You have to become an honest dreamer in order to have an honest thirst for God. Sometimes you have to take a bite of an appetizer in order to realize how famished you are. Sometime you have to take a sip in order to understand how real your actual thirst is.
I can hike for miles without taking a single drink from my Nalgene bottle. But the moment I stop and take a drink, I am parched. I was parched three miles back on the trail, but I just did not realize it. The point is: dream about the safari in Africa so you can recognize how much you were crafted for constant adventure; desire deeply to have children so you can remember how fully you were created to give life, in any form; dream big about the promotion, because you crave to embody the glory of God.
Will you get sullen if you don’t vacation this year? Bewildered if you don’t get pregnant? Will you get obsessive about your job? Maybe. But at least you will be alive, as well as face to face with what it is that holds your affection. Those dreams—they matter! But they just can’t provide life. Sometimes you just have to realize you are thirsty for even more than the best your mind can imagine. The beauty in this process, albeit risky, is that though the outcome of things we dream about is not within our control, the deeper things of God, the deeper beauty, is constant. As Pope John Paul II says:
“It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life.”
Jesus and a man were once discussing this very thing. The man wanted a miracle like manna, something he could be sure of. But Jesus knew he didn’t want enough. Jesus said, “Moses didn’t give bread from heaven. My father did. Now he offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” The man said the smartest thing any of us could ever say: “Sir, give us that bread every day of our lives.” Jesus is the dream we really want, anyway.
God wants your heart. The bitch wants you protected. God is not concerned that you clean up your lavish spending habits or binging in secret as much as he longs for you to bring to him you tender ache, confusion, and pain over your unmet desires.
An excerpt from my most recent book, Beauty and the Bitch: Grace for the Worst in Me.
Jan Meyers Proett has been a counselor for over twenty years and is the author of The Allure of Hope, Listening to Love, and Beauty and the Bitch: Grace for the Worst in Me. She has worked on behalf of exploited women internationally, but also loves the trails of Colorado, where she lives with her husband, Steve. Follow Jan at her Facebook author page, and her blog.