On Storm Clouds and Rainbows
For the past couple of days, I have been practicing the art of silence before God. At the weekly small group Bible study I attend, we briefly discussed how important it is that we not only talk to God, but that we also make space in our prayer time to listen to him. Although I have heard this before and even taught this to others, it is not something I am always making an effort to do. But for the past couple of mornings, I have been making space for this. God has been speaking. Yesterday, as I sat before God, a sudden memory hit me out of the blue. A couple of months ago, somebody had told me that I can't walk around with a storm cloud over my head. They told me this because they were close enough to me to recognize that I have the tendency to guard myself, anticipating a future day up ahead when things might go wrong and I might get hurt. They even told me that sometimes we can create the very thing that we are afraid of by allowing fear to get the best of us. At times I do ask myself, what good thing am I shutting out of my life because I am too fearful to enjoy the moment?
I realize that dreaming has been a difficult thing for me to do. I started this year in a place of dreaming and hit some road bumps. When the road bumps came, the dreaming stopped. As I sat before the Lord, in my prayer time, I began to vent my frustrations to God. "Lord, I started off this year praying and standing in faith." Before I could continue, I heard God say to me, "And then you stopped and reverted back into the place of fear." I was speechless for a moment because I recognized it as truth. I realize that this has been a roadblock in my life. There have been several times in my life when I have stopped dreaming, as soon as I have hit some resistance. I have thrown in the towel on my capacity to believe in my dreams, as soon as I have encountered pain, delay and setbacks. In fact, I am ashamed to admit that many times I have bought the lie that it is better not to dream. If you don't dream too big, than you can never be too disappointed. I put a spiritual spin on it and have preached to others that I am practicing the art of contentment. Being happy in the present moment with where I am at and what I have. Although contentment and living in the moment are important, what I wasn't being honest with myself or others about was the fact that I had inwardly given up on my belief that the dream would ever come to pass. I thought that somehow I hadn't been given permission to dream and that doing so was selfish. God is teaching me that this is simply not the case.
Right now, in my life, I feel like God is inviting me into the adventure of dreaming with Him once more. God is showing me that at times, I have put up walls that I thought were for other people that were essentially blocking him out as well. God revealed to me that somewhere deep in there, I have believed that if I dream too big that he would disappoint me and be insensitive with my heart. Now, I realize that is a heavy thing to say, but in the spirit of transparency, I felt this was an important message to share because I know there is someone out there who is struggling with this as well. There is someone out there who has been crushed by life circumstances and has almost given up hope. There is someone out there who has convinced themselves that their dreams will never come true and it would be better not to have dreamt at all. I believe that God is inviting you into the process of dreaming with Him once more. Let your guard down. Let Him in.
God showed me something about walking around with a storm cloud over your head. Although we can be certain that this life will bring us trouble and hard times, we can't live in expectation of the storms. We have to anticipate the rainbow. With every storm, God brings the reassurance of his rainbow of promise. If we can live out our daily lives, anticipating the rainbow that each storm brings, I believe that we will able to dance in the puddles, instead of drowning in the rain. The storms we go through in life don't negate God's promises to us, just like natural storms don't negate the presence of the rainbow. In fact, we would never experience the beauty of a rainbow, if we never walked through the difficulty of a storm.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11)