I couldn’t believe what my husband was suggesting. Home school our three sons? That one was not on my radar. It conflicted with what I thought I wanted my life to look like.
In my ideal life—my fantasy—I would send my darlings off to school and then settle in for a productive, creative, wonderful day of writing.
When the boys returned in the afternoon, I would serve milk and cookies and ask how their day had gone.
(Mine, of course, would have gone splendidly, with me well on my way to publishing a best seller.)
So much for fantasies.
In real life, after a couple of years of fighting the idea, I began the great adventure of educating my sons. It was challenging. It was frustrating. It was hard.
And it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Home schooling enabled Scott and I to know what was going on with each of our kids on a day-to-day basis.
We didn’t have to guess what they were learning. We didn’t have to battle ungodly worldviews shaping their thought life. We didn’t have to worry about negative peer pressure.
At the same time, when there was tension and conflict between me and the boys, we had to deal with it. As a result, we have remained close-knit as a family to this day.
Had I chased my dream of writing at the expense of my children’s home education, things would be different. No amount of milk and cookies could have replaced my presence as a teacher in my children’s lives.
Here’s the thing: The “follow your dreams” mantra fails to take our human limitations into account. It fails to acknowledge our need for the wisdom only God possesses.
Truth is, we don’t know what’s best for us. Our goals are selfish. Our imaginations are limited. Our dreams are too often narcissistic. But there is One who offers us something far beyond our wildest (yet too-small) dreams.
The best dreams come true not by means of human ambition, but by faith in God.
Following my fourteen years of home schooling, I looked for a justice/mercy ministry to get involved in.
My new dream was to find a glamorous, cutting-edge ministry, like fighting the global slave trade, or providing wells in Africa.
You know, something everyone applauds you for doing.
Instead, I was invited to volunteer at our local pregnancy resource center. This prompted a short argument with God.
Me: “But pro-life ministry has been around for a long time, and it’s … well, controversial.”
Jesus: “Do you want a cool ministry, or do you want to obey me?”
I spent ten amazing years at the center. Again, one of the best decisions of my life—despite the fact that working at a pregnancy center was not my dream ministry.
I could never have imagined how all-encompassing and deeply significant pro-life ministry is. Nor did I have any idea how well-suited I was for it.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” –Ephesians 3:20-21
These days, I’m teaching English to international students at our local state college. Once again, not my dream. But you know what?
God’s dreams are bigger and better than mine.
He prepares me in advance for the good works he calls me to do (Ephesians 2:10). He equips me to accomplish them. I look back with astonishment at his goodness and grace in my life.
So, whose dreams should I pursue—mine, or God’s?