Monday, March 3, 2008

For the Dreamers

I love to daydream and I’ll admit it’s a pleasant diversion from reality, but sometimes I get so set on a dream that when it slips away, I fail to see it was only a castle in the sky—a mere desire—and not a true conjecture of the future. Have you been there too?

In her book, A Path Through Suffering, Elisabeth Elliot gives her famous ‘open hands’ illustration, saying that open hands demonstrate the posture of surrender – a willingness to hand over what God wants to take and a willingness to receive whatever he chooses to place back in them. Clenched fists, closed tightly over our precious, hoarded dreams, don’t demonstrate an attitude of open surrender! I think we set too much store in our dreams. A good majority of us probably even cry when our treasured dreams turn to nightmares and slide out of our grasp. I know I certainly have!

Lately I’ve been taking even more comfort in the power of prayer and its gradual effect on my way of thinking. There was one dream in particular that I’d been treasuring for many months. At least once a day and sometimes more often, I would present my dream to the Lord and ask Him to reveal my motives for wanting it—then, I asked Him to close the doors that needed to be closed and only open the ones He wanted me to walk through. Lastly, I begged for the ultimate decision to be clear and easy. Every day, I dragged this burden to the throne of grace, until I got a long-awaited phone call. Let me say, I have never heard a door slam so loudly—I almost jumped! And not only did the door slam, the key turned decisively in the lock. Don’t you love those clear paths?!

I’ll admit I cried. I walked blindly through my room, seeing nothing, only saying “thank you, Lord” because I got exactly what I asked for—an easy decision. The sorrow wasn’t any less, but the length of mourning definitely was! Sorrow can’t last if we pray “Thy will be done” and really mean it. That simple prayer may not change our desires right away, but it will definitely adjust our outlook on the situation and ease the pain of the ‘acceptance stage’.

So, fellow dreamers, dream on and relish the pleasure, but remember to hold your dreams in open hands—wide open—ready and accepting of God’s plan, which is ultimately the perfect dream.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love this! I am familiar with that exmaple of elliots' and you did agreat job explaining it.

Sarah said...

your writing is always been such a blessing throughout the years. Thanks, Sarah

Zeke Pearson said...

Where I can find the Elizabeth Eliot book with that example? I'm not familiar with it.

Jenn Joshua said...

Hi Zeke,

Thanks for asking! The Elisabeth Elliot book that gives the "open hands" example is, "A Path Through Suffering" --

In APTS, Elisabeth asks some hard questions about the nature and sovereignty of God...("why did He allow this to happen to me?!") and offers comfort and assurance to those who are hurting.... I've found it especially useful in sending to friends who are undergoing a trial of some sort -- it's been a great comfort and encouragement to me too when I've found myself in those situations...

I whole-heartedly recommend it!

Chloe Masters said...

I bought the book, tahnks, Jenn! I can't wait to read it.

Jenn Joshua said...

Oh good! I hope you enjoy it!