Written by Hannah Schneider.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. -Isaiah 55:8-9
Since the day I could remember, I was a dreamer, constantly thinking up and acting out fanciful stories that gleamed with good intentions and idealistic principles. And as with any true dreamer, there sooner or later came the stark realization that reality just never seemed to measure up to the way that I perceived the world should be, leaving me in a constant state of slight disappointment. The truth is we live in a fallen world, and to put it bluntly, no matter who you are, reality bites.
Us dreamers tend to get caught up in our own inner fantasies, imagining what it will be like when we are finally at the university or career of our dreams, or when we will at last meet the guy or girl of our dreams. We dream of the kind of students, citizens, spouses, and parents we will be, how fulfilling our careers will be, and what it will feel like when our dreams finally come to fruition. But I want you to think back to a time when you felt disillusioned because of unmet expectations. Married life wasn’t as romantic as you thought it should be...your dream career wasn’t as fulfilling or flexible as you’d imagined...or you didn’t turn out to be the brilliant student you’d hoped to be. It can be challenging when wrestling with the let down of unmet expectations. But as with any challenge, there is a unique opportunity to grow your perspective and understanding of God’s ways. And God’s ways can be rather mysterious ways indeed.
There will come a day when you realize that God’s number one agenda at the moment isn’t for you to be happy or acquire worldly success...sorry. God cares about our wellbeing, but His dream for us is ultimately to become more Christ-like, and sometimes that looks like God letting us be frustrated or held back for the sake of character growth. Paul says in Romans 5 that we should rejoice in our sufferings, not because suffering is pleasant but because it produces endurance, character, and finally hope.
So when does this blog get to the encouraging part? My encouragement is not that following Christ will be easy. My encouragement is not that living according to your God given purpose will be comfortable or convenient. My encouragement is not that your future endeavors will always be grandiose or glamorous. My encouragement is not that you are 100% equipped or even emotionally ready for what God has for you next. My encouragement is this:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28
When things don’t go as planned or God isn’t getting stuff done on the timeline you think He should abide by, remember that God’s ways are higher than ours. Let your dreams be that God would use you, in whatever way He sees necessary and right for that stage of life. Dream big and dream because it feels marvelous, but also surrender your dreams to the one who has called you according to His purpose. When reality bites, or the actuality of living out your dreams falls painfully flat, put your hope in the only one who has the power to redeem and create a reality more perfect than even you can imagine.