoughts sound inspirational and even brave, there is a fundamental fault-line running all the way through the thinking that can be traced to a godless narcissism that assumes humans are in total control, following our dream with an insatiable appetite and unstoppable capacity. The dream philosophy propagates a self-focused, ambitious posture where the dream itself becomes self-defining as it weaves itself into the open crevices of one’s identity, consuming the dreamer. “I determine the dream, I live the dream and nothing can get in the way of the dream; my dream is who I am”.
Dreams. Of course, there is nothing wrong with having a dream. God is the master dreamer. The question about having dreams is who and what is at the centre of the dream and to what end do we pursue those dreams? The footing of the dream philosophy is to be defined and driven by the dream, whereas a God-shaped dream means we are directed by the God of the dream. God does place dreams and passions on our hearts and it is incumbent upon us to pursue God’s call. The pursuit, however, is not the dream itself, but the God of the dream. God’s dreams are about His kingdom; they are not about self-pursuit. To understand the nature of God-shaped dreams, have a read of the story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50.
Dreams are a miraculous part of the fabric of God’s creative design. The birthing of dreams and the fusion of those dreams into the realm of our humanity is the prerogative of His originality. God plants the seeds of His dreams for our lives deep within us. He works within the uniqueness of our personhood to inspire His vision, giving us the imagination to cultivate the blueprint of His dream, along with the innovation and creativity to engage what He births. That’s part of our creation mandate. We can then live with the tension of passionately pursuing our God-shaped dreams, whilst holding the dream loosely before the master dreamer, accepting the possibility that at any moment God may permit the dream to change. The critical thing about God-shaped dreams is they do not define our identity. A dream may be fulfilled or broken, and if broken, our identity is not shattered. Dreams are essentially about God’s recreative purposes and what He wants to accomplish through us when He entrusts us with dreams. The delight of God-shaped dreams is that it’s not up to us to make the dream fly. God gives us the wings for the dream and the wind of His Spirit to release the innovation, creativity, passion and resources to live out the dream. Our role is to love the God of the dream and be faithful as we co-labour with Him to see the dreams come to fruition for His glory.
So, friends, get your “God-dream” on today.
Best days to come
1 Henry David Thoreau