Living the Dream: Parenting with Perspective
All parents have dreams, but how many of us have slowly and gradually surrendered those dreams somewhere after we’ve hit the familiar potholes of delay, failure and frustration (which may seem to be increasing in their size and frequency as we live out our regular parenting routines)?
Please don’t give up on those dreams. We need you to hold tenaciously to the very stuff of your heart. The fabric of you that God ingrained in us when He created our very soul, the literal heart-beat of who He wanted you and me to be and become. Parenthood has a way of stretching and pulling at that tender fabric until we’re tempted to rip it out of our lives and leave it behind, pained by its insistent cry for us to pick it up again.
School, work, the kids, our mortgages and Kroger can crowd its cry out, temporarily blocking the ache its voice can revive. They tell us to give up on our childish dreams, abandon our hope for the very thing that makes us unique. It logically intones how irresponsible it would be for us to consider taking such risks with our families and our homes relying on us (which they are). So we push its pulsing beat further away from our mind and focus on the tasks at hand. Fearful to pick it up again, wondering if that deep desire is God or something else…
The Bible tells us about men and women who had such dreams. Abraham and Sarah, Joseph, Moses, Ruth, David… men and women who felt this pulse of a deep and powerful purpose and followed it all the way. They were just like us, with kids and jobs and responsibilities. They must have struggled with the irrational sense of just launching out of their comfortable lives to follow this inner cry, this dream they had.
But I’m so glad they did. It couldn’t have been easy, and we know it took a long time in their lives to become a reality, but they acted on their God-given passions. They must have been tempted to give up on their dream, and some did, then later they picked it back up… over and over until they made it. Even though the path forward was narrow and winding, even though the risk was great, they kept going. Parenting can be like that. So how do we keep going, how do we keep our dreams alive?
To keep reviving our dream, to keep moving upward and onward, I believe we must understand the perspective of the journey. God isn’t trying to take your dream away; He isn’t antagonistic to it; He gave it to you. God is simply directing our paths into a place of preparation and study, to equip us to handle the ultimate reality of that dream becoming true.
I believe when we trust by faith in God’s plan for our lives, He custom designs circumstances to help us develop the character and attributes we need to be successful in achieving our dreams (not psycho-babble or positive thinking).
Look at the Bible, and see if this is true. Take the remarkable young man Joseph: son of promise, dreamer of dreams, slave, prisoner, sexually harassed, betrayed, over-looked, diminished, but always faithful guy. Joseph seemed somehow to hold onto the dream God gave him as a young man. He trusted in God’s ability to accomplish the dream, not his own ability to make it happen. He must have, to make it through decades of mis-treatment and delay, repeated frustrations and setbacks, all without loosing perspective on who was going to really make his dream become a reality.
Without the overshadowing perspective of faith, our dreams are simply aggravations. With it, our lives become the perfectly designed preparatory school for their ultimate fulfilment. Joseph wouldn’t have been ready to help rule Egypt and save his brothers, and ultimately the entire line of Jesus, if he had surrendered his dream to the circumstances of his life. Don’t you DARE give up on your's either.
Something our kids need to see is us believe.