Dream A Little Dream
Things have been unusually quiet around here. With Alyssa and Cyrus off at Camp Fuego for five weeks, Matt going back and forth to Louisiana, Amber and her family on their annual trip to Florida and other neighbors busy with summer plans, it feels a bit like a ghost town. I don’t love the quiet, but on a positive note, it has given me some time to reflect and recalibrate.
Here we are halfway into the year already, the perfect time to take an honest assessment of where we are and where we’re going. I’ve been reading through old journals on these lazy midsummer days and there is a blazing truth staring me in the face. As I’ve scribbled my dreams and hopes over months and years of pages, there’s a running theme that tells me who I am.
My dreams have always been about building community. About creating spaces where people live and work, where we share meals and laughs and struggles and life takes on a richer meaning because we’re doing it together. For years, Darron and I have dreamed of building a collection of cute little houses with front porches and shared spaces meant to draw people out. We’ve searched for the right place to plant this dream, everywhere from Pilot Point to North Carolina to Belize.
I was put on this earth to be a builder and a gatherer, to create spaces that invite others to find belonging and become who they were created to be.
But right now… right now the dream is right where we are. It begins with our 1920s bungalow and the house next door where Alyssa, Matt & Cyrus live. It extends to our neighbors on all sides and the space we share in the middle. I am envisioning converting our attics into livable lofts so we have more space for friends to come and stay for a few nights or maybe a year, bringing their friends around, ever expanding our growing community. I picture future grandkids, along with Toby & Amber’s future adopted kiddos, playing in a common yard, of course, outlined by a white picket fence. I imagine many more shared dinners at the big farm table, music and s’mores at the firepit, neighbors wandering by and being drawn in. Because this is not a closed community; it is wide open.
I have a similar vision for my counseling practice and our restored 1906 office building on the Celina square. I long to see people gathering inside those old brick walls, somehow finding hope and inspiration in the lingering conversations and a felt presence of the divine. Maybe our lobby becomes a micro coffee brewery or the small backyard space is transformed into a charming, hometown wine and live music venue.
Beyond this, I desire to connect with the world in a larger sense. To foster a community of bighearted Texans who are life support to a Christian school in the Middle East… and them to us. To host more Backyard Gatherings or similar events because I believe these are true investments in eternity.
So this is who I am. I was put on this earth to be a builder and a gatherer, to create spaces that invite others to find belonging and become who they were created to be.
And yet. … here’s the thing. I’m also realizing my dreams are strangely intertwined with my fears and annoyances and thus they become my biggest challenges. The very things that revitalize me can also wear me out. Too many people around. Not enough alone time. Too many sad stories and broken hearts. It’s just all so messy.
And so the tendency, the temptation, is to set the dreams aside and do just enough. Put myself out there just enough to maintain some semblance of a full life … while really I’m holding back, keeping my deepest heart safe and boundaried and untouchable.
Josh reminded us in a recent sermon of an oft-forgotten truth, which is that rarely, if ever, in Biblical history did “God dreams” come easily. When God gave someone a dream, it was generally followed by long periods of trying and testing, during which the dreamer was shaped and prepared for the dream. So why then are we so conditioned to think “if it’s God’s will for my life, it will happen easily, without opposition or struggle”?
What do your dreams say about who you are? What would it look like to start right where you are? I think the hardest part sometimes is simply in the getting started. In just doing the next right thing.
I am blessed to dwell in this community of dreamers. And I hope we’re not only dreamers but also doers. Dreamers & doers who incite others to listen to their hidden God-dreams and respond by doing the next right thing. Someone said, “A thousand people wait on the other side of your obedience.”
What if it’s true?