A few days ago Doug tagged me with the Impossible Dream meme. Since then we have had our disagreements about the Dudley outpouring. But there are no hard feelings, so now I have more or less recovered and caught up from my tiring weekend I have some time for the meme.
The meme is a simple one: name your impossible dream. But this gives me a problem, because I don’t actually accept that any of my dreams are impossible. Unlike Eddie, I don’t have any sporting dreams, so it doesn’t matter to me that I am too old to fulfil them. I am probably also too old to serve in the police or the armed forces, or to train as an astronaut, but these have not really been my dreams. Well, doing a space walk would be cool, but maybe not impossible: in a few years time I probably could be a space tourist, at least inside the spaceship, if I chose to blow most of the capital value of my house on three minutes of weightlessness.
But most of the things I might even consider dreaming of are ones which would in principle be achievable for me, if I chose to put my efforts into fulfilling them – although I accept that for some of them I had better get on with it if I am not to be considered too old, or likely to die of old age first. For I have confidence, perhaps too much confidence, in my ability to do well in any area of non-physical activity which I choose to turn my hand to. What I don’t have confidence in is my continuing desire to persevere with any activity that I am not really committed to.
So, like Doug, I could dream of writing a definitive work of theology. And I would not accept that such a dream would be impossible. It’s just that I don’t have the commitment to such a dream to put myself through the years of advanced study which would be necessary first. Mind you, I am learning a lot from reading blogs etc, which, if focused more carefully, could well form the core of a useful book, perhaps more likely to be a cult classic than a definitive work.
So what do I dream of? I think I can honestly say that the dreams I have left these days are all for the extension of God’s kingdom – with just one exception, the dream of being happily married, which I believe is something God has given me to hold on to even through years of singleness and disappointment.
To say that all my dreams are for God’s kingdom may sound impossibly holy to some, but I mean it. The background for this is that I went through a period of depression during which basically I had no dreams at all, everything was shattered. I have come through this depression largely as a result of what God has been doing in my life. He did this in part by giving me new hope and new aims which are entirely for him. I was reminded today, by TC’s strange post with a reinterpretation which I don’t accept, of this verse which expresses where I am:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 (TNIV)
While I don’t claim to be as advanced in this matter as the apostle Paul, there is a real sense in which I can say this with him. My old selfish life with its dreams has been “crucified”, put to death through years of depression, and the life that I now live is the life of Christ in me. Not perfectly so, of course, but to the extent that I can honestly say that, apart from marriage, the only dreams I have left are of playing a significant part in the work of God’s kingdom.
Now I don’t want to be another Billy Graham or Todd Bentley. I don’t really want to be an up front person, even though I sometimes dream of it. There is something of the frustrated leader in me, but that frustration would be satisfied by playing a significant part in the behind the scenes activities of a real revival or renewal of the church – as indeed seems to be beginning to happen. So I see in Lakeland and Dudley what may be the start of the fulfilment of my dream. Now this dream would be impossible to achieve by my own strength, by confidence in my own mental abilities, but with God nothing is impossible.
Well, what started as a not too serious answer to a meme has turned into a devotional self-examination. Not quite what Eddie and Doug had in mind. But I make no apologies for writing what I believe I need to write. However, I don’t want to pressurise anyone else into doing the same, so I won’t tag anyone else this time.