My husband is currently a youth pastor in a small town. Our church has 6 campuses all in different areas on or surrounding the Kitsap peninsula. There are a few times each year all campuses get together.
One such event is High School Fall Camp.
There are a couple things you would really only know about fall camp if you attended as a high school girls’ leader (or maybe have a high school daughter).
1. Apparently, there is always a reason to wash, dry and curl your hair. Even whilst camping.
2. High schoolers don’t sleep as much as preschoolers. (Okay, maybe other people knew that, but my life is pretty much cake with an 8p bedtime, so I am always underprepared for the 4 hr sleep nights of camp.)
So, anyway. Fall Camp this year had the theme of DREAMER. To be completely honest, the theme was inspired by hearing a sweet song and making a fun graphic, but God always has a pretty significant plan, even when we don’t!
It was an amazing weekend during which students were challenged that their dream isn’t about them. They may believe God gave them a dream, but if it doesn’t ultimately help heal the world, it’s not His dream for them. One of my favorite take-aways was Sunday morning when the whole camp was asked who their dream was about. Who is a specific person that God’s dream for you could bring healing to?
That was all amazing. Lives were changed. Families gained renewed hope as their high schoolers came back inspired.
But for me . . .
There was something talked about that stuck with me. This question: what does it mean to be a dreamer?
When we were kids, we all had dreams. Some of them were utterly illogical and even impossible, but we didn’t care. We just dreamt.
What has been puzzling me since that weekend is this series of questions: When did we stop dreaming? Or better, WHY did we stop dreaming? How did dreaming become so difficult?
We all have reasons we stop dreaming. Disappointment, time passing, “real life”, deep and true loss.
I help to lead a study for the intern women at newlife. It’s so fun! Picture this: me and some of my closest friends sitting in a room with a group of 17-23 yr olds, hopefully inspiring them to not screw up their lives the same way we did – new ways are acceptable 😉 – all while desperately praying that they fall deeply in love with Scripture and the Creator-Redeemer God that designed life itself in a way that will alter their trajectory for life. (no big deal, right?)
Right now, in the study the girls are going through a book called “Sense of Purpose.” The goal of the very short book is to write a mission statement for your life.
When I was an intern I did this exercise and remember loving it. So, as the good leaders we are . . . we are all going first. I spent some time going through the book and really considering what was on the pages.
Then it got super awkward for me.
I felt like it was written to an 18-year-old with nothing but future ahead of them and nothing but childhood behind.
It’s like I’ve been trained in my head that dreams are for the inexperienced. Like, life-missions are plotted before any life even happens.
As we get older, I’d like to believe we gain wisdom. When I approached this book I was so excited because I expected that life-experience will have changed my perspective and clarified my purpose.
But, as I read through and responded to the big life-thought questions, I actually felt a bit crippled by life experience. Like, maybe even as young as I still am, that my time had passed.
Dreams change as you become.
Since I spent time dreaming last, I have become a wife. I have become a mother. I have been a stay-at-home mom. I have become a full-time working mom.
I was having a hard time putting down on paper what MY dreams were. What MY purpose was. I am comfortable with my giftings and submitted to however God sees fit to use them. BUT, I just kept getting distracted in my head by my kids and what I want for them.
Then, I had a moment. Do you ever have moments? When it feels like the whole world moves to slow motion around you?
When I realized that my dreams have not stopped, they have shifted.
Now, when I dream, I don’t dream about the things I will do to be great or even to make a great impact. I dream about the day when my kids are grown and have built families of their own. I dream about opening my door and my home to that fullness of family and love and peace. I dream about teaching them the love of our great God through the mess of life. I dream about the richness in the family God is building in my home.
I dream about what THEY will do. I dream about the people THEY will become. I dream about the impact the crazy gingers fighting downstairs will have on this messy, beautiful world.
So, I dream about being an open door for them. An open door to the safety and chaos of the Gospel at work in their lives.
I want to live my life in such a way that everyone I meet knows my door is open to them. The door to my heart and my home and the peace I have found in knowing Christ. So that all will know that Grace is open to them. That my Jesus gave everything so that anyone who seeks Him, who knocks on the door of His awesome plan, is welcomed as family, home.
PS. Now that I’m done thinking out loud, you can watch this and enjoy the moment: Love is an Open Door