When God calls us to surrender our lives to following Him, God is not calling us to small, insignificant, boring dreams in life. Dreams are aspirations traveling beyond this world. As one of John Steinback’s characters says it succinctly, “Well, a man’s mind can’t stay in time the way his body does” (Samuel Hamilton). Our minds can dream and aspire, going back and forth, from here and beyond. It’s a preoccupied mind that travels unhinged, cutting the layers of bounded time, wishing for more, dreaming of better, and waiting for perfection.
God placed Adam and Eve in the garden and commanded them to fill the earth and subdue it. The whole earth! God didn’t then proceed to give them layouts and architectural prints of how to exactly work it out in detail. Instead, God invited them both to use their aspirations and dreams to live out the commands. They both proceeded in exercising their giftings in imagining how to best work, fill the earth, and subdue it. The image bearers, tethered to the Heaven’s Mind, then went on dreaming big for God’s glory.
I’m convinced that God created us each with the ability to dream and aspire big, as well. Take, for instance, Ecclesiastes 3:11, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end” (italics mine, NLT). Cupped in our earthly bodies is a heart that is created for heavenly beauty. When God planted eternity in the man’s heart, He also gave us the ability to experience Him in Jesus. While he laid down the way to Him clearly through the Bible, God also blessed us with abilities to experience his eternal beauty through aspirations, dreams, and preoccupations that honor Him. Just as the Lord instructed Adam and Eve to go ahead and dream big at working the soil and subduing the earth, God is inviting us, also, to dream big for Him on earth through our lives.
These big dreams were never meant to drain our lives from living for our Savior. Nor were they gifted us to only serve our own self. Sometimes, we live as if our dreams are our god. We exchange the pursuit of God through our aspirations for the god of the pursuit. We know our dreams and aspirations turn into big idols when our such preoccupations of the future drain us of our present living. Or when we aspire to them so much that we can only find happiness in their fulfillment.
Don’t minimize the power to dream big for God. Dreams and aspirations are gifts that are only good if they serve as doorposts of the gospel to a world in need of more eternal beauty. Our dreams and aspirations are gifts from God to help us live richer, fuller, better lives for God’s glory and the good of others in the light of the cross.