letting go of dreams...

>> June 21, 2010

Tears squished their way out of my eyes as I tried to hang out the clothes on the portable drying rack. I stifled my sobs with the damp clothing. The cold felt good on my hot face. My heart ached.

“What am I doing here in Africa?” I asked myself.
My husband and I had just finished watching Man from Snowy River. Now I know this is an old movie, I first saw it probably 18 years ago or more. But as I watched it, memories came flooding back. Memories of days spent grooming my horse, riding, shoveling poop, or just hugging my horse and taking in his smell.

My brother first introduced me to the love of horses. He taught me to ride, and he first recommended the movie. There had been a whole section of my life when I lived and breathed horses. It can't be put into words what happens to the soul when you mount your horse and take off wherever the road leads.
I'd been wanting a horse of my own ever since my brother got one. The day my dad finally brought home my horse is forever burned into my memory. It was a foggy day in Arizona. I was on the phone when I heard him drive up with the trailer. We lived on a section of property that was full of citrus trees. With the trees, the green grass, and the fog -- the setting was perfect. I watched through our large living room windows as my dad led a prancing silver Arabian through the yard. 

My heart was gone.

He was the perfect combination of wild and submissive. A horse who might rear with you on him because he didn’t want to obey, and yet when given the final word would follow commands precisely. Day in and day out brought us to a place where I could ride him bareback without a bridle, and he would obey my body language. 


His speed surpassed any of my friends’ horses or our later ones. When I let him out to almost full gait it was a speed that brought tears to my squinted eyes and amazed fear to my heart. I can’t say I ever let him go as fast as he could when I was on him.

My dream was to be a veterinarian and have a horse ranch that doubled as a refuge for troubled boys. Later when one of my good friends convinced me to aim for medicine, I planned to do rural medicine, own a ranch and continue with those early plans.

Yet here I am, neither a veterinarian nor a doctor, living in Africa married to a man who knows little about horses. What happened to those dreams? 

I think of my closest equine-loving cohorts, my two cousins and one of my best friends. They all are still involved with horses to some degree, much more than I. While my parents still keep my horse and my dad faithfully cares for him every day, I have no more connection with horses except my annual visit home when I take over the care of this old friend of mine, who can’t even hear my whistle anymore.

What happened to me?

Done with hanging the wet clothes, I prepared for my shower and the tears kept flowing.

I don’t feel bitter, just lost. The hot water flowed over me as I thought of my crazy struggles over the last 15 years. What would life have been like if I had stuck to my passions of horses and piano? Maybe it would have been easier? Maybe I wouldn’t feel so worn out, with nothing to offer this suffering world of need around me?

“Why God?” I ask.

Then I start thinking of Bible heroes. Was Moses passionate about leading his people out of Egypt and to the promised land? Joseph probably was not passionate about being a slave and in prison for almost 13 years before called to fulfill his own advice to the Pharaoh! Was Abraham passionate about being a nomad? Was peaceful, sheep-watching David passionate about being a military man? Was Daniel passionate about being a prisoner of war and studying pagan wisdom?

I kept thinking. I highly doubt any of these people dreamed up this kind of life for themselves. Yet they were passionate about obeying God and humbly trusting Him to the fullest. In fact, it isn’t until the New Testament that I find the Bible heroes choosing their lot in life due to a passion, which was born of an encounter with Jesus.

“Okay, I’m starting to get it!” I think. “When we ask God to lead us, and we have an encounter with Him, there has to be a death of our dreams when they are not born out of a passion for obedience and surrender.”

For some, this happens easily, early on and almost instinctively. Others plow through life trying to make it go our way, a way that can be perfectly justified for good or God’s glory. Yet, that is the problem. We try to steer the plow instead of just being the plow, guided by God.

By now I finished my shower and realized that I have to write this down. As I wait for the computer (we have one that we share), I pick up the Bible and read Isaiah 55.

“‘Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat...Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live...Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near… For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways., and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth and make it bring forth and bud...so shall My word be that goes froth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please. And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it…’” (emphasis mine)

So, my prayer and heart song continues to be:
Give me ears to hear Your Spirit
Give me feet to follow through
Give me hands to touch the hurting
And the faith to follow You

Give me grace to be a servant
Give me mercy for the lost
Give me passion for Your glory
Give me passion for the cross

And I will go where there are no easy roads
Leave the comforts that I know
I will go and let this journey be my home
I will go
I will go

I'll let go of my ambition
Cut the roots that run too deep
I will learn to give away
What I cannot really keep
What I cannot really keep

Help me see with eyes of faith
Give me strength to run this race

I will go Lord where Your glory is unknown
I will live for You alone
I will go because my life is not my own
I will go
I will go
I will go

Words and music by Steve Green and Douglas McKelvey © 2002.
© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
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Anonymous,  June 21, 2010 at 5:53 PM  

Wow - I don't know what else to say except that this post is spot on. I have been troubled lately with the all consuming selfishness that is permiated throughout our society all in the name of being deserving or being happy when in reality we are neither. We will only find true worth, value & happiness in being and doing what God has planned for us. It is so simple, yet so difficult. Thank you for the confirmation of what my heart has been feeling.

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