“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord and He shall bring it to pass.”  Psalm 37:4,5

“Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked. Do not further his wicked scheme.”  Psalm 140:8

“Dear friends, I urge you as foreigners and exiles to abstain from sinful desires which wage war against your soul”  1Peter 2:11

There is an interesting narrative going around today, that while it may not be new to our time, seems, at least to me, to be promulgated with a far greater fervor.  The narrative is that a good and proper goal in life is to do what is your dream and that would be as far as your vocation, your hobby(ies), truly most ever facet of your life.  Thus, fulfilling your dream is a proper overarching desire in your life.

This narrative is being played out in a very popular situation comedy that I watch, which I will freely admit is not a Christian themed or based show.  One of the main characters, up until the start of this past season, has had a dream of becoming an actor.  Like the myth of fame and fortune retold, this character comes from a Midwestern town, to Hollywood, to pursue that dream.  Alas, as the fable plays out, no matter how hard the character tries the dream has yet to come true.  As one might imagine the character, is poor, taking a restaurant job just to make ends meet as well as living on the generosity of friends.  Finally, this season, the character seems to abandon her dream to get a “real” job, earn a better living and “get on with her life”.  Yet inevitably, potential acting jobs present themselves and she is left struggling with the idea of pursuing her dream at the expense of her job.  The question becomes, has she wrongly sacrificed her dream career on the altar of worldly concerns.  If this were a Christian based show, what would be said about her faith?

Okay, Doug just what the heck does this have to do with anything, you may be asking?  This matters greatly to us I believe Dear Sisters and Brothers, because the church and people of faith are not immune to this narrative.  I have read, seen preached and even wondered myself about a concept out there that says; if you are a person of faith with a great dream, an overriding desire, God must have placed that dream in your heart so you should pursue it with almost fanatical fervor.  Also, if you’re not achieving that “God placed dream”, the problem is with you and your faith!

So from whence come our dreams?  As in most everything, I have not the wisdom to have an intelligent, faithful opinion on my own.  Yes, dreams are referenced in the bible; Joseph and Danial interpreted dreams, the prophets were often taught in dreams, Joseph, Mary’s husband, was warned to flee with Mary and Jesus to Egypt in a dream.  However, the placement by God of our life’s purposes and vocations in dreams is not a clearly stated or inferred process that I can find.  In fact, David dreamed of building a temple for God, but God told him that dream was in error.  One can not with certainty say whether Moses dreamed of being a shepherd but it is clear he held no dream of going to Egypt and freeing his people or leading them across the wilderness.  It is clear that Saul of Tarsus had no dream of preaching Christ’s gospel and starting churches all over the world as the apostle Paul.

However, what does appear to be consistent in The Word is the admonition that our dreams, our desires can be either good as well as evil.  That dreams and desires have the capability to turn us away from following Christ and Our Heavenly Father.

So how are we to know?  First and foremost, as in everything, it starts with the Lord.  What is our part?  I believe it starts out with humility, an openness to be led.  Indulge me please to give you a personal illustration.  From as early as I can remember, I was going to fly, be a pilot.  This was a dream prior to me accepting the Lord as my Savior and continued afterward.  I had every confidence in this dream and God’s place in it and my prayers were not in anyway an “if” but for success of when I started to fly.  Indeed, to teach me, God gave me the fruition of my dream and I started to fly.  Just as quickly, thankfully, he put a war in my soul, showing me flying was not His intent for me.  Thankfully, God won the war but I fought Him tooth and nail through the long process.  It was only with much pain from me and not from Him, that I was able to humble myself and cry out: Thy will be done.

I am still not completely there but He’s taught me to ask:  “Is it my dream, my desire or His plan?  Why do I want it; my glory or His?  Do I want to rely on my talent; my wisdom or, perhaps even in fear, step out to where I don’t know how or why, but only know Him?”

It seems to me it is about alignment.  Like a car, if my plans, my dreams, my desires are aligned with His; the path is straight and He smooths out the bumps.  If I try to force my plans, desires and dreams on Him or don’t take Him into account at all; then that misalignment will have me all over the place with mountains and canyons for obstacles.

Finally, blessedly, His plan will never lead to our destruction.  His plan never has unforeseen outcomes.  His plan is perfect; perfect for Him yes, but in His Mercy, perfect for us as well.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father we declare that You are God in Heaven and that Your Plans are perfect.  We also confess and ask forgiveness, Most Merciful Father, that we often forsake Your plans and substitute our own in their place.  Teach us to humbly come before You with our dreams and our desires, seeking alignment with You and Your Will, that then we will see those plans come to fruition.  That in Your Plans becoming our dreams, we would live lives that praise Your Holy Name.  In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen