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What do you do with dreams that are broken? unfulfilled? maybe even ‘wrong’ dreams?
What do you do when you come face-to-face with the reality that your dreams are not God’s dreams?
1 Corinthians 13:11a When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. (GWT)
I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to be rich ~ all doctors are. I wanted to be important and respected and honored ~ doctors get all that. I wanted a big house with lots of horses and a garden and a ton of adopted children ~ and as a doctor I would be able to have all that.
1 Corinthians 13:11b When I became an adult, I no longer used childish ways. (GWT)
I spent 3 years of college pretending I was going to be a doctor. I had my first child, worked a year as a Certified Nurse Aide, and taught a vacation bible school for 5th graders. I decided being a doctor wasn’t me. I didn’t do well in Chemistry (a lack of effort, not ability – but a good excuse to quit).
I didn’t want the life of a doctor (on call, weekends, holidays); and I didn’t want to work so hard to clean a huge house, manage horses and children, and grow a garden (I have a brown thumb anyway).
These were all childish dreams – dreams I gave up as an adult ~ to be an English teacher.
I spent another 3 years of college getting a degree in English education. I was not excited about English – I often felt out of place because I didn’t eat, sleep, and breathe literature. There are many, many ‘staples’ of English literature that I have not read and have no desire to read.
But I wanted to teach.
I loved preparing lesson plans (I’m an obsessive planner) ~ I wanted to influence teens like my best teachers had influenced me ~ I was good at English (and math and science and history) ~ I wanted the life of ease teachers have (weekends, summers, and holidays OFF). I thought I could be a better mother as a teacher than as a doctor because I’d have more time with my kids.
1 Corinthians 13:12 a & c Now we see a blurred image in a mirror … Now my knowledge is incomplete.
I am jobless at the moment. I’m questioning all I’ve ever wanted ~ thought ~ dreamed …
I don’t want a blurred image in a mirror.
I don’t want to drag myself off to a job that is not what I like to do,
or am passionate about doing,
or am sure that it is what God wants me to be doing.
I want to ‘see very clearly’ (12 b). I want to clearly see His image reflected in the mirror when I look at myself.
When someone looks into my eyes, I want them to see Jesus. To see Who He is to me: love, peace, mercy, grace. To see what He can be to them.
I want to ‘have complete knowledge [of God] as God has complete knowledge of me.’
I want to know His dreams for me (at least the next step) ~ I want to know His heart for others (what of Him do I need to reflect to them?) ~ I want Jesus.
1 Corinthians 13:13 So these three things remain: faith, hope, and love.
Faith ~ He’ll show me the next step; He’ll walk it with me; He’ll provide for me as I go;
Hope ~ He’ll use even me; I do have a purpose here – an impact to make; I can reflect Jesus clearly;
Love ~ love God, love others.
But the best one of these is LOVE.
Why is love the best? I think because it is the only one we’ll need ~ experience ~ have ~ use in heaven.
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods. His faithful love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords. His faithful love endures forever.
4 Give thanks to Him Who alone does mighty miracles. He gave me a new job in October 2008, 3 days before it was announced that the plant where I worked was closing. His faithful love endures forever.
5 Give thanks to Him Who made the heavens so skillfully. [I have never been caught in a stormy situation during my hour drive to and from work]. His faithful love endures forever.
6 Give thanks to Him Who placed the earth among the waters. [He controls the snows, the rains, the temperatures]. His faithful love endures forever.
7 Give thanks to Him Who made the heavenly lights—His faithful love endures forever.
8 the sun to rule the day, His faithful love endures forever.
9 and the moon and stars to rule the night. His faithful love endures forever.
10 Give thanks to Him Who [kept me safe driving the Tulsa Motor Speedway (HWY 169) every school day for 3 years]. His faithful love endures forever.
11 He brought [me through the stress of three years of temporary teaching contracts]. His faithful love endures forever.
12 He acted with a strong hand and powerful arm [to make sure I had a job for three years – even to the point of creating “stimulus money”]. His faithful love endures forever.
13 Give thanks to Him Who [kept the storms and bad weather from me; Who kept me supplied with a running vehicle]. His faithful love endures forever.
14 He led [me] safely through, His faithful love endures forever….
15 Give thanks to Him Who led [me to the realization that I’m not on the path He intends for me]. His faithful love endures forever.
17 Give thanks to Him Who struck down mighty [barriers and strongholds in my life]. His faithful love endures forever……
21 God gave [me His grace, mercy, love, SELF] as an inheritance—His faithful love endures forever……
23 He remembered [me] in [my] weakness [of sin, of selfishness, of not being faithful in the small things, of being proud]. His faithful love endures forever.
24 He saved [me from myself]. His faithful love endures forever.
25 He gives food to every living thing [I can take that off my to-do list; He’s got it covered]. His faithful love endures forever.
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven. His faithful love endures forever.
I love You, Lord, and I lift my voice, to worship You. Oh my soul, rejoice!
Take joy, My King, in what You hear. May it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear!
Beckah Shae is one of my all-time favorite singers. I love her little scripture snacks, too.
Enjoy this video from her about 1 Corinthians 13:
So, here’s my application of 1 Corinthians 13:
4 Love is patient with my students and my children and kind to my Punny Geek husband. Love is not jealous of other believers’ relationship with Jesus or with others or boastful of what I do well or proud of the work GOD is doing in my children 5 or rude to my family when I don’t get my way. It does not demand its own way as the only way. It is not irritable with interruptions or at family, and it keeps no record of being wronged no matter who hurt me or when I was hurt. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice even if the person irritates me but rejoices whenever the truth wins out and life is finally fair. 7 Love never gives up on myself or those I love, never loses faith in my God and His amazing, all-powerful, Abba Daddy-ness, is always hopeful for His imminent return and my gracious transformation, and endures in HIM through every circumstance no matter what.
I’ve already failed at some of this – but God loves me – He’s not surprised – and I’m not giving up.
of these is LOVE. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us this, and I’ve known this all my life. This is a commonly quoted scripture, even currently being used on the DIY network for a commercial about marriages and construction.
It recently became much more clear to me. I attended a Spiritual Dimensions Weekend retreat – a time for me to get alone with Jesus and listen to Him. I came with a specific agenda, questions I wanted answered: do I stay or do I go? where do I go? when do I go? what is the plan? And I wanted details, timelines, everything.
I’ve thought of becoming involved in linguistics; I’ve thought about getting a formal education in God and the Bible to be able to encourage my Christian family; my pastor has been a sermon series about faith.
Obviously, once I thought about it, I realized I wasn’t trusting God to be in control. However, at the time, Jesus took all that in stride, addressing my control-freak tendencies while assuring me of one thing: the greatest of these is LOVE. Here is what I had always overlooked in chapter 13:
1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels [IF I WAS A LINGUIST], but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy [IF I ENCOURAGED PEOPLE], and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge [AN EDUCATION & GOD’S DETAILS], and if I had such faith that I could move mountains [AS MY PASTOR WAS ENCOURAGING], but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
God’s response to my demand of details and timelines was this: I love you. Love others. IF I don’t love others, I’ll be fingernails on a chalkboard; I’ll be worth nothing; I’ll have accomplished nothing. Basically, my life will have been wasted and useless.
OUCH! I would hate to stand before my Creator and explain to Him why I wasted the life He gave me – why I had allowed this gift of life to become useless.
I can’t do this. I won’t do this. So, let’s make it applicable to my reality (to be continued).