When I grow up I want to be an astronaut. I want to be a ballerina. I want to be a firefighter. You would hear many of these aspirations from a classroom of second graders in response to, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
It’s the cliche question to ask innocent little children before reality crashes down on them. Maybe it’s the question we still ask ourselves once we have grown up. Then reality gives us a cold reminder. We aren’t really where we imagined we would be or doing what we always wanted to do. Our dreams are fading or have already died.
How Dreams Work
I don’t think many women grew up having dreams of doing 3 loads of laundry every day, scrubbing toilets every week, doing dishes 5 times a day, planning and cooking 3 meals a day, all while little ones cling to their legs whining. If you did have dreams of being a homemaker and mom I’m sure they were more of the fluffy variety. The perfect scenario every time with never a moment of impatience, loneliness, discontentment or frustration. As little girls playing house we never understood the realistic side of those pretend moments.
But don’t most dreams work like that? Aren’t they usually fantasies? Maybe occasionally they find themselves making an appearance in the world of reality, but most times they are unrealistic expectations. We don’t know that though until we try to execute the fantasy, and realize it’s not measuring up to what was in our minds. When dreams are in the form of unrealistic expectations then they breed discontentment with the realistic outcome.
This is when dreams die. Not only are we in an occupation that society turns up its nose at, but we don’t get a bonus or trophy for what we do. We are only recognized by society one day a year in May, and the rest of the year we aren’t as important or liberated as career women.
Dreams Before Motherhood
Maybe before you became a wife and mom you had dreams of traveling the world, starting your own business, being an artist, or being that driven career woman in the workforce. It’s possible to eventually fulfill your dreams while being a wife and mother (and it’s definitely acceptable.) The issue is when reality and dreams collide. Can you realistically do it all now? Can it wait? Can it be expressed in a different way you hadn’t thought about? But the most important thing to realize is dreams can easily become idols; they can rob us of what is most valuable.
You see as wives and mothers we have the unique privilege to pick up our cross and follow Jesus. Sometimes we can fulfill our dreams and sometimes we have to lay them down (maybe just for a season or maybe permanently.) We know it was hard for Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane to choose the Father’s will and sacrifice himself on the cross. He made the right choice because he was perfect, but his humanity was clearly displayed as he wrestled with what was before him. He ends with, “Not my will, but yours be done.”
He calls us to do the same. Sacrifice is a glorious and beautiful thing to Jesus, but not to our society. Sacrifice is tough, because it is death to ourselves and to our desires and personal fulfillment, but it always results in life and joy.
Joy and Life in Shattered Dreams
There was joy and life at the end of the road for Jesus. Joy found in fulfillment in others (us sinners he died for), life after being raised on the third day, and he was even exalted to the Father’s right hand.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2.
We should look to Jesus as the perfect example and enabler of laying down our lives for our families. This is the greatest and most fulfilling dream that Christ calls us to. He also calls us to dream about the place he is preparing for us in heaven. Perhaps the Bible doesn’t tell us everything about heaven, because we are supposed to dream about it here on Earth.
So many of our dreams are restricted when bound to this world and don’t compare to the glory of heaven; beholding the face of God, and being in His presence forever. Our dreams for ourselves on Earth are so finite, they are like stepping in a puddle when the whole rain cloud is waiting to burst open. We can’t dream any bigger than what awaits us in heaven. This is what Christ laid down his life for; he sacrificed himself for this. This is the ultimate joy before us. This is where our dreams go to live.