This morning, clothed in the comfort of dewy fog and low clouds I ventured out of my warm, cozy bungalow to search my heart. Again I find myself nestled in the old familiar spot in my favorite coffee shop reading, soul-searching and again putting pen to paper. The reason that blogs are still unfamiliar to me and something that I have yet to really latch onto is because there is nothing more vulnerable than sharing with the world what is in your heart and mind. I'm much more of a journaler - loving the feel of the worn paper, the smell of the leather binding and the well-known feeling of penning something that is mine alone. But here I am - reaching out for connection. Willing to let you catch a glimpse of me, albeit small and (dare I admit) edited. Here is what is in my heart this morning. I fear that more often than not many of us have given up the desires and dreams of our hearts with the justification of busyness, laziness, inability, or unworth. I know that I have. Ideas and thoughts that were birthed within me years ago have been shoved aside in the pursuit of a better paying job or forgotten amidst the busyness of life. And yes...if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts. His desires become ours and we begin to want what He wants. He has placed in each of us certain talents, dreams, loves, passions, abilities and creativities to motivate us to each do something unique and radical for Him. To bring Him glory and to bring ourselves joy and fulfillment. To be honest - I gave up my dreams because it seemed as if they were never going to come true. I believed and hoped and prayed that certain things would come to pass...but as I waited and waited and waited and waited I slowly began to believe that the reason they weren't was because there was something wrong with me. I was defective. I was blemished. I was too sinful and unholy. God had forgotten about me. I'm still crawling out of this pit of destructive thought, my friends. Slowly...so slowly, He's refining my thinking and encouraging me to dream again.
1. To have a relationship with Jesus that is daily growing and maturing. To be able to hear His voice, to be sensitive to His leading and direction in my life. To put Him first in all things. To fall more in love with Him each day. To become better at intercessory prayer and in my own personal prayer life too. To radiate with the love, mercy, forgiveness, and joy that He gives me.
2. To be a loving, compassionate wife of much worth to her husband. To put our relationship first in our home, to grow together in wisdom, love and joy. To not shy away from debates and needed discussions. To make good communication, honesty, integrity, compassion, willingness to listen and love a part of our daily lives. To work toward common goals together. To pray together, learn together, challenge one another, and give selflessly of our minds, hearts, emotions, bodies, words, and actions. To encourage him and give him praise and respect in front of others. To be proud of him.
3. To be a nurturing, strong, forgiving, and gracious mother. To give grace and forgiveness when needed. To ask for forgiveness in turn. To discipline, train, educate, admonish, and protect my children. To teach them about Jesus, how much He loves them and teach them through example how to love Him too. I will love their father. I will respect him and protect his honor and authority as the head of our home. I will love my children with all my heart.
4. To be a knowledgeable, caring, edcated, well-rounded and efficient nurse. To be honest in all dealings with doctors, staff and patients. To be humble enough to admit mistakes and to ask for help when needed. To be compassionate and loving, even when I don't feel like it. To be able to help provide for my family and our needs. To become more educated and knowledgeable about my skill set and abilities. To find a particular area of nursing that grabs my attention and passionately pursue that. To be able to use my skills as a team player, leader, role model and teacher in my profession.
5. To travel, experience different cultures, worldviews, populations, and food. To sleep in a hut in Africa, to spend time in Paris - walking the streets with a bright red umbrella in the rain. To eat curry in India, pet a monkey in the Amazon, and wander aimlessly through Machu Pichu. To get sidetracked, lost, disoriented, frustrated, hopelessly enraptured, totally enthralled, and fall in love with other places. To be able to give time, money, and resources in efficient and meaningful ways. To work with organizations to help promote clean water, social justice, community development, and economic change.
6. To learn to play the piano better. To be able to sit down and improvise, make up something beautiful and new. To enjoy and love music in a new way. To have it seep into my soul and become a part of me. To be able to play for others' enjoyment and my own. To learn to play the acoustic guitar well, to make music with my husband, to sing, record songs, write music, and lean into the beauty that it embodies.
7. To be healthy - mind, body and soul. To be comfortable in my own skin. To dress well with class and style. To take pride in my appearance for myself and my husband. To be active, spend time outdoors, exercise regularly, put good food in my body, cook and clean my house regularly, always smell good and entertain regularly in my home. To regularly take time for myself, to focus on my needs once in awhile, to learn how to say "no" to things. Stop trying to fruitlessly please everyone.
8. To learn to paint and draw. To set up an area in my house that is reserved for creativity - splashes of color, loud music, fresh flowers, and lots of inspiration. To paint what I feel, vividly, candidly and just for the fun of expression. To have this be an outlet for my creatively wild side. To dance, love, laugh, cry, emote, and feel.
9. To ignite my passion for photography - to have a nice camera someday and some neat editing equipment. To use it generously and often. To not get bogged down with all the technical details but love it for what it is - the snapshot of a moment, a fleeting glimpse, a poetic expression, a memory not to be forgotten.
10. To never give up - no matter what crazy, difficult or heartbreaking circumstances may come. To trust God always as the author and perfector of my faith. To become a better listener, a better talker, a better prayer warrior, a more steadfast friend, a reliable employee, and a loving sister and daughter.
What can we do today about these dreams of ours? What are the things that are hindering us in our walk with God and in the realization of these passions and pursuits that He's placed within us? Dear friends - let's commit to pray for one another on this unsophisticated journey that we are on together. I pray for you - that the Lord would be near to you today, that you would be able to throw off the things that have caused you to lose sight of your worth and potential for greatness. You are each a beloved child of the King! Henri Nouwen once observed,
"Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unloveable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, "Well, that proves again that I am a nobody...I am no good, I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned." Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the 'Beloved'. Being the beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence." That is who we are, my friends. Beloved of the Lord. May you realize your worth and your dreams more fully today.