I spoke at a little gathering this morning, in the basement of a little church in the belly of a little town in Iowa. The Griswold Optimist Club meets every Friday at 7 am. A hearty breakfast always accompanies the conversation and the updates and the meeting agenda, followed by the program.
After my grandma’s precious introduction, I stood up with the Optimist Creed as a backdrop to share with this little crowd. I spoke and they listened. Somewhere in the middle, as my words went out, I thought about the great tension of now and not yet – about being present in the moment while pushing toward something in the future.
Today is my last in Iowa before the Eastward adventure to NYC. I’m not as confident as I sounded as an 8th grader in the Optimist Oratory Contest, but I probably have more peace. There’s something safe about orating your dreams and something scary about living those words on paper. I learned to love speaking – to stand in front of a group and have the microphone; to arrange my ambition into words that hold the audience’s attention.
But the living out of those words – the dreams and hopes and ambitions that are prime content for speeches and blog posts and soap boxes – is a humble pursuit.
What if I fail?
What if I don’t ever do all those things I dreamed about in my winning 8th grade speech? What if I am never part of some sweeping humanitarian campaign that ends up in the news?
The older I get (boy, I never thought I’d say that), the more convinced I am that I don’t have any wisdom to share or advice to give. I write a lot of words, publish a lot of posts, scribble a lot of sentences… but often the questions repeat and the lessons are reruns.
This lesson that I am learning again on this Friday morning is simple: If something or nothing or everything comes of my dreams on paper, I am no more and no less a child of God. My inheritance is no more and no less heaven. My future is no more and no less the abundant life Christ promised in John 10:10.
Believing God for His promises means stepping forward in faith, knowing that the future does not depend on my performance. God is faithful – it’s just who He is. So, when He says He will complete the work and bind the wounded and mend the broken, I know that He will.
Obedience to Him as He redeems and restores might look like Paul’s encouragement to the people in Thessalonica, “to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” (Thessalonians 4:11-12)
Nobody writes speeches about that. Nobody ends up on a podium to encourage a simple, proper walking out of this life.
Having dreams is not bad. I love dreams. I remember my high school graduation announcement used a quote from Willy Wonka (who borrowed it from a poem by Arthur O’Shaugnessy), “We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams…”
I love dreams, but they are always held in the tension of today. Dreams are things that are not here in this moment, things that are often written on paper and read with confidence that the speaker can make them come true.
I don’t have that kind of confidence.
My confidence is in the One whose words create realities. He spoke and our reality came alive. He speaks and our reality stays alive. He never fails.
He is the dreamer. I just say, Amen.
let LOVE fly like cRaZy