Dream a Little Dream
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
Do you have dreams? I don't mean the kind where you're in public in your underwear or you have to take a final despite the fact you've never been to class. I mean the daytime kind of dream where you stop the madness of life for a few seconds and think about what you'd like to accomplish by your next birthday or in the next five years.
One of the best pieces of advice I've ever been given was to make three lists: things I want to have, things I want to do, and things I want to be. These lists are supposed to contain everything from the trivial to the over-the-top. For example, my "have" list contains such things as owning an antique armoire, achieving flat abs (that's over-the-top for me!), and having a home where people always feel free to stop by and hang out. My "do" list includes taking a cooking class, setting my roommate up with a cool Christian guy, and reading through the entire Bible. My "be" list contains being debt-free, becoming a letter writer, and being comfortable sharing my faith.
While writing these lists can be a great exercise for anyone, it's especially helpful for singles. It's so easy for us to get tunnel vision, to see getting married as our end-all beat-all goal in life. But there's so much more out there to see and do and experience, and there's so much more that God's wired in each of us that needs expressing, sharing, and celebrating.
It's been great over the years to cross a few things off my lists. I've purchased a cool pants suit (at least I think it's cool!). I've become an avid reader. I've traveled to Italy. God and I smile when I get to cross something off. And I praise him for another dream realized - no matter how big or small.
I've learned it's important to have a record of these accomplishments - especially on days when I feel stuck in neutral, as though I'm moving nowhere. On those days, I look first to the things I've crossed off, which energizes me to find a new goal among everything that's left.
I've also learned it's important for us to have a record of our dreams - for the down days when dreams are elusive and the future doesn't seem to hold much promise. On those days I read every item on my lists and marvel at my creativity - for I know it is the fingerprint of God.
So join me already, will you? Sit down with three blank pieces of paper, a pen, and - most importantly - a big prayer to the Maker of dreams. Together you and he can find so many things for you to invest your life in besides seeking a spouse, struggling with single parenting, or dealing with a dating drought. It's amazing how much wider the world gets and brighter the future looks when you catch a glimpse of it through God's lens.