I’m living the dream. My only dream. If you told me in the past that I would be married before my 30s, I’d have breathed a HUGE sigh of relief, because I really only had 1 dream all my youth: to get married to the most wonderful man who would love, accept, and cherish me. That was it.
I watched all my friends get dates to middle school dances and high school proms, while I went alone and dreamed of my perfect guy. I saw college as a place to meet “the one” (he wasn’t there, much to my disappointment). I also went to get a degree, meet new friends, and “expand my horizons,” but I didn’t dream of a career or making a huge difference in the world; my hopes were nearly ALL set on getting married.
This dream to be married drove me to be BOLD – like giving that library worker guy my number unsolicited. It drove me to JUMP IN with both feet, even when it was very unwise – like when I shared my deepest thoughts and regrets with a guy I had only known and dated for a few weeks (that relationship was a huge, painful flop). It drove me to take BIG RISKS – like try out dating apps to see who might talk to me. It consumed my thoughts, my words, my emotions, my actions.
I made a mess in striving to make this dream come true. I filtered every single guy I met through my “dating-material filter.” I put pressure on myself to always be likable, available, and dateable. Worst of all, I pursued and prolonged unhealthy dating relationships. In the aftermath, I was left to sort through spiritual confusion, emotional wounds, and memories I wish I hadn’t made.
Thankfully, God is good, and He was able to redeem my foolishness in pursuit of this dream. He knew the desires of my heart, and once I began to ask Him to purify my desires and align them with His heart and will, He began to help me navigate this all-consuming dream. The season after my last breakup was an awesome one – I was entrenched in the book of Romans and consumed by my study of grace and truth. God gently urged me to read His Word and learn His voice again, and He graciously brought me something that had eluded me – peace and joy in spite of my unmarried-ness.
In rediscovering God and His Word, I rediscovered who I was made, which was NOT one half searching for her missing piece, but rather one whole person whose wholeness has always been founded in the richness of God and His Spirit in me. The dream abided, but underneath a layer of peace at God’s Sovereign wisdom that I’d never grasped before.
It was in that season of rediscovery that I met Cody. We knew pretty quickly that we wanted to spend our lives together, exploring the world and following Jesus each step. We had our first date in September of 2017, we were engaged in June of 2018, and consequently married in November of the same year. Being married to Cody is awesome – REALLY awesome. We love being together, we serve at church together, and we make an awesome team. He loves, accepts, and cherishes me so incredibly well. Sometimes I still gotta pinch myself to know it’s real.
The dream is realized. I’m living in it. I am content. I’m incredibly grateful to be married to the most humble, servant-hearted man I’ve ever met. I am right where I’ve wanted to be for a very long time.
I’m happy and content now; that’s the whole goal of life, right? God finally gave me what I always wanted… how do I approach him now?
My pastor recently shared this prayer at the end of one of his sermons. It’s still ringing in my ears.
Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
– attributed to Sir Francis Drake –
When our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little… I’m starting to feel disturbed. I’m starting to think my dream was too narrow, asking too little of a God who can do SO much. I’m starting to awaken to the fact that there is more at stake in this world than my happiness. I’m starting to wonder what kind of God-sized eternal-focused things I may have pushed away in my pursuit of my one dream.
I’m discontent with my contentment is that I know there is more that God is doing in this world than making dreams come true like some cosmic genie. God’s Word illustrates that my purpose is not to just live happily here on earth. That’s the dream the world wants to sell me – the better, comfier, happier life. That, however, isn’t the life Christ called His people to, nor is it the one He modeled.
If I truly want to be named among the followers of Christ, I have to come to terms with the reality that I’m not meant to simply live comfortable and content in my marriage, career, and community, because this is not the kingdom of God. Jesus Himself says in Matthew 6 that we’re to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness;” His kingdom should be prioritized above my happiness, comfort, success, everything.
The kingdom of God is being built right now – outside the walls of the house where I live with my husband, on the edges of society, in the uncomfortable, dangerous, unkind, wounded world. I’m called to be an active part of the process, in continually discovering God and faithfully guiding others to do the same. The vision of God’s kingdom should be the foundational dream that drives me to be bold, to jump in with both feet, to take risks.
This is a dream that cannot and will not fail. God’s Word assures me that His kingdom is coming – He’s already started building it! This is a dream I don’t accomplish by my own effort or striving – God is the One who will accomplish it. He’s able to do far more than I could ask or imagine. This is a dream that does more than just make me happy – it affects the eternal joy of lots of people. Catching God’s vision for the world means pursuing the biggest dream and watching God put His love and power on display to the greatest extent.
I have learned in this pursuit of a dream that God Himself is the best gift. My hope of being loved, accepted, and cherished – which I believed would only come in the form of a husband – has been granted exponentially more in the fullness of God’s love. THAT gift is what He calls me to share with others – He has that same love for every one of my 8 billion neighbors on this planet. If they’re anything like me, they’re desperate for it. What a dream to be able to share that love with them.