// dreaming

I have never remembered my dreams. I guess I do have them – my roommate this year tells me that I talk in my sleep – but almost without fail, I wake up and they’re gone. Some of my friends tell me that God has spoken to them in incredible ways through their dreams – predicting things that have come true down to the smallest detail – and I’ve asked for similar, but to no avail. Evidently I just don’t work that way.

I daydream, though. My imagination often carries me further down the line in so many situations and so, before I know it, ideas become appearances on Dragon’s Den, blog posts become book deals, and the list goes on…

It’s not a wholly positive habit, because much of the time my dreams are too big anyway, and so when it comes to putting them into practice, I feel ludicrous or inadequate, without a clue where to start. And so, usually, I panic and do nothing.

Oswald Chambers once wrote that “dreaming about a thing in order to do it properly is right; but dreaming about it when we should be doing it is wrong.” Maybe you’re like me, and you catch yourself wondering how to reconcile your kind of dreaming with what Walter Wink called “praying the future into being” – seeking the dreams that God gives us, those good visions that come from Him and which change the world for good. See,  in my case, even when my big dreams are of good, valuable things, I still lack the faith to believe that they’re actually possible. They’re not bad things to dream, but I’m conscious that, at least at the moment, I just don’t have the capacity to do anything with them.

Chambers also went on to write, “dreaming after God has spoken is an indication that we do not trust Him… leave Him to be the source of all your dreams and joys and delights, and go out and obey what He has said.”

Lately I’ve been praying a simple prayer: “God, give me Your dreams, and not my own.”

And it’s weird – it’s like since I started praying that, my dreaming has shifted from the big visions (that have me at the centre) to visions of what the next step looks like instead. It’s almost like God is building the faith to believe for the big things by proving Himself in the small…

See, I don’t know that I’m ready for the big dreams yet. I don’t have the faith, the trust, the maturity or the character to deal with those big dreams, even if they are there. I’d only make a mess of them. But God knows that, too. And He’s involved at the absolute ground level in getting me – getting us – to the point where we have enough faith to trust Him by stepping out to where He’s called us and making those dreams a reality.

As I’ve taken those first steps, already I’ve been conscious of the element of risk involved in all of this. Even in the small things, it still takes faith to step out and trust; but strangest of all, as I’ve stepped into those situations where I’ve felt God’s leading, I’ve been conscious of His hand in all of it. And that gives me confidence for the next step. Whatever that next step is.

So why not join me in that prayer: “God, give me Your dreams and not my own.”

Maybe join it with a short plea: “And give me the courage to take the next step.”

Maybe you have big dreams and you don’t know where to start, or maybe you switched off your capacity for dreaming altogether, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. God called you for a purpose in the first place, and He’s not too small to work that purpose out both in you and through you.

As the poet Anna Akmatova once put it:

Anything is possible

But he who walks there now

Will have to dream it stubbornly.

Time to start believing it.

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  1. Tom, your post reminded me of a great quote by Lawrence of Arabia. Simon Guillebaud quotes it on his DVD:

    “All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”

    • Tom
    • March 8th, 2010

    Interesting you should say that, Tim – that was the very chapter of Simon’s book i read before writing this. It’s also far and away my favourite chapter…

    I definitely want to be one of those dangerous dreamers of the day. Thanks for passing that quote along.

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