We are in the process of looking for a new home and today the kind husband of a real estate agent said to me, “I think – no, I KNOW you will find the house of your dreams!” I smiled and nodded politely, all the while thinking to myself, “I don’t really want the house of my dreams, at least not now – I want a good investment, a property to fix up and sell for a profit, and by necessity that means the house will be less than ideal.” And I was convicted by my ready dismissal of his inspiring words. The man had a better grasp on reality than I did, and here’s why:
1. I assume that my dreams will come ready-made, no assembly or hard work required. In fact, most dreams appear as a seed, an idea, a squalling baby, a vision, a dilapidated old house that needs restoration, or a promised land that requires a desert trek and some big battles and sacrifices in order to make it your own.
2. I believe that my dreams are frivolous – no one really needs a dream home, least of all me. Just give me a reliable roof over my head, a refuge for my family, a place where visitors can feel welcome, and that is sufficient. But Jesus did not die to give us a sufficient life, he came to give us an abundant life. Why are there dreams and longings in my heart if God did not mean to do something about them (excepting selfish or immoral desires, of course)? This is not merely about material wealth, it is about developing and pursuing resources and opportunities in order to accomplish great things.
3. I tend to focus more on my ‘lack of deservedness’ than the generosity, kind intentions, and unlimited ability of my father in heaven. It really has nothing to do with how worthy or not I am to embark on a dream come true – it has to do with how much God loves and is willing to demonstrate it.
4. Deep down inside I still carry vestiges of my Mennonite heritage that associate riches and good fortune with guilt – anything I am enjoying is necessarily depriving someone else of the same. Not only am I living in luxury while others are needy, but too much of a good thing will lead me down an evil path and some small measure of poverty is healthy for it will make me rely on God. Well, that is simply bullsh*t. Either I rely on God or I don’t. It all has to do with the state of my heart, not the state of my finances. Contentment, good character, generosity, faithfulness, love, patience, wisdom, humility – these are the hallmarks of godliness, not whether you have much or little.
5. I am a doubter. I do not believe my dreams will come true, and I have some pretty outlandish ones, I will admit. When I have been brave enough to share them with others, they have often been dismissed as childish, and I have come to dismiss many of them myself in order to avoid disappointment. However, faith (not doubt) is the currency of the kingdom of God.
6. I am under the false pretence that it depends on me. While I am a firm believer in working hard and doing what you can to improve yourself and your situation and to help others as you go along, there are simply some things (fantastical, out of the ordinary, or supernatural) that I cannot bring about, no matter how hard I try. Only God can make something out of nothing, or truly restore something that is broken, and I must learn to rely on his ability more than my own lack.
So today, I repent of these erroneous thoughts and I choose instead to believe that my gracious God will supply not only my every need, but do so according to his lavish love and character. May I become more like my father in that regard.