“…But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14, ESV).
A few years ago, I finally qualified for and ran the Boston Marathon, a long-term dream accomplished. Unfortunately, I injured myself and barely finished with a very slow time. Two years later, I was strong again and felt I should try again for another Boston and a better time. The dream awakened.
I trained and was doing very well until injuries came, one after the other. The worst part of training was the time it stole from my family every week, not only the running, but the fatigue that followed.
Finally, today I gave it to the Lord. I was feeling great and planned a long run. I told the Lord, “If I do not run well today, I give the dream to you and put the marathons behind me.” Everything was perfect. The weather was cool; my legs were strong; I kept the pace. At mile seven, I pulled a hamstring and walked it home.
Years ago, I had thought I would be a missionary for decades. But after a short stint in Nigeria, we were home for family health reasons. I was devastated to have lost my mission in life. For many years thereafter, I focused on trying to get back to Africa. After seven years of great longing, God clearly spoke to me, “That was not your mission; it was mine. Let it go.” And I did.
Each of us live with dreams in our hearts: dreams for ourselves and dreams for those we love.
Dreams are important. Eleanor Roosevelt put it, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Most of our dreams are far more significant than running another marathon. Some are given to us by God and demand our very all.
Some we invent for ourselves and into them we pour our entire being. It may be a dream for our practice, a dream for some great mission, a dream for a child’s success, a dream for retirement. All such dreams are important—but not all dreams are God’s will.
Sometimes it is best to let the dream go and put it behind us.
How do we do that when, by definition, our dreams have hooks in our hearts that must tear lose when we put them aside?
The only way I know is to hand them to Jesus.
Thank you for the dreams you have placed in my heart. Let me grasp tightly to yours and leave my own behind me.