Well...I've sat down to write several times lately on several different topics and have just been unable to put my thoughts together for some reason. My mind has just been too preoccupied to really focus on any one thing. I suppose it's primarily due to my busy schedule, mostly revolving around my kid's sports schedules and work related items. I really enjoy the busyness with the sports. As I've said before, one of my greatest pleasures in life is to watch my children compete in their various sports and activities. Watching them pursue their passions using the gifts God gave them (whether it be sports, dance, or anything else) puts a big ol' smile on my face. It's that pesky work thing that just keeps rearing its ugly head and getting in the way, but I digress.
Sunday night my wife and I had one of those amazing conversations with our teenager about pursing your dreams and fulfilling God's calling on your life. As with most great conversations, we didn't start out to talk about this, the conversation just sort of evolved. You see, my son (13 and in 8th grade) has a dream of playing football for the University of Missouri, or at the least a division 1 college. Most of us at his age, probably had similar aspirations. Is this a realistic dream? I have no idea. He's an excellent athlete with a great work ethic, so who knows what God has in store for him. But that's not really the point. As we were talking and discussing all the possible options he could have for college and sports, I noticed a hint of disappointment in his face as he said, " but it probably won't happen." It's that moment when you see the innocence and hopefulness of youth replaced with the realization that life doesn't always turn out the way we would like.
We both, of course, encouraged him to pursue his dreams no matter what obstacles appear in his path and to never give up on a dream. I believe that God has given him this desire for a purpose. We may not know what that purpose is yet or exactly how things will turn out, but God has placed that desire there for a reason and it could take him in many different directions. In addition, I firmly believe that the plans God has for us are far greater than anything we could imagine ourselves. It's a shame that as we grow into adulthood, we too often give up on those dreams much to easily and settle for the easier path instead of trusting God and experiencing all He has for us. If we would just trust Him and not give up, I think we would be surprised at what God will do in our lives. Now that doesn't mean that we shouldn't prepare our son for the possibility that his dream may not happen in the way he has imagined it, that would be irresponsible as parents. But at the same time, it doesn't mean that he should give up on his pursuit of that dream. It just means that he should be open to wherever God takes him along that path. As we align ourselves with God and are in communion with Him, our desires align with His and we are able to do and achieve much more than we ever imagined in the first place. It's at that point that we truly fulfill God's calling on our lives.
I think we too often as Christians get focused on just surviving this life in anticipation of heaven, when instead we should realize that this part of the journey is meant to be full of joy as well. Yes, there are struggles here that we won't have in heaven and I'm not saying we shouldn't look forward to heaven, but we should view our earthly struggles as part of the process of growing closer to God. I'm always amazed when I talk with people that have visited third world countries and they come back talking about how the Christians there have this indescribable joy in spite of their dire circumstances. These people have nothing and yet have not given up hope. I believe it's because their hope is not in themselves and their own abilities or circumstances, but in the God of the universe. My prayer for my children and for everyone is that each of us would pursue the dreams God placed in our hearts, not relying on our own strength, but on God's and in doing so discover the joy of living in communion with Him. Eternity doesn't begin when we die, it began when we were born.