I meant them.
Because I did, Jesus answered. But He answered in a surprising way. He answered by alluring me …
Straight into the wilderness.
To a place of such bareness that giving Him “everything” amounted to very little. To a place of such weakness that my prayers were no longer “big” but so very simple and small. To a place of such weariness that the only place I could “go” was before His face, and the only thing I could “do” was keep showing up there.
But a funny thing happened in the wilderness.
I began to see Him differently.
I began to see me differently.
It was there He “gave me back my vineyards.” It was there He taught me to hope again. It was there He taught me to sing again, to believe again …
Even to dream again.
It took a long time to figure out who I was and what I desired without hiding behind passionate and pious religious declarations. It took even longer to realize He wanted me to dream about things I wanted to dream about and not just the things I thought He wanted.
When all the religious props are kicked away, and when any illusion of “usefulness” related to ministry or calling is stripped away, what is left?
A lot, it turns out.
What’s left is what’s most real. What’s most real is that I am a beloved daughter of the Most High. I am forever cherished and adored by God Almighty Himself. He loves me because He loves me and He will continue to love me if I never do a single thing of significant impact. He doesn’t want me to tell Him what I think He wants to hear, He wants to know what I think, what I feel, and what I desire.
He doesn’t want to know what I’m willing to give up for Him, He wants me to know I’m alive in Him.
Really, more than anything, in the wilderness, I learned confidence. Not a fleeting confidence in any of my own abilities, but an enduring confidence in His love and faithfulness. I’m fickle and frail–where I feel confident one day, I fail the next–but His love never fails.
Somewhere along the way, I realized I left the wilderness behind. There was a new song stirring in my heart, and slowly–very slowly–a new passion has begun to bubble up in my soul. Although I still feel weak, I am free. I am free to dream, free to soar. I know I can choose my path and He will bless and provide for me forever.
But I also know something else. I know there is one thing I’ve had right all along. The only dream, the only desire worth pursuing …
Just Him. Only Him. Always and forever, Him.
And with that realization, I’ve come full circle. Slowly–very slowly–I’ve started praying those “big” prayers again. He doesn’t demand them. He never did. He doesn’t even particularly desire them apart from a heart that has counted the cost and chosen to pray them all over again. I’m pretty convinced He is willing to give me just about anything I desire simply because He loves me. And make no mistake, there are a lot of things I’d like to see happen, there are things I’m believing for, there are things I do want. But they all pale in comparison to the One Thing …
That’s why if you were to ask me about my dreams, I have a hard time articulating much of anything beyond the name of Jesus. I want Him. I want to see His glory. I want to behold His beauty. I want to be where He is, go where He goes, and do what He does. And it really doesn’t matter to me all that much what that does or does not look like.
God has graciously given us the freedom of choice. There are many choices, both small and large, I have made, and will continue to make, throughout my life. But now that I am finally beginning to learn how to think for myself and make choices free from a distorted sense of obligation or religious compulsion, my choice above all choices remains so very simple …
I choose Him.
Jesus, I give everyone and everything to You. I lay down all illusions of control, and surrender myself to Your Lordship. You know me, Lord, You know my dreams, You know my desires, so I leave “my destiny and its timing in Your hands.”* I leave those I love in Your hands. I leave every plan, every promise, and every prophecy in Your hands. Jesus, You taught me how to dream again, now teach me to REALLY seek first Your Kingdom and dream even bigger dreams with You … whatever that does, or does not, look like. ~ Amen
*Psalm 16:5 TPT: Lord, I have chosen you alone as my inheritance. You are my prize, my pleasure, and my portion. I leave my destiny and its timing in your hands. (Emphasis mine)