Of Cubes and Chaos: Paradigm Positioning 3- Dashed Dreams

   When I was in sixth grade I had a crush on a girl. She looked a lot like this. Carla Jean Stewart- the love of my life…, in fifth grade. Alas, it was not meant to be. She moved, I moved. Never saw her again. My dreams of a bright future with my precious blue-eyed blonde crush were never to be.
     Dashed dreams of childhood.
     Since then I have known many dashed dreams- some of them more devastating than others. But I recovered, mostly. Today they’re just an ancient memory. And I’ve learned something.
     Dreams are fun, fanciful, wonderful diversions from our realities. And it is good to dream them. (Most of them.) Some might even come true. Most, though, will hide in the back right corner of our minds and pop up later on in life. Like now.
     I don’t dream of young beautiful blondes anymore; actually, I married one! But she was a brunette by the wedding. I didn’t care. She was perfect for me! She was God’s gift to me. Still is. Who cares about hair color!?!
     Had I pined for my childhood crush I would have never met my wife. And if any of us hang on to a past love, dream, fantasy, etc., we will miss the better things our Father has in store for us. When I was first in ministry, I could see no other future for my life outside of the ministry’s opportunities for service. Little did I understand how I had adjusted my dreams to fit their realities, limiting both God and myself. What I am doing today is so far beyond who I was back then. What a surprise.
     The monkey on the vine image still holds true. Sometimes you have to let go of the last vine before you can reach out and grab the next one. Or, as we’re more apt to say around here- God is full of surprises…, don’t trust Him. And if you believe that I’ll send you Zac Efron’s cell number.
     Dashed dreams simply clear the way for you to move beyond your limited perspective to a more expansive, wilder, Christ-infused vision.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and watch your doors to be blown off.  [Proverbs 3:5-6. Sorta.]
     Dashed dreams are mere hints that you should be dreaming bigger, wilder, adventurous ways of God.
     Get with the program.

Honor God, honor people…, and watch out for flying doors,

Gary

NEXT— Paradigm Positioning 4: stepping up our game. 

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“When did doilies and your mother’s dishes become so important to you?”

Dr, Gary, Davis, despair, Hobbit, Dwarves, doilies, comfort zone, dreams,  It was with this question that Gandalf the Grey, Wizard of Middle Earth, challenged Bilbo Baggins of the Shire in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

            Bilbo had become comfortable, complacent, uncomplicated; retired, in some senses. He had grown at ease with the life he had come to enjoy in the Shire. Everything was as it should be; everything was in its place; life moved along within predictable perimeters. Then, in one evening, his world was launched into chaos and mayhem with the arrival of Thorin Oakenshield’s band of thirteen dwarves. With dwarves and dishes flying everywhere Gandalf arrives to bring a meager sense of order to it all. It is then that the Quest to retake the ancient Kingdom begins to take shape.

            It is often out of chaos and mayhem that our own lives begin to take shape. Tragedy cuts short our plans and dreams; broken trusts confound our relationships; fear grips our souls with spiritual and emotional stringency. There seems no place to go but…, actually, there just seems no place to go: we believe there is no way out of the quagmire that bogs us down in futility.

Thus do we give up.

            Do not despair. There is always a way to push your way through the fray and conquer. Some suggestions, if you will—

1.      Stop! Give your heart and mind time to recover from the shock.

2.      Ponder. Think through your own shortcomings as well as external causes of the recent events that plunged you into this devastation.

3.      Talk with wise friends; not just with drinking buddies who will commiserate with you. You need sound advice and reflection.

4.      Pray for guidance from above…, especially if you do not believe in a god. There just may be one who might surprise you. Boo!

5.      Do NOT watch excessive amounts of TV to escape. That will merely dull your senses and make you tired the next day.

6.      If you are married, talk with your spouse about what you are experiencing. This is the one person in the world who loves you the most. Time to open up.

7.      If the road ahead still seems muddled, seek professional advice. A life-coach, a professional job coach, a relationship therapist, a pastor, AA. You do not have to go this road alone.

8.      Recall your own network of friends. There usually is someone there with connections.

9.      Use an actual piece of paper and pencil (not pen) to clarify issues, draw connections, identify failures (your own & others), and to lay out your next steps. Do this alone first, then, with someone who knows you v-e-r-y well. BE HONEST.

10.  Let it all go on a walk, a run, a basketball court, Ultimate Frisbee, or a fine dinner out. Thinking about your situation ad infinitum will drive you crazy.

I make these recommendations because I have been where you are now in life. I have known the pain, the broken trusts, the tragedies, the loss of those I love, the personal failure. You can and will get through this— for your own sake, and for those you love.

For what it’s worth,

  Gary