I never thought I'd say this!
Have you ever had a moment like that? Where you are maybe sitting in a conversation or typing a message and all of a sudden you think to yourself: "I never thought I'd say this".
Maybe it's a mom line like: "I never thought I'd say this but...I drugged my kid to get some sleep last night" or "you can't lick those handrails" or maybe that classic parent line: "...because I said so!". Man! That makes me think of my childhood - my dad used to say that to us all the time and every time my brothers and I (yes I have three older brothers) would get more and more annoyed. Because I said so is not a valid answer to a question. But maybe you've said something like that and after been like, whhhhhat - I never thought I'd say that.
I have realised I have some silly ones, like: "I never thought I'd say this but.....I love getting into a bed with new sheets on" or "I love it when my washing basket is empty". The older I get, the more I begin to realise how often I say things and then think: "I never thought I'd say that!" ha! And maybe more so than ever now we're saying things like: I never thought I's day this but...I miss hugs, I miss precedented times, I miss my people...
I'm sure we've all had a moment like that. And I have been saying it (and thinking it) a lot lately. It seems to pop up in different conversations and I'm becoming more aware of it. I was having a conversation with two incredible business people, and we were speaking about business and entrepreneurship (you can check it out here). I mentioned that I am an entrepreneur - and after saying it I immediately followed it with: I never thought I'd say that! You see, my life is actually full of "I never thought I'd say that" kind of moments! How about you? If you start to think about it?
It might be because my life looks nothing like I expected it to - in fact the year 2020 always seemed so far away. That classic five year plan - although I think all of us were sitting in 2015 with a five year plan that looks COMPLETELY different now - cue COVID haha! I think we were all off on that one! But here's the thing - I thought by the age of 31 my life would look different to what it currently does (yes I had a birthday and am now officially IN my 30's 😳 ).
Whenever I think of expectations I am reminded of the quote by William Shakespeare: "Expectation is the root of all heartache." I think that sometimes expectations are good - but I often have unrealistic expectations and that seems to be a source of shame and disappointment for me. Because I expect something or I feel others expect of me, when I don't reach or exceed that I feel a sense of shame and disappointment. Like a bit of a failure. I am not sure if you can find yourself there too?
At times it feels like we expect life to be formed with a cookie-cutter method. And what I mean by that is we look at things like they should be the same for all of us. The normal. The usual. How it's supposed to be. We can get upset, offended even, when people don't meet our expectations. I mean, it's not their fault. Sometimes we have unfair expectations that we place on people and even God. We expect him to move in a certain way.
I think sometimes we can have a romantic vision for our today and even our future - I know I can. Expecting things or experiences to look a certain way. It makes me think of Joseph (you can read about him in Genesis 37-50). He had dreams alright, but man oh man, I don't think He expected them to be outworked the way that they were. But God is faithful to his promises - even if the dream looks different in the end. I think we can all be honest and say we have a dream or dreams for our lives. But there is always this weird, uncomfortable, transformation gap between the dream and the reality. There is pain, heartache, joy and purpose in the journey. But reality is always harder than the dream.
However, I love looking back to see what God has done in my life - that far exceeds anything I could've dreamt! I never thought I'd say that...I studied marketing, have taught in different colleges, have been a barista, started a company, learnt true community, written some crazy strange articles. The list goes on and on. My life marks a journey of: "I never thought I'd say that!"moments and maybe yours too? Or maybe your journey is only just starting. And it's starting with that simple and brave yes!
Although there are lots of dreams that I still have and promises that I am waiting on God for, I'll never forget what John Mark Comer had to say about it: "even if I don't have the dream, I have the dream giver! ". Perspective is everything.
So maybe you feel like some dreams have died in this season, or that God is not at work. When we dream I think we should expect it to be harder than we realise but also know that it will be better than we can imagine. IF we persevere and continue to trust in God and his timing.
Here is a silly story that I feel so dumb to share - but it's something small and yet incredibly significant for me and maybe it'll encourage you or give you some hope today. As a child, I was always dramatic (my family will tell you). I was called a drama queen often and have always loved to talk (although struggle to feel like I have a voice). From a young age I dreamt of being a tv presenter. I feel embarrassed even typing this (my cheeks are red and not just cause it's winter haha). I loved the idea of presenting and having conversations with people. Now while I applied to do drama at varsity - this was not considered a worthy career choice and so alas I went in another direction. But still had this silly little girl dream inside...
And then Covid hit and our church started doing things differently and everything was online. An incredible team built a studio and I am blown away every time I walk into it because it almost feels surreal that they were able to do that. It is excellent and beautiful and you'd think it was a real tv studio if you saw it. A friend asked me to join him for a Sunday Evening show called Sunday Night Live and I've had the opportunity to be involved ever since living out a childhood dream I had long forgotten about! How kind is God. I don't take it lightly and realise what a privilege it is to be apart of something like this!
I have realised that although life looks different - God is always surprising me with the journey. And the dreams that unfold that I am at times not even aware of. Where I haven't said anything to anyone but...God knows. He knows where you are too friend and although you may feel forgotten now or unsure or just trying to see through the fog, God still knows!
So all that to say I would love to encourage you to do something with me. Give God your desires, your open, honest, transparent self, not for the dream but the dream giver. Give God your trust - for His will to be done. And I think along the way we'll find that while the journey is one of transformation, God will continue to surprise us - if our expectations are rooted in faith and in the Father.
Give yourself permission to dream today and maybe down the way you'll say things you never thought you would!