Dreaming every day is not as great as it sounds. And I’m not talking about dreaming while I asleep. For this next year-ish, I dream wide awake

It’s an odd thing because the novelty of a dream a day keeps the thing going for a while. There is the starting of an idea, which feels like a lovely floating. 

Ah yes, like this. [Photo credit: http://www.drperrone.com]

After the floating, the novelty plugs a steam shot of adrenaline through me, kind of like a swimmer shoving off from the wall. But eventually, we all have to swim. Now I have to swim.

So here I am, Day 43 and I am swimming. Paddling along with the flabby, atrophied arms and legs, wondering when I will get the rhythm to make this work. Wondering when my imagination and altruism will kick in so I can dream away all the worlds problems. But to do this, I first have to face all the world’s problems. So like going into labor and many other creative projects I start and commit to, I’ve pondered if 365 days of dreaming was really the thing to tackle. 

She looks a little angry. I can relate. [Photo cred: http://www.burnmybellyfat.com]

One must look far outside of one’s own life to even get an idea of what is available for dreaming. Granted, I could simply dream up things for my own life. I could dream for getting all the way out of debt, which is a great idea – I will do that tonight. I could dream of better jobs, bigger houses, wider cars that take up more space, children who are geniuses and pay for my retirement, and neighbors who don’t mind that our guests park in front of their houses. 

But why be so myopic? I can’t handle that. I’m a social worker, pastor’s wife and mom, for crying out loud. We bleed mercy and compassion and other gushy things like that. So I’ve taken to the news and the blogs and the .org sites to find out what is happening in the world. Exodus Cry, Live ActionAmnesty International or Heidi Baker’s Iris Ministries are great places to see who needs the dream and the prayer.  

I read and lean into the problem or pain of the situation, pull on my own heart to do it justice by telling the stories. Then I add a picture and up goes the dream, in its own cyberspace balloon.

Some nights I am plain exhausted and don’t feel much like dreaming. Even the drama or agony of unraveled relationships or a story I need resolved can not push me to dream.  Some days I feel confused about what to aim for in dreamland this week, what problems need dreamed away. And many days I feel like I just don’t know if I can come up with 300 and some odd more of these crazy dream things. What was I thinking?

The (self-imposed) requirement to dream daily, to do anything daily, poses a unique challenge. A commitment that exposes my character in true and painful ways. I am learning much about God, life and self. Here’s a few things:

1. God is always dreaming. I only need to ask him for ideas. He has plenty.

2. Dreams come first, then hope and faith. The dream actually grows the hope, which births the faith. Faith is the tangible certainty of the thing that I hope for. But it takes the dreaming before the faith and hope can come. The dream is always first. In this kingdom reality, dreaming inevitably gets work done. 

3. I am already starting to see the dreams take shape. Multiple dreams I’ve dreamed have led to responses from people – or myself – in unexpected ways where the idea, the Google-searched picture, becomes a real part of my imagination, then it becomes a conversation and a meeting on the calendar. Then it becomes a group of people who take a day or a week to talk and work and hang art or play with children. And then all of a sudden, the dream isn’t a dream. It’s real.

4. Dreaming is essential for life. Dreaming keeps us alive. Without dreams, we lose motivation. We have no passion. We lose the will to do, well, everything. No dreams, nothing to look forward to. Nothing to cultivate relationships for. Nothing to grow your bank account for. Nothing to write or talk about. Dreaming is where life starts. 
      –An important side note here: we stop dreaming when we move into anxiety/survival/panic mode. In that place of fear and orphan-heartedness, our worlds shrink and we can only think about what we will eat, wear, buy that day. We become obsessed with ourselves; hostile, bitter, angry alley cats, snapping at anyone who thinks about taking away our precious life preserver, whatever that might be. Instead of dreaming and optimism, we move to pessimism and addiction. We do what we have to do to stay afloat. It’s a bad place. If you’re there, get out quick. (Read #5 if you want to get out.)

5. Related to my side note, I always know I’m in a bad place when I can’t write. When I can’t dream. Writing is my passion. It lets me dream. If I have nothing to write about, then I’m not functioning. I’m stressed. I care about the wrong things. The only way to get out is to start it back up. Start writing. Start dreaming. If you don’t feel like it, do it anyway. 

So this is my snapshot of the story, the journey and the inevitable struggle of the dream-a-day trip I’ve been on. Here’s to the next 300ish days and the dreams and realities that may come.