God Has A Better Dream For Me

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May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”   Psalm 20:16

I saw the movie “La La Land” this past weekend, and enjoyed it immensely. Without giving too much away, it’s the story of young, hopeful performers in Los Angeles, two of whom fall in love. One of the main characters sang a song called “The Ones Who Dream”, a sweet and sincere tribute to people who create. Here’s how the chorus goes:

Here’s to the ones who dream
Foolish as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that ache
Here’s to the mess we make

Walking out of the theater, memories of my own stab at fame back in my 20’s came to mind. I could relate to all the feelings of longing and angst the characters expressed. It was a time filled with tremendous energy – when every audition was fraught with both hope and anxiety. After several crazy years I finally had to step back and look at things more realistically. It was the right thing to do, but painful. After all,  I was walking away from a dream I’d had since childhood.

Ironically, insecurity was probably my strongest trait back then. And since I had no relationship with God, I was on my own. My answer to feelings of insecurity was to push myself harder, usually with affirmations like I am talented and special! Positive thinking had it’s limits, though, and so did my own strength.

Like the music in the movie, letting go of my dream to make the big time was bittersweet. But I realize now that doing that opened the door to a whole other kind of life. God had actually planted a desire in my heart that went deeper than artistic success, and His plan was to make my best dreams come true.

I’m sure no one who made “La La Land” intended it to have any kind of message about God. But for me, the story was a great reminder of how tough life is without Him, and how blessed I am to have His strength and vision for my journey.

 

Hope For Better Things

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Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

My husband and I were heading down the highway the other evening when a memory stuck me of driving down this same road certain nights in my 20’s.

In those days, a restlessness and discontent rattled around inside me. Some nights, I hopped in my Colt and drove, often going for long stretches at a time. I had no specific destination in mind except away from the day-to-day reality of my life. Just being in the car, alone, felt like breaking free and reassured me there might be more “out there” somewhere for me. But there was always a tinge of loneliness mixed in. I’d glance out at the lights I’d see in neighborhoods that I passed, and wonder what it was like to have a house and family, to be settled and needed at home.   

Reliving those moments, I began feeling sad for that 20-something who felt so full of angst. But then, a new and sweeter thought popped into my mind. I would not be surprised at all if it was the Holy Spirit intervening! Here was what I pictured:

Me, as I am now, standing in front of the me I was then. I put my hands on my younger self’s shoulders and say, “I know how unhappy you are now. But you won’t find your life speeding down a road by yourself. Things are going to get a lot better for you. You can’t see that yet, so you’ll have to trust me. For right now, though, hold on to hope. That has carried through so much already – let it keep you going now.”

It’s true that no matter how discouraged or angry or depressed I got in that time of my life, I never totally gave up hope. The smallest flicker of it always appeared when I needed to be pulled out of a funk. Was it the power of my own positive thinking? Hardly!

If I really could go back and talk to my younger self, I’d tell her that God is waiting for her. He loves her, and has always had a plan for her to be in a family – His church. And He has always wanted her to feel safe and settled – under His wings. Only one thing will calm the restlessness she feels, and it won’t be a longer road trip, but coming home.

I shared my musings with my husband, who smiled – he knows the journey I’ve been on. And I realized how wonderfully God has met my longings in ways I would never have imagined.

One Reason I Love God’s Word

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I think one of the most beautiful things about Scripture is how it continues to speak to us in whatever season we find ourselves. We can always find valuable truths in any Bible book. But I know that God has often directed me to study exactly what I need to learn at any given moment.

I accepted Jesus at age 30, after many years of feeling lonely and lacking hope. During my first  years as a Christian, God knew I needed to learn about who He was and how much He loved me. Verses where God spoke reassurance to people from Job to Hannah soothed my wounded heart and help me let down my defenses.

Later, as I felt more secure in God’s love, I began to work through some of my old hurts. In my self-centered view of things, I cried out to God and questioned Him when I didn’t get what I wanted. The Psalms showed me it was alright to be honest with myself and Him about my feelings and thoughts. And the more I tried to follow David’s example, the more my crying ended up as praise.

With a stronger foundation under my feet, I was ready to grow up a little more in my faith. Proverbs then became a resource for me to learn about how to walk each day as a believer. Paul’s letters reminded me that I am not alone on my journey, and part of my call is to love others. That ignited a desire in me to have more of a servant’s heart.

How about you? Have you ever sensed God “sending” you to a section of Scripture, maybe even before you knew you needed it? Think of it as part of His plan and provision for you!