Don’t Marry Your Dream by H Hamilton Comings

… H. Hamilton Comings is a dear friend and mentor of mine. There is great wisdom in connecting with pastors seasoned by life & ministry. This post on dreams is excellent. You can see his blog here

Dreams can be like a marriage. When that happens we are in trouble. Friendships can exist on different levels and can move away leaving space for replacement. Marriages can only end in the grief of death or the bitterness of divorce.

God wants his people to cultivate friendships with dreams. A life void of dreams is a life mired in the swamp of complacency or stranded in the barren waste of apathy. However, when a dream becomes a marriage it has become an idol. This is true whether it is the dream house, the dream of some particular achievement or even a dream of ministry (perhaps the most seductive of all dreams).

Maintaining dreams at the friendship level requires not only the faith to pursue them but also the faith to let them go if God moves in that direction. As friendships they can be passionately owned, but they must not become possessively owned. In departure, their loss can be grieved, but the grief must not be allowed to fester into bitterness.

The faith to release dreams can accomplish two things. It can free our spirit to embrace the friendship of a new dream; and it can open the way for God, in his time, to bring back the released dream in better ways than we imagined. Elijah is an example of the first in his transition from a national prophet to a personal mentor. Moses is an example of the second in his transition from a premature deliverer of his people to a prepared founding father of a nation.

A key factor in this faith to pursue and to release our dreams is the recognition that is not easy. For some reason when something is not easy we tend to conclude it must not be right. The path of faith and obedience is rarely easy, and often it is not instinctively desirable. As with any parting of the ways, there will be the need to mourn. This should not surprise us. However, as with any mourning, there will be the need to get up, wash our face, thank God for the things built into our lives through the departed dream and, then accept the tasks at hand even though, at the moment, they may seem like empty husks.

The important phrase in that statement is, “seem like.” While engaged in those empty husks, we can be surprised by the unexpected visit of a new dream. When that happens we must guard ourselves against the temptation to reject it for fear that it, too, will move away unfulfilled. Wrenched away from home and dreams, Joseph, in the book of Genesis, could not have been the man he was in Egypt had he not cultivated the dream of being a man of honor. The testimony of his experience may give us an insight into the direction all dreams take us. Dreams, as with any God-given friendship, ultimately have as their reason for existence the development of nobility of spirit in our lives. When the great testimonies of Scripture are compared, God is not so much the fulfiller of dreams as the grower of souls.

Take a moment to list the dreams which have befriended you. If, in the making of the list, you find a bitterness of spirit at the memory of ones to which you have said “good-bye,” ask God to give you good and motivating memories of those past friendships. As for the dreams which are still part of your life, make sure none of them are things you “cannot live without.” Ask God for the grace to be passionately energized in your dreams because, above all, you are passionately energized by God himself with or without the dream.