How long has it been since you spent time dreaming about something you’d like to do? Were there things you thought you would have accomplished by now, but you haven’t? Have you given up on old dreams, or simply stopped thinking about them? Have you ever made a bucket list (a list of things you’d like to do before you kick the proverbial bucket)?
There was a time in my life, not long ago, when I was so consumed with day-to-day survival that I never dreamt about anything. Everything I ever hoped to be or accomplish was so far on the back burner that it was on another stove entirely–the broken one in the corner of the garage that was waiting to be hauled to the dump, to be exact.
I had decided my dreams were impossible and silly. I had decided that they weren’t meant to be. I had decided that it was best never to think about them again rather than dredge them up and look at them, which would only lead to feeling discontented.
Instead, I felt broken, empty, discouraged, fatalistic, resigned, and depressed. But at least I wasn’t discontent!
When I finally had the nervous breakdown that I deserved (ah, a week in the loony bin, what a vacation!), I took time to reevaluate where I had been standing for so many years. As it turns out, the space I thought I was giving God to move was actually just me, giving up. It was me, deciding that I didn’t deserve any of the talents and gifts that God had given me. I decided, somewhere along the way, that they must not be for me after all.
And along the way I committed the grievous sin of saying it was what God wanted me to do, that he wanted me to be an empty shell, devoid of personality, that it was what He meant when he said “deny yourself…”
I don’t believe that anymore. Now I believe dreaming is crucial to one’s mental health.
The first thing my husband and I did during my recovery was begin to talk about what we would do after the children were out of the house. In the past, I never thought about it because, hey, these kids aren’t EVER going to get out of the house, right? Wrong. They will, eventually, and refusing to even think about that day contributed mightily to my feelings of discouragement, like there was never going to be anything for me but Wal Mart and laundry, forever and ever, amen. Dreaming about a little camper and traveling to all the states in the continental USA got me excited for the first time in decades about the future. And if you’re not excited about the future, you’re in trouble.
Making a bucket list is a good way to start if you’re out of the habit of dreaming. Think about what you’d like to do, if only you had the time. And then, MAKE TIME. Here are a few things on my own list:
- banjo lessons
- hang gliding
- scuba diving
- see the Redwoods
- go to Puerto Rico
- make pottery
- get published
I believe that the ability to dream is a God-given gift to the human race. Without dreams we only have nightmares, and so dream, baby. Dream big, and dream a lot, and then get busy working to make them happen. Don’t wait for God’s “permission” to perform the stuff He put in your heart in the first place! It’s an affront to His goodness, His abundant love, His great big imagination, to think that He would give you talents and then not let you use them.
He’s waiting to see what you will do. Make it good!