We need it to thrive. How we source it is critical to its sustainability.
Last Thursday night I had the joy of addressing the Visionaries Gathering of Liberty Church NYC. During the Q&A, one of the many brilliant souls in the room asked an excellent question which I will attempt to paraphrase: What can we do to stay healthy/sane in the midst of all the discouragement that comes in hidden years?
The question is key. How do we live hope-filled about the future and realistic about today? How do we nurture dreams without denying disappointment? How do we keep visions alive and pure when our circumstances shout doom over their viability?
I have been thinking about something for years and addressed it briefly in print in 40 Days of Decrease, but I have hesitated to attempt to flesh it out it publicly until last week with these missional entrepreneurs.
In short, the church, in our sincere desire to help those struggling with disappointment, sends a message that the source of hope today is what might be “right around the corner” tomorrow. To the single we say, “Hold on. Your dream spouse is being prepared.” To the one aching after a miscarriage we say, “Hold on. God will give you another child.” To the one who moved to step into their dream job and had the job vaporize before they unpacked, we say, “Hold on. God has something better just around the corner.”
“Tolerate today because God will deliver something better tomorrow.” (And then we make a video of the few for whom this is true.) And what of the rest? What of the single still waiting? What of couple now seeking to survive their third miscarriage? What of the professional who feels they had to “settle” for work instead of living their dream?
Did God fail them? Did they fail God?
Or perhaps we have all sourced hope in the possible realization of dreams tomorrow instead of the certain presence of God today.
Personally, how do I stay healthy when my dreams are delayed? By working to ensure that my soul’s address for hope is in God and His love for me. My hope is sourced in His love today not the materialization of my dreams tomorrow. My hope is rooted in His Company not in my scenery.
Do I abandon my dreams? No. But neither do I make their future fulfillment the “why” of my hope.
I do not have to “hold on for what’s right around the corner” because Jesus is always holding me in this moment today.
God loves me—that’s a worthy address for hope…as well as for contentment and peace. Such a sacrificial Savior is trustworthy enough to steward my (and your) dreams.
Whatever our circumstances or scenery, today through Jesus we are known in heavenly realms as God’s beloved. Sinking deeply into that reality sources a sustainable hope and gifts our faith with roots and our dreams with wings.