Dreams

Misty november morning at lake

Hey… you on the treadmill or the carousel.

Yes, you.    I have a question for you.

Remember the time you had an idea that would make a difference in your world?  Remember when you aspired to something better?  Something richer?  Something gloriously possible because you imagined it so?

Yeah, so… whatever happened to that idea?  Whatever happened to your dreams?

Remember when you were on a mission – when you had a sense of calling and clarity, and you even gave the G-word as your source?  Remember when you stepped out in confidence because God told you to?

Yeah, so… whatever happened to that calling?  Whatever happened to your dreams?

Remember when you were enflamed with passion or infused with hope because you could see it, taste it, enjoy it even before you experienced it?  Remember when you were so excited you could hardly sleep at night?

Yeah, so… whatever happened to that passion?  Whatever happened to your dreams?

Remember when you were determined to get something done – to solve a problem or meet a need or advance a cause?  Remember when you swore that you were done with idle living and wasted time?

Yeah, so… whatever happened to that determination?  Whatever happened to your dreams?

Remember when you were surrounded by can-do people who spoke into your life with encouragement and faith and offered to help you get where you were going? Remember when they convinced you that you had what it took to get it done?

Yeah, so… whatever happened to that connection? Whatever happened to your dreams? [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

wood bridge on sunset

I pray that wherever you are in relation to your dreams – whether putting them to bed or waking them up – crying out for new visions or mourning the death of old ones – I pray that you would endure…

Not just in terms of putting one foot in front of the other (that’s survival), but in terms of first love – the endurance of the heart.  Specifically I pray that… [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

Road through the Palouse Region.

The Dream

Somewhere in the deepest places of your heart, however old and tired or fresh and alive it may seem, there lurks The Dream. Rooted in who or what you believe to be true, grounded in what you are most passionate about, The Dream is your ideal sense of beauty, happiness, and ultimate contentment.

For many people, The Dream is so patently obvious or so magically impossible, they hardly think about it, much less discuss it. For others, The Dream is tantamount to heaven, so they assume that the only joy here is preparing for life there, after death.

Let me be clear.  “God has prepared things for those who love him that no eye has seen, or ear has heard, or that haven’t crossed the mind of any human being” (1 Corinthians 2:9, CEB). But in setting your heart toward home, He has given you a sense of life as it ought to be… as it can be. It may seem impossible this side of heaven…

Nevertheless, The Dream is there.

And you are here.

And in between are the Distance and the Spaces.

The Spaces are those markers and milestones that speak of the progress you have made in the direction of The Dream.

The Distance is the ruthless, unyielding set of facts, measurements and rules that, apart from God’s grace, show us just how far we have to go. [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

Child Heart

We all were born with the capacity to dream.  To envision a life that could be… that will be… and the pathways to get there.  To imagine a tomorrow that’s better…

Safer…

Happier…

Stronger…

Lovelier.

“Be fruitful and multiply,” He said.  That’s the stuff that dreams are made of.  We dream of fruitfulness.  We dream of abundance.

But life on this side of the Garden sometimes aims our dreams toward the mirror.  Nighttime comes to the soul, and our imagination gets lost in what once was.  Of those we once dreamed with or about, but now for whatever reason are lost to us.  And it hurts like hell. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Davidson High School, Mobile, Alabama.  Circa 1974.  My freshman year.  I’m standing in the cafeteria line, waiting to decide whether I was going with the hamburger or whatever today’s chef’s choice was.  It was there I spotted her, headed toward the faculty dining room.  This was worth losing my spot in line for.

She was our school guidance counselor, and also an experienced English teacher.  She was wise about things I was ignorant of.

She also happened to be my great aunt.

“Aunt Helen!” said I.  “I wanted to ask your advice about something.”

“What’s that,” she replied.

“Well, see, I’m writing a book – a novel – and I wanted to get some advice from you about how to get it published.”

(I should pause here to interpret what “novel” meant.  I probably had about five chapters, about five notebook pages hand-written each, about a tough-guy high school kid who winds up dying for the girl he loves, who happened to have the same name as the girl I was fixated on in the ninth grade.  Anyway…)

Her advice was sage – way wiser than my 14 years.   She didn’t write off my dreams and tell me that 14-year-olds don’t get published as novelists.  She didn’t boggle my mind about query letters, agents or publishing houses either.  She offered me words of encouraging truth. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

On Interstate 40 in New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Santa Rosa, you’ll find an exit at the 226 mile marker.

That’s about it.

A bridge and four exit and entrance lanes.  That’s all.

There is no food, phone, gas or camping opportunity.  No tourist traps so common on this major cross-country artery.  Nothing.

Okay, but at least there’s a highway number or the name of some road, right?  I mean, plenty of Interstate exits offer no services, but at least they name the road or the destination like Owassa, Hope Hull, or Tucumcari.  What’s the name of this road?

There isn’t one.

Where does it lead?

Nowhere.

The sign simply says, “Exit 226.” [click to continue…]

{ 5 comments }

(Sort-of-random thoughts after two road trips and some new journeys to come…)

For all the delight I have in seeing family, especially grandbabies, the comfort found in my own bed is irreplaceable.

I’ve been blessed by delighted voices that call me “Papa” and wordless raised hands that see in me the solution to the primal angst of not being able to reach a Ritz cracker without help.  With that kind of adoration, what else in this life could be a more precious investment of time?

There was never a time I could remember when I didn’t want to be a father.  But being a grandfather is like showing up at McAlister’s Deli on Free Tea Day having forgotten it was free tea day but there you are and the tea is free!

Some of life’s delights are limited to the moment – then they leave an emptiness that’s sort of like the crash you get after eating a lot of sugar.  On the other hand, some of life’s delights feel as if God has poured permanent joy in me, even when I’m tired and know the “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and “Elmo’s Greatest Hits” lyrics by heart. [click to continue…]

{ 3 comments }

The other day Laura Kate, age 4, decided (again) what she wants to be when she grows up.  She wants “the person who dumps those big piles of dirt.”

The other day I, age 53, decided (again) what I want to be when I grow up.  I want to be the author of a book on leadership.

She’ll think of other things she wants to be when she grows up, and I’ll think of other things I’ll want to be when I grow up.  I guess when either of us quits thinking of who or what we want to be at a point of maturity, it’ll be time to die.

+++++++

There is only one person who gets to measure love by obedience – that’s Jesus.  All the rest of us have a different standard.

+++++++ [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

We live in a disposable culture.  “Old” has been redefined by phone companies in terms of seconds, and kommitment has been karikatured by kertain kelebrities as a multimillion-dollar hoax. And in a culture where the official religion is the Church of Relative Truth, disposing of beliefs or vows is old news.

Science has made recycling possible, but we’ve taken the plunge with some things – and people – that never should have been “cycled” in the first place. It’s one thing to recycle McDonald’s napkins; recycling children is another story.  And some people recycle relationships with little more care than they might recycle motor oil or a milk jug.

Of course, some things should be disposed of, either because they’ve satisfied their purpose or because they hinder our growth and progress.  Henry Cloud, in his must-read book Necessary Endings, says,

“Getting to the next level always requires ending something, leaving it behind, and moving on. Growth demands that we move on. Without the ability to end things, people stay stuck, never becoming who they are meant to be, never accomplishing all that their talents and abilities should afford them.”

We can’t be free to let go, however, until we have some clear life anchors – those beliefs, relationships, and commitments that keep us grounded and pointed in the right direction.  Simply put, there are some things you should never let go of.  The question is, how do you know what to throw away and what to keep?  What’s the difference between a relationship or belief that serves as an anchor and one that is more like a ball-and-chain?

Here’s where I would start in your search for life anchors: [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Way past the appearances and impressions we try to leave,

Behind the masks and attempts to please the critical and excite the vain –

Beyond the insiders’ lingo and bless-to-impress,

There rests a true heart.

Your heart.  My heart.

Authentic, insofar as we can know it without being deceived by it.

Wiser, it seems, than we often give it credit for being.

More terrified at times than we would ever let on.

More prayerful than we often realize…

More ruthlessly demanding that we care to admit in polite company.

Gloriously free from what we used to be – yet humbly aware of how far we have to go. [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }